Police beat up journalist and civic activist


In Kamyana-Buzka (Lviv oblast) traffic police officers unlawfully detained and beat Nazar Oleksevych, journalist from the newspaper Krai and  member of the NGO Democratic Alliance and his father, Roman. The information was confirmed to Telekritika by the Head of the Lviv regional branch of Democratic Alliance, Ihor Hurnyak.

Nazar and his father had gone, at the request of drivers concerned by the behaviour of traffic police officers and traffic inspectorate  to where a crowd of indignant people had gathered.  They in fact called on Nazar as a journalist and civic activist to intervene in the situation and to video what was going on. They asserted that the traffic inspectorate people were demanding payment from people transporting beet.

Nazar Oleksevych says that he asked the officers to show their documents and was told “roughly” to get out. After that activists called the police, dialling 102.

«Together with those police officers who simply stood back and watched the events, members of other services arrived who began wrenching the video recorder away, while virtually suffocating the journalist with the strap. Roman Oleksevych wanted to run to the petrol station where there’s CCTV, but the police grabbed him by the legs and pulled him along the asphalt. And then they pushed him, half undressed, into the passenger seat and took him away together with his son Nazar”, Ihor Hurnyak says.

It then seems that the police took Nazar (with his father) to the hospital, however it remains unclear why or what happened then.  Ihor Hurnyak asserts that they took him to the hospital because of the outcry from the public but then says that they wanted to try to prove that he was drunk, and that he simply disappeared. “The police and the hospital denied that he was there. “Then it turned out that he was lying held by police officers in the private car of one of the traffic police officers near the hospital. The police didn’t report this and if he hadn’t begun shouting, we would still be looking for him”, Ihor Hurnyak explains.

By that time the entrance to the hospital was blocked by around 15 officers from various enforcement bodies (Hurnyak mentions the police, traffic police and Prosecutor’s Office}. According to Hurnyak, they were only away to get Nazar and his father out under the pressure from the public who began gathering around the hospital.

Hurnyak says that both father and son have written complaints about being beaten, over illegal extraction of money from drivers on the road and over the disappearance of their video recorder. They have also recorded the beatings. 

Telekritika asked a spokesperson from the police to comment.  The woman claimed that Nazar had not shown journalist ID and that one of the men had shown ID of the head of a union which she informs has never been registered.

The woman does not address the substance of the accusations, though apparently the police are checking and will give an official comment shortly. 

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