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Man accused of threatening a journalist joins the National Guard and may evade prosecution

09.10.2023, 18:41
Photo: Andriy Buzynarsky on Instagram
Photo: Andriy Buzynarsky on Instagram

Andriy Buzynarsky, accused of making death threats to a journalist and her family, joined the National Guard of Ukraine while his case was being tried. The prosecutor's office suggests that military service may be a valid reason for not appearing in court, and thus delaying the prosecution.

This was reported by the IMI representative in Rivne oblast.

The news of Andriy Buzynarsky enlisting in the defense forces came from his Instagram profile. In early August, Buzynarsky started posting photos that indicated that he serves in the air reconnaissance of the Hetman Petro Doroshenko Presidential Operational Assignment Brigade No. 1 in the National Guard of Ukraine.

Namely, in August–September he posted a photo of himself with the Brigade's emblem in the background, and later a photo of a drone and several photos of himself in military uniform.

IMI's screenshot from Buzynarsky's Instagram

The spokeswoman of the Rivne Regional Prosecutor's Office, Oksana Zhuzhelska, confirmed in a comment to IMI that Andriy Buzynarsky had indeed enlisted in the army.

"The accused is currently serving in the ranks of the Armed Forces. We have verified this information. They sent an official request and received confirmation that the man is staying at a National Guard base. We did not extend the arrest term because we had no way to do so, again because of his service. The fact that the accused is in the UAF is neither a mitigating nor an aggravating circumstance. It is just that military service is a valid reason for not appearing in court," said Oksana Zhuzhelska.

The case of Andriy Buzynarsky is currently at the stage of preparatory hearings. The last hearing was supposed to take place on September 13, but it was postponed because the judge was on vacation. The date of the next hearing is not yet known.

The latest court ruling, which is publicly available, suggests that during the November 2022 court hearing, Andriy Buzynarsky filed a statement to disqualify the prosecutor for allegedly violating his rights. However, Buzynarsky failed to convince the judge.

As IMI reported, on August 11, 2018, in Rivne, Andriy Buzynarsky, son of politician Viktor Medvedchuk's associate, threatened TRC UA:Rivne journalist and producer Inna Biletska, who was filming a car accident, with physical violence. Buzynarsky Jr. had caused the accident. He told the journalist the following: "You will be a corpse at best, a cripple at worst. You have any children?"

The police added the information on the incident into the Unified Register of Pretrial Investigations under Part 1 of Article 345-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine ("Threat or violence against a journalist"). Later, the investigator probing the case died, essentially halting the progress until June 2021.

Over three years after the case was opened, IMI learned that the police and the prosecutors were giving contradictory statements and shifting the blame onto each other.

In September 2022, the Rivne District Prosecutor's Office notified Andriy Buzynarsky of suspicion for assaulting against a journalist; the search for another suspect, who was hiding from the investigation, continued. Later, Buzynarsky was detained and placed in a pre-trial detention center. In October 2022, the prosecutors submitted an indictment to court.

Andriy Buzynarsky faces up to three years in prison in case his guilt is proven.

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