Prosecution demanded for Special Force officers who used force against journalists
Journalists are demanding that the Prosecutor General, Viktor Pshonka and the Minister of Internal Affairs. Anatoly Mohylyov initiate a criminal investigation over obstruction of journalists in the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv on 6 and 7 July. Signatures endorsing the relevant appeal were collected on 11 July outside the Court.
The appeal states that on 6 July officers of an MIA Special Force Berkut unit burst into the courtroom where the trial is taking place of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and used physical force against journalists. Damage was caused to several video recorders.
The Berkut officers accompanied heir actions with strong language addressed at journalists.
On 7 July the court police “Gryfon” used force to push TV cameramen and journalists out of the Pechersky Court straight after a break was announced.
“We consider such actions to be a flagrant violation of Ukrainian legislation and deliberate obstruction of the legitimate professional activities of journalists. This is the first time that such large-scale use of violence against journalists has been seen in Ukraine”.
“In view of this we demand that a check be carried out without delay of the lawfulness of the actions of the Berkut and Gryfon officers in accordance with Article 171 of the Criminal Code, Articles 365 and 364 of the Criminal Code and the Law on Information. [We insist] that a criminal investigation be initiated over obstruction of journalists carrying out their professional activities, that observance of legislation be guaranteed and journalists inviolability in carrying out their work from the law enforcement bodies be ensured. [We demand] that you publicly state your position with regard to obstruction of journalists carrying out their work.”