New details emerge over expulsion of Russian photographer


The investigators are claiming that Yury Barabash was involved in causing damage to a car during the events on 18 May, although photographic evidence shows him clearly only trying to record what was happening

As reported Yury Barabash, photographer and Russian national, working for a Ukrainian publishing company in Ukraine, was on 15 July removed from the train carrying him back to Ukraine from Russia.  A member of the VO Svoboda Party, Serhiy Bondar was on 22 July detained on charges over his participation in actions on 18 May (when the Party of the Regions organized “antifascist” actions as a counter to the opposition’s “Rise Ukraine” rally).  Bondar is accused of damaging a special purpose vehicle and “of inflicting bodily injuries” to a number of people (“passengers of the BRDM car”).  One of the names mentioned in the protocol placed on the table in front of Bondar as being involved in unlawful activities is that of Yury Barabash. 

Another photographer, Oleh Shpak from the TV channel “New Odessa” has, however, provided video footage which shows clearly that Yury Barabash did not take part in any of the scuffles and was simply photographing the event.

A Channel 5 journalist Olha Snitsarchuj and her Komersant Ukraine photographer husband Vlad Sodel first began photographing the scuffle on 18 May.  Snitsarchuk was attacked with the police standing there and doing nothing.  Her assailants were not mentions of VO Svoboda, and appear to have been hired as “guards” for the “antifascist” events.

The Security Service [SBU] has not given much detail about why Yury Barabash has been prevented from re-entering Ukraine.  With photographic evidence that the accusations against him are unfounded, this is even more unclear.

During a protest by journalists and others last Tuesday outside the SBU, a spokesperson asserted that he had been refused entry “in the interests of the State”. 

Yury Barabash has been an active critic of the current regime. He has often photographed street protests and was among the people detained during a demonstration on Independence Square to mark the 8th anniversary of the Orange Revolution. 

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