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Coalition to protect civil society urged to probe into attack against Ukrinform

09.08.2019, 15:55
Photo credit: screenshot from video of Ukrinform The Coalition to protect civil society called on the senior executives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Police to ensure quick and efficacious investigation into the attack against the Ukrinform news agency and to prosecute those responsible. This is stated in the statement of the coalition, as to Ukrinform. "We appeal to the senior executives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and the National Police of Ukraine to ensure a quick and efficacious investigation of this crime and to hold all those involved in the attack accountable, as well as to take all necessary measures to prevent similar incidents," the authors said. Members of the Coalition consider it a shameful fact that law enforcement agencies have failed to identify the attackers and to initiate an efficacious investigation. “Most of the assailants were able to freely leave the crime scene despite the presence of law enforcement officers. Only two representatives of the ”Tradition and Order” organization were detained, who were later released, ”the statement said. In particular, as reminded in the coalition, on July 30, a group of 10 people, dressed in T-shirts of the NGO "Tradition and Order", attacked Ukrinform, where a press conference was held at the time about alleged fraud in the constituency # 50. Three people were injured in the attack, including one journalist, as well as a technical officer, a member of the ATO who was injured. The property of the press center was damaged by several hundred thousand hryvnias. The crime is now classified as hooliganism, despite the fact that several journalists have been beaten, one of whom has suffered multiple injuries. "The police continue to abstain from undertaking the necessary measures to identify and detain the assailants, notwithstanding the fact that they identified themselves as persons belonging to the representatives of the aforementioned NGO," the statement underlines. Its authors also drew attention to the fact that members of the “Tradition and Order“ organization have repeatedly or violently disrupted or attempted to disrupt human rights actions. For example, on April 11, supporters of the group attacked the premises of the Tourist Hotel, which hosted the European Lesbian Conference, and beat a left activist near the building. On March 8, members of the “Tradition and Order” organization tried to attack members of the March for gender equality. In none of these cases the perpetrators of the assaults have been punished. Numerous attacks have been recorded earlier as well. It is clear that violent actions against human rights defenders and public activists in the organization's activities are systemic, the Coalition said. In this regard, they also require the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine to take the measures provided by law to check the conformity of the activities of the public organization “Tradition and Order” with the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine. "Attacks against journalists and civic activists are absolutely unacceptable to a democratic society and must be effectively investigated," the statement said. The Civil Society Coalition was formed in April 2018. Its participants are public organizations, human rights activists, journalists, lawyers. In particular, Center for Human Rights Information, Freedom House Representation in Ukraine, Center for Civil Liberties, Ukrainian Independent Center for Policy Studies, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors for Law Enforcement (UMDPL), Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights human rights, Crimean Tatar Resource Center, Oksana Romanyuk (Institute of Mass Media), Anastasia Stanko (Public Television) and others. IMI reported, on July 30 in Kyiv, young though guys in T-shirts of the public organization "Tradition and Order" disrupted a press conference in Ukrinform on the alleged fraud in the district # 50 in Pokrovsk in Donetsk region, and ransacked the press center. On this fact, the Investigation Department of the Shevchenkiv Police Directorate opened the criminal proceedings under Part 2 of Art. 296 (Hooliganism) of the Criminal Code. Also, the Kyiv police opened criminal proceedings due to bodily injury inflicted to some journalists, under Article 125 of the Criminal Code. Ukrinform news agency closed the press room after the attack to established damages. Doctors diagnosed one of Ukrinform's employees with injuries on July 30 as a result of an assault on an agency, an eye injury and multiple body injuries.
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