Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
Freedom of expression

Threats against a Deputy or against Ukrainska Pravda?


One of the main journalists of the Internet publication Ukrainska Pravda, Serhiy Leshchenko says that the Prosecutor could try to remove Ukrainska Pravda’s servers. He says he is ashamed of law enforcement bodies which instead of trying to deal with real crimes help politicians to win points.

Serhiy Leshchenko cannot exclude the possibility that in the process of investigating the case involving murder threats against National Deputy Inna Bohoslovska, there will be attempts to obstruct Ukrainska Pravda.  He said he gained this impression during questioning at the investigator’s office on 30 June.

On Tuesday it was reported that the Chief Editor of Ukrainska Pravda, Olena Prytula and Serhiy Leshchenko had been summoned to the investigator as witnesses in a case initiated over comments under Ukrainska Pravda material. The comments were anonymous but clearly contained threats against Bohoslovska. How these were worded, what material they were under and how many there were the parties do not specify.

Leshchenko finds it pretty strange to initiate a criminal investigation purely on the basis of comments on the Internet. “It seems to me that the law enforcement bodies, instead of catching real criminals who steal wallets in the metro and billions from the State Budget, are looking for mythical terrorists of Inna Bohoslovska. I have on many occasions read such comments aimed at me. But I don’t go to the Prosecutor or report a murder threat to the police. Can you consider a comment on the Internet writing by an anonymous user to be a real threat? …”

Serhiy Leshchenko also has the impression that there is no other evidence except the comments on the Internet, and the law enforcement officers don’t know themselves how to investigation this case since it’s virtually impossible to track down those who write comments. He therefore sees the case as a PR campaign.  Bohoslovska, he believes, is trying to draw attention to herself and to heighten the effect of her statements about Yulia Tymoshenko.  “It’s one thing when Inna Bohoslovska stated that Tymoshenko did this or that, but quite another when Inna Bohoslovska who has received threats against her life, in the Tymoshenko case said this or that”.

Serhiy Leshchenko does not think it inconceivable that members of the Party of the Regions could have posted the comments both in order to raise Bohoslovska’s profile and strengthen her position in the case against Tymoshenko, and also to obstruct the work of Ukrainska Pravda.

I can predict that they will demand access to the servers, the removal of the servers. If there are attempts to take away our technology and in that way obstruct Ukrainska Pravda, it will become clear that that is censorship concealed within an investigation into a criminal case over murder threats against Inna Bohoslovska. I’m presently analyzing the conversation and can’t understand the final goal. Either this case is aimed at harming Ukrainska Pravda and one other publication, the most popular and independent. Or it’s simply PR noise around Bohoslovska to strengthen her position in the Tymoshenko case.”

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