Journalist Veremiy killing: Kyiv court releases key suspect
One of the titushki, or hired government thugs, who has admitted beating Viacheslav Veremiy during the attack in which the journalist died of a gunshot wound is accused only of group hooliganism, despite the level of the violence and fact that the attacks, abduction, etc. were for money
Journalist Viacheslav Veremiy died during the bloody days at the end of EuroMaidan. He was pulled from a taxi late at night and beaten by ‘titushki’ or government-paid thugs, however died from a single bullet shot to the heart. On Oct 15 the Shevchenkivsky Court in Kyiv released on a personal undertaking Yury Krysyn who is accused of beating Veremiy, but not of killing him. The man suspected of shooting and killing him - Dzalal Aliev, nicknamed Dima Dagestanets - is still in hiding. The court’s decision, as well as its agreement to hold the session behind closed doors is reported by Veremiy’s newspaper Vesti to have aroused anger among those present in court on Wednesday, including Veremiy’s mother Yekaterina Arkadyevna.
Krysin, 41-year-old head of a security firm, admits guilt. According to Veremiy’s mother, Krysin was initially held in SIZO [pre-trial detention unit] but this was changed to house arrest after he received threats in SIZO. He is now a free man pending trial. The judge clearly did not feel that a person who has admitted beating somebody with a bat presents a danger to society. A number of EuroMaidan supporters also came to the court and were outraged that the court allowed the application from the prosecutor’s office to hold the hearing behind closed doors. Vitaly Titych, the lawyer representing Veremiy’s mother, says that they don’t know what information is not supposed to become available to the public. They believe it possible that the information could link Krysyn with other EuroMaidan crimes. There is currently discussion about making the hearings open, but only after this ‘secret’ information is divulged.
It is, in theory, possible that the information deemed too sensitive for public hearings is that which could track down the main suspect in this case. Optimism on this score is difficult however.
At present Krysyn is charged with “hooliganism by a group involving the inflicting of bodily injuries”. Under this he faces up to 5 years imprisonment. The trial is the first over crimes committed during EuroMaidan and Titych believes the charges should be changed. He explains that ‘hooliganism’ does not encompass all the circumstances of this crime, in particular the fact that the beating was for money.
The term ‘titushki’ for paid government thugs originated back in May 2013 after the name of one of the body-building thugs who beat Channel 5 journalist Olha Snytsarchuk and her husband Vlad Sodel.
Their deployment during EuroMaidan was on a much wider scale and more sinister, with titushki used to abduct people, beat them up and in a few cases kill them. There is strong evidence of their close cooperation with Berkut riot police and it is also believed that titushki sometimes pretended to be EuroMaidan protesters and then attacking or causing trouble. In the video here, for example, a Maidan defender appears to have been shot by one of the titushki https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10203429093993614
Titushki worked closely with Berkut officers and the authorities in Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhya, Cherkasy and other cities. The video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRtBJNYwUIw#t=21 shows titushki collecting shields and weapons from inside the Dnipropetrovsk administration.
Titushki were responsible for beating up journalists and civic activists on a number of occasions.
Viacheslav Veremiy was returning by taxi together with Alexei Lymarenko, an IT specialist from his newspaper, Vesti.ua, at around 1 a.m. on Wednesday Feb 19. When the car stopped at traffic lights in the centre, some masked titushki with batons and weapons began shaking the car and hurling Molotov cocktails into it. The men were dragged out, beaten and Veremiy shot in the chest.
Veremiy had only just returned to work after prolonged sick leave. He had been injured on Hrushevsky St on Jan 20 and partially lost sight in one eye.
He was married with a four-year-old son.