Today it became known that the Prosecutor’s office changed the article of the Criminal Code of Ukraine according to which Vitaliy Shabunin was informed of suspicion.
Mr. Shabunin is the head of NGO “Anti-Corruption Action Center”. Instead of part 2 of article 122 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“Intentional moderate bodily injury”) he is now being charged with part 2 of article 345-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“Threat or violence against a journalist”) which foresees a more severe punishment – imprisonment for the term of up to 5 years.
However, on the video recording showing how Vitaliy Shabunin hit Vsevolod Filimonenko who introduced himself as a journalist one can clearly hear that the conflict arose because of personal reasons. Shabunin – yes, aggressively - protected honor and dignity of a woman, employee of the Anti-Corruption Action Center, who was before that abused by Mr. Filimonenko. This clearly indicates on a personal motive not related with a professional activity of Vsevolod Filimonenko.
Therefore, we believe that the decision of the Prosecutor’s office to change the article of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, according to which Vitaliy Shabunin was informed of suspicion, is groundless.
At the same time, we call to immediately and impartially investigate attacks on colleagues-journalists, related to their professional activity. We turn your attention to the fact, that any case of attack on journalists done by law enforcement officers in 2017 has not yet been brought to court and properly investigated. None of the attackers received a fair punishment. For example, Yuriy Krysin, involved in killing a journalist Vyacheslav Veremiy, was sentenced according to article “Disorderly conduct”.
We believe that such facts show reluctance of authorities to investigate cases about obstruction of professional activity of journalists and at the same time the usage of articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine as means to prosecute the unwanted.
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Members of NGO “Detector Media” and IMI