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Mykolaiv journalists set upon by tax police

02.06.2011    source:

On 31 May three journalists from the website Novosti-N were attacked by officers of the tax police who tried to wrench their cameras from them by force. According to the Chief Editor, Anatoly Onufriychuk, two members of his editorial team, Oleksandr Vlashchenko and Natalia Barbarosh, arrived at the tax police office where they had been told some Mykolaiv small business owners had been taken for questioning.

The journalists had learned that the business owners had been held on the 7th floor of the building and that neither lawyers nor relatives were being admitted.  Even the ambulance staff who arrived because one of the people was taken ill was not admitted.

Anatoly Onufriychuk says that when the journalists began filming one of the lawyers of the people inside trying to break through the convoy to get to his client, one of the tax police officials grabbed O. Vlashchenko’s camera and took it into the closed part of the premises.

It was returned three hours later but with all photos wiped.

Following the report on the treatment of the Novosti-N journalists, Artem Diblenko correspondent from the Internet site PrestupnostiNET [No to Crime] arrived at the tax police and also began videoing what was happening.

Artem Diblenko told the UNIAN information agency that after he began filming a conversation taking place between a police officer who had arrived and the tax police guarding the premises, they began taking his camera away. When he showed resistance, he was set upon by four tax police officers, dragged into the closed part of the building, thrown on the floor. They began beating him, demanding that he hand over the equipment. In order to protect the camera, the journalist shielded it with his body, holding tightly to the strap.

After another tax police officer appeared, the journalist was released.

The Head of the Tax Police Department for the Mykolaiv Region, V. Lakhomov has told Dibenko that his subordinates were not involved in the incident. According to the website’s information, they were supposedly tax police who’d arrived from Kyiv.

Anatoly Onufriychuk says that O. Vlashchenko and N. Barbarosh have made a statement to the Mykolaiv Prosecutor’s Office regarding the obstruction of their journalist work (Article 171 of the Criminal Code).

A. Diblenko also informed that a member of the parliamentary Committee on Fighting Corruption and Organized Crime, V. Aryev, intends to send a deputy’s information request to the Prosecutor General over the incident.

From a report at UNIAN

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