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03.06.2014

Journalist and producer detained and beaten in Simferopol

   

In Simferopol on Monday evening journalist Sergei Mokrushin and film director Vladlen Melnykov were seized by ‘self-defence’ paramilitary and beaten, before being taken to the central police station

In Simferopol on Monday evening journalist Sergei Mokrushin and film director Vladlen Melnykov were seized by ‘self-defence’ paramilitary and taken to the latter’s ‘headquarters’.   Valentina Samar, Chief Editor of the Investigative Journalism Centre went to the headquarters, only to be told that the two men had been taken to the central police station.  The paramilitary vigilantes claimed that the two men, who both work for the Investigative Journalism Centre, had been detained for ‘hooliganism’, this supposedly being linked with having ‘defamed’ high public officials of the Russian Federation. The vigilantes refused to give their names oor the articles of the Criminal Code on the basis of which the journalists were detained.  They also failed to present any protocol of detention.

Samar says that Mokrushin had time to tell her that he’d been beaten around the liver.  He spoke with difficulty and had trouble breathing. She adds that both men had bruises and handcuff marks on their arms.

Update:  Mokrushyn has been taken to hospital with suspected fractured ribs and damage to internal organs.

Mokrushyn told his colleagues from the Centre that former member of the Russian Human Rights Council under the Council of Ministers, Alexander Yuriev and a deputy of the Simferopol city council, Anatoly Petrov had been present while he was questioned and beaten.  Neither intervened.  Mokrushyn says that he was beaten in the area of the kidneys and liver, while they smashed Melnykov’s head against glass.

The vigilantes took the journalists’ phones away and studied them, and also went on to their social network pages. 

There are very real grounds for concern.  Four Ukrainians are currently facing highly dubious ‘terrorism’ charges in Russia after being arrested in the Crimea (see: Russia’s FSB launches first Crimean show trial) and three pro-Ukrainian activists have simply disappeared over the last 10 days (more details here

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