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In Mykolaiv, prosecutor threatened media outlet with criminal responsibility for dissemination of case details

14.08.2017, 12:32
In Mykolaiv, on August 11, in the Tsentralnyi district court, the prosecutor of local Mykolaiv prosecutor's office No.1 Volodymyr Konovalov during court session threatened the journalists of three online media outlets with criminal responsibility for dissemination of data related to the case. This was reported to IMI representative in Mykolaivska oblast. The session was on selecting the restrictive measure for entrepreneur of mykolaiv who is suspected of receiving from local woman 10 thousand hryvnias for bribing officials of the Administration of State Architectureal and Conctruction inspection in Mykolaivska oblast. Volodymyr Konovalov, the prosecutor, at first addressed the judge with a request to close the session for journalists. According to him, the representatives of press, making their photos and video records during the session, can compromise the secrecy of investigation. Yet judge Svitlana Skrypnychenko denied this request, stating that according to the Criminal Procedural Law of Ukraine, European Convention and Law on court of justice, press has a right to access court sessions. Yet the prosecutor continued to argue that if journalists write anything about the case, they will be brought to criminal responsibility based on Article 387 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The judge, however, denied the prosecutor's demands - as the session has an open status, anyone can be present at the session, so the question of secrecy of investigation is not something to be considered. Media lawyer of IMI Maksym Ratushnyi, commenting on this case, mentioned that the prosecutor might abuse his official powers, or might simply not be aware of both material and procedural law. In case where the secrecy of investigation is the issue, the court session can be closed for the public by the judge. As the judge decided otherwise, the prosecutor had no right to threaten journalists, in fact, overruling the judge's decision.
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