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MPs to appeal to Avakov over assault by acting Kharkiv mayor on RegioNews journalist

20.05.2021, 12:47

The Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Speech has decided to appeal to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and his deputy Anton Gerashchenko over the inaction of the police as to Illya Koltunov, journalist for RegioNews in Kharkiv. The police has not yet opened criminal proceedings on over his complaint of assault on him by security guards of acting mayor of Kharkiv. This decision was made by the committee on May 19 at its meeting, as RegioNews reported.

At the meeting, the committee members considered the circumstances of the incident, watched the video and heard the testimony of Ilya Koltunov himself. The journalist stressed that despite his statement has been registered in the Kholodnohirsky District Police Department on May 14, it has not yet been entered into the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations (URPTI).

According to the members of the committee, the aggression of Ilya Koltunov by the guards could be qualified under Article 171 of the Criminal Code "Obstruction of the legitimate professional activity of a journalist."

The chairman of the Committee, Nestor Shufrych, noted that the journalist's actions regarding the submission of complaint about failure to enter the information to the URPTI were quite correct.

Committee member Yevhen Bragar, for his part, noted that Article 171 criminal proceedings are very difficult to initiate. "I believe that we should help the journalist and do everything in our power," he said.

Following the meeting, all five members of the committee unanimously voted to appeal to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and his deputy Anton Gerashchenko, who oversees the protection of journalists' rights at the Interior Ministry.

As IMI reported, In Kharkiv, on May 13, security guards of acting Mayor Igor Terekhov aggressed the journalist for RegioNews, as the latter started asking a question to the official. 

The incident occurred during a meeting between Igor Terekhov and residents in Kharkiv. The RegionNews reported that the security guards rushed at the journalist, started pushing him and took away the microphone, and Igor Terekhov himself, as he heard the question, turned his back and walked away from the journalist.

The guards attacked the journalist, started pushing him and took the microphone.

On May 14, Koltunov filed a complaint with the Kholodnohirsky District Police Department of the police in Kharkiv Region saying that he had been aggressed by Terekhov's guards who obstructed his lawful professional activities. The complaint was duly registered by O. Yakovenko, Senior Inspector of the main directorate of the National police # 2. As required by law, such complaints must be entered in the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations no later than 24 hours after the registration of the complaint.

However, as of May 17, the data had not been entered into the Unified register. Ilya Koltunov complained about it to the Kyiv District Court of Kharkiv.

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