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In Simferopol, "Community Defense Squad" abducted and beat journalists of "Center of Journalist Investigations"

03.06.2014, 19:52

On June 2, at 8 p.m. in Simferopol gunmen of the so-called Community Defense Squad abducted two employees of the online media outlet “Center of Journalist Investigations” – Serhiy Mokrushyn, editor and journalist, and Vladlen Melnykov, producer. According to the outlet’s editor-in-chief, Valentyna Samar, they got abducted on Sevastopolska Street near the Building of Trade Unions, in which the outlet’s editorial office is located. Mokrushyn and Melnykov were held in the so-called HQ of the Community Defense Squad in the office on Kirov Street, which was earlier owned by the Communist Party. As soon as Samar learned about their abduction she called the head of the so-called “Community Defense Squad” Dmytro Prostakov and asked on what grounds the journalists were detained. As he explained, they allegedly harmed the reputation of highest officials of the Russian Federation but gave no examples and promised to handle the situation. Together with the laywer, Samar tried to reach them, but the Community Defense Squad gunmen would not let them in. 

Both journalists were beaten, their phones were searched. Later, when the police came, the beatings stopped; for two hours, Mokrushyn pleaded to let him go to hospital to treat what he suspected was a broken rib, and when he was allowed to go there by ambulance he was escorted by a police officer. Melnykov was taken to Simferopol Department of Internal Affairs.

The police officers took Melnykov’s statement but did not draw up a protocol, and released him. No charges were presented. Mokrushyn filed complaints about bodily injury he sustained from the “Community Defense Squad” and illegal limitation of freedom. 

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