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Poltava journalists Tsirulnik and Matsko complain about the police's inaction about the threats and assault they faced

12.06.2023, 18:31

"Poltavska Khvylia" reporter Anastasia Matsko and "Kolo" reporter Tetyana Tsirulnik, whose cases for threats and assault are being investigated by the police, say that the local prosecutors are not taking action.

According to Tetyana Tsirulnik, the local prosecutor's office was delaying the work on her case. "Poltavska Khvylia" journalist Anastasia Matsko says that she still hasn not received a reply to the letter she sent to the GPU Office.

"If I was wearing a PRESS vest, a badge and a cap with the newspaper's logo, had a microphone and a written editorial assignment in my hands, and every now and then I would repeat that I was a journalist, with witnesses or my colleagues present nearby (who also had none of this ammunition); the colleagues who later said clearly for witnesses to hear: she is a reporter. Given all this, the attacker who punched me in the face on May 9 could be punished for obstructing the work of a journalist," wrote Tetyana Tsirulnik in her Facebook post.

She believes that the case will be classified as inflicting minor injuries.

"Considering the age of my attacker and the fact that he did not break my jaw, he will go unpunished. My word against the word of my attacker. If it weren't for the video, they wouldn't have even proved the minor injuries. In Poltava, you can beat a journalist with impunity, the law does not protect us. My thanks to the Poltava police, they did a great job and did everything possible to bring my offender to justice! The local prosecutor's office are delaying the work on my case," said Tetyana Tsirulnik. In her comment to the Poltava representative of IMI, Tsirulnik added that the prosecutors have passed the case back to the police.

"The prosecutors are not processing this case as Part 2 of Art. 345-1 of the Civil Code. They think it should be Part 1 Art. 125 of the Civil Code (inflicting bodily harm)," commented Tsirulnik to the IMI representative in Poltava.

"Poltavska Khvylia" journalist Anastasia Matsko also reported the prosecutors' inaction and complained about the police.

"I was received the same way. He (the investigator – author's note) invited me to come, told me how they fought oh so bravely, but the prosecutor's office 'sees no corpus delicti', because Boyko's threats were allegedly not addressed to anyone in particluar. That is, they consider everything as if he did not say 'I would kill you for filming' to me, but was speaking but in general, without addressing me. So they don't take it as a threat to me. And now the case will be closed. I don't believe them because there are inconsistencies in the case. And they didn't give a single written reply from the prosecutor's office, they were telling me everything verbally. They are afraid to close the case themselves because of the publicity. That's the kind of circus that's been going on," said Anastasia Matsko in her comment to the IMI representative in Poltava. The journalist added that there had been no procedural actions during the entire investigation.

"There is a threat to my life, I am forced to interact with the accused, and the prosecutor's office is not taking any action," Matsko said.

The IMI representative in Poltava oblast contacted the regional prosecutor's office for a comment. According to Lyudmyla Ivashchuk, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors' office, the reply will be provided later.

As reported, Anastasia Matsko, a journalist at the online publication "Poltava Wave", has said that district council deputy, Serhiy Boyko, and the head of the welfare inspection, Maksym Malko, threatened her during the March 29 City Council session. The police opened a case for Part 2 of Article 171 ("Obstructing the legal professional work of journalists, influencing a journalist in any way with the purpose of preventing them from fulfilling their professional duties, or persecuting a journalist in connection with their legal professional work") of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Later, the journalist's lawyer, Dmytro Semekha, requested that the Poltava police reclassify the case as threats instead of obstruction. On May 29, Matsko and her lawyer filed a complaint with the Prosecutor General's Office due to the police's inaction. As of today, reports the IMI representative in Poltava, there has been no response from the prosecutors.

On May 9, an unknown man shoved the "Kolo" journalist and editor-in-chief, Tetiana Tsirulnik, and slapped her in the face. The incident happened on May 9 during the flower laying ceremony at the Soldier's Glory Memorial. One of the participants of ceremony arrived with a portrait of his father. The journalist, who was present there, said that the action was endorsing the Russian narratives and compared it to the pro-Russian "Immortal Regiment". Another man reacted to the debate very aggressively, first using obscene language to suggest that the journalist "gets away from here". And after the journalist protested, saying that they were in a public place that was open for everyone, the man first forcibly shoved the journalist away from the space in front of the memorial, then punched her in the face. The Poltava police opened a case under Part 2 of Article 345-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine ("Threats or violence against a journalist"). Tetyana Tsirulnik received minor injuries in the attack.

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