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At road police checkpoint in Kharkivska oblast, police officers beat journalist of Hromadske TV

30.01.2015, 14:23

On January 29, late in the evening, in the town of Pisochyn, Kharkivska oblast, at a road police checkpoint, police officers beat the journalist of Hromadske TV, Kostiantyn Reutskyi, and took his camera.

 

The incident took place when Hromadske journalists, Anastasia Stanko and Kostiantyn Reutskyi, were returning home from an editorial assignment. According to the journalists, police officers refused to introduce themselves. They returned the camera later, but without a memory card.

 “Here they are, our heroes. They beat journalists on the eyes of witnesses, take their equipment. They feel no one will punish them: they say, for the actions in Kyiv last year no one punished them, so small things like this of course will not be punished, too”, Reutskyi said.

As Reutsky described it, the car was stopped when they were exiting Kharkiv in direction of Poltava. Police stopped them, probably because the car had Luhansk number plates. The journalists showed their documents. The policemen knew they were journalists, and three "Berkut" officers decided to refresh their memories of the last year. They said they would search the car, journalists did not resist. Kostiantyn took his camera and started recording the process of search. Then they attacked. They pushed him to the ground, with witnesses watching, and kicked and punched several times, snatched the camera away from the journalists.

Police claims that the journalist was trying "to make sudden movements" and alerted the officers, who had to "block his movements".

On January 30, at 14.00, human rights advocates plan to conduct protest action near the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with a demand to bring officers who attacked journalists to responsibility.

Kharkiv prosecutor’s office launched an investigation of the police officers’ actions as a case of ‘abuse of power’. 

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