Chernivtsi court issues suspended sentence to men who assaulted activist and journalist
The Vyzhnytsia District Court of the Chernivtsi Oblast convicted two men of assaulting a journalist from Bukovyna and sentenced them to two years in prison, releasing them from serving the term with a two-year probationary period.
The IMI representative learned that the journalist in question is Dmytro Kalancha, an activist of the public organization "Constitutional and Legal Congress", a journalist for the "KPK Info" LLC.
The court ruling states that on November 12, 2021, the victim was near the Cheremosh River in Ispas village, Vyzhnytsia District, recording tree stumps being uprooted and timber being loaded on trucks on his camera. At that time, he had been tasked by the editors with reporting on corruption related to illegal forest logging and land seizure.
According to the victim, there were two police officers on site. At that moment, two local men arrived, threatened the journalist, pulled him out of the car and beat him on various parts of his body. One of the attackers had a gun.
The policemen were allegedly standing one and a half meters away and approached when the man was attacked. An investigation team and an ambulance arrived at the scene later. The journalist was diagnosed with bruises and sores," the ruling reads.
Dmytro Kalancha said in a comment to the IMI representative that he was dissatisfied with the judgement and would file an appeal.
He noted that the litigation lasted more than two years and was almost closed due to the statute of limitations expiring.
According to the victim, the police did not interfere with the conflict and only approached them after the journalist was attacked.
"The police said: 'Don't fight.' That's it. The perpetrators beat me badly, damaged my property, including phones, tablets, and took my notebook with money in it. I have an eye contusion, my teeth are crushed. This is all listed in the examination report. I will be filing an appeal. This is a ridiculous ruling! I was assaulted by armed men in the presence of the police. The examination report also clearly states that the head injuries were inflicted with the gun handle. That is, there's proof. But, as always in the Vyzhnytsia District, everything is covered up," said Dmytro Kalancha.
In addition, the victim notes that he has repeatedly appealed to law enforcers regarding numerous violations related to illegal forest logging and removal of the gravel-sand mixture from the river in the Vyzhnytsia district. "80 cases were opened following my statements alone, but none of the culprits were ever punished, because everything is covered up around here. These cases are also known in Kyiv, but it does not help. Gravel is being transported away unabashedly, and this is leading to an environmental disaster, including the threat of flooding," the activist notes.
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