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Kherson court dismisses Oblast Council deputy's lawsuit against two media outlets

15.04.2024, 15:06

Kherson Oblast Council deputy from the Volodymyr Saldo Bloc, Serhiy Sorokunsky, who is suing two media outlets. Photo by MOST

The Kherson City Court dismissed a lawsuit against the local online outlets "MOST" and "Hryvnia" filed by the Kherson Oblast Council deputy Serhiy Sorokunsky.

The decision was passed today, April 15, 2024.

The judge considered Sorokunsky's defamation claim and refused to grant it in full.

As MOST editor Serhiy Nikitenko told the Institute of Mass Information, when announcing the ruling, the judge only read aloud the introduction and the final part of it, so it is still unclear what exactly was the rationale behind the decision.

Neither the plaintiff nor his representative were present at the hearing.

The Kherson Oblast Council deputy from the Volodymyr Saldo Bloc, Serhiy Sorokunsky, sued "MOST" and "Hryvnia" on December 4, 2023.

The plaintiff first appealed to the Malinovsky Court of Odesa city, but this case was rejected and instead submitted to the Kherson City Court for jurisdiction reasons.

Serhiy Sorokunsky's lawyer asked the court to establish as a legal fact that the information posted on the anonymous Telegram channel "Kherson Traitors Database" and the websites MOST and "Hryvnia" was misleading and defamatory to his client, and to order its retraction.

The post in question was made on September 25, 2022; the authors of the anonymous Telegram channel wrote that Serhiy Sorokunsky was cooperating with the occupation authorities.

In their article about Oblast Council deputies who are or may be suspected of treason and collaborationism, the online outlet "MOST" cited the post as one of their sources, providing a screenshot of it, but the article featured no assessment of Sorokunsky's or the other deputies' actions.

"We clearly said that the Volodymyr Saldo Bloc deputy Serhiy Sorokunsky has appeared on various traitor lists. Both on those 'leaked' from the SBU and on anonymous Telegram channels. We also said in the article that no suspicion notice had been issued to him and that he had freely entered Ukraine from Europe, where he had spent several months hiding after leaving Kherson, which had still been occupied at the time," Serhiy Nikitenko told the IMI.

In April 2024, the journalists learned that Serhiy Sorokunsky's home was searched twice, with the searches yielding documents that could confirm his cooperation with the Russians.

For instance, MOST has posted a photo of a pass allegedly used by Sorokunsky, who is listed in the document as a "federal councilor", while the right bank of the Kherson oblast was under occupation.

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