Vasyl Klymentyev: One year - no trace, no answers
On 11 August 2010 the Chief Editor of the Kharkiv newspaper Novy Styl [New Style] Vasyl Klymentyev disappeared without trace. The case remains unsolved and colleagues of the journalist accuse the investigators of mistakes.
There were plenty of fine-sounding statements a year ago from the police promising to uncover what had happened to the journalist. The Central CID of the Ministry got involved and even NASA satellite pictures were used. The President decided to take personal control over the case yet a year on the investigation has not moved forward.
At the same time the Press Service of the Kharkiv Regional Porsecutor’s Office provide information which gives at least the impression of furious activity. 800 witnesses have been questioned; more than 130 expert analyses carried out; 60 inspections by investigators of the area of the reservoir where the journalist’s things were found; 34 searches; and two identification parades. According to the official information, out of 8 versions considered, only one has remained: that the disappearance is linked with Vasyl Klymentyev’s professional activities.
On 11 August the Chief Editor of a publication specializing in criminal subject matter, Vasyl Klymentyev set off on a work-related trip to one of the region’s districts. He was accompanied by former police officer, Andriy Kozyr. The journalist did not return. The former police officer also disappeared, though a bit later, after he had been questioned and released by the investigators.
The Deputy Editor of Novy Styl, Petro Matvienko believes it possible that the case could have been solved when the trail was still fresh, but they didn’t do so. He is convinced that “the criminals managed to set the investigators on the wrong track”/
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Anatoly Mohylyov recently reported to the President on the “effective course of the investigation”. Serhiy Yervakov from the publication “Ukraina Kriminalna” however considers that the case has long been relegated to the category of “unimportant”. At the time there were posters everywhere with Klymentyev’s photo – they took them off. Then there was talk about journalists’ rights etc, so up they went again. Now again there’ll be mention, he predicts, but where’s the result?
Petro Matvienko points out that of late the regional press scarcely mentions Vasyl Klymentyev, as if he never existed. He believes that that is linked with a worsening situation as far as freedom of speech is concerned, while Serhiy Yervakov points to the scant information from the police – journalists can’t also run the investigation.
Investigative journalism has become highly dangerous. The Head of the Kharkiv branch of the Ukrainian Journalists’ Union, Oleksandr Holub says that it’s time journalists learned skills from the security service on understanding, for example, when they’re being followed, whether somebody’s trying to get them.
The police report that the investigation is still continuing into Klymentyev’s disappearance and has not been stopped.
From a report on the Deutsche Welle Ukrainian Service