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Still no suspects, neither detained in case of murder of Vadym Komarov

17.09.2020, 12:39
Photo credit: Vadym Komarov's FAcebook page
Photo credit: Vadym Komarov's FAcebook page

The investigation into the murder of journalist Vadym Komarov in Cherkasy in 2019 is still ongoing, at present there are no suspects. Artem Shevchenko, director of the communications department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said it on September 17 during an online discussion "Security of journalists in Ukraine: actual challenges and ways to get it over," as Ukrinform reported.

"Unfortunately, the murder of journalist Vadym Komarov in the city of Cherkasy on May 4, 2019 has not been solved yet ... There are no suspects and no detainees at the moment, the investigation is ongoing," Shevchenko said.

He added that the murder was one of the most important challenges for the law enforcement system probing into crimes against journalists.

As IMI reported, on the night of June 20, 2019, the investigative journalist Vadym Komarov in Cherkassy died on June 20. He remained in medically induced coma all this time after assault.

As IMI informed, on May 4th in Cherkassy, some unknown person beat Vadym Komarov, local journalist and video blogger, who investigated facts of corruption in municipal council, illegal real estate development and condition of penitentiary establishment. Komarov was sent to the hospital, he was in a critical condition, as he got an open cranio-cerebral trauma. The police initially instituted a criminal case under part 1 of article 121 (“Intentional grave bodily harm”) of the Criminal Code. But then, the investigators re-qualified the criminal proceedings under articles 15 and 115 of the Criminal Code (“Murderous attempt”).

On 4th of May 2020, his colleagues, Cherkasy journalists demanded from the law enforcement bodies to report on progress of that investigation, one year passed after the day of his brutal beating, that caused his death. 

They said in the open letter signed by several journalists and NGOs and addressed to the prosecutor of the Cherkasy region, Oleksander Voronin, the head of National Police in Cherkasy region Mykhaylo Kuratchenko and the head of the SBU Direction in the Cherkasy region, Yuriy Pogasy. The journalists revealed that since past several months they could not learn anything new about the progress of the investigation and its at least intermediate results. At the same time, the authors of the letter emphasized, they had no doubt that the reason of the attack targeting Komarov had been his professional activity, "which makes this crime particularly blatant and such as required maximum of attention from law enforcement agencies."

On May 6, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir called for an effective investigation into the attack on journalist Vadym Komarov.

On May 7, Reporters sans frontières, said they were appalled by the brutal attack and called on the authorities to do everything possible to ensure that this horrific attack did not go unpunished.”

On July 30, the Prydniprovsky district court of Cherkasy allowed the investigation to check the personal belongings and documents of the father of the deputy mayor of Cherkasy, Andriy Botnar, who, according to the police, may be involved in the attack of Vadym Komarov. The deputy mayor Yuri Botnar himself was indignant at such actions, qualified it as a political order and stated that neither him, nor his father had been involved in the attack on the journalist. The latest ruling, published in the National register of judgments on July 31 concerned the request of the investigators toauthorise the computerized examination of the victim's phone, including the analysis of information that may have been deleted. By the way, based on information from court decisions , the police seized the victim's phones only on July 5, two months after the attack. At the same time, on July 31, the head of the main directorate of the police in Cherkasy region Valery Lyuty reported on the progress of the investigation to the president during his visit to Cherkasy region. Asked by the head of state, whether he could define the term of solving the crime, Valery Lyuty pointed out that such crimes usually have an instigator, so it is difficult to forecast the term, because it is necessary to collect a serious evidence base, as web-based edition "18000" reported.

He was also a member of the Public council affiliated to the Cherkasy regional state administration and was an adviser to the Mayor of Cherkasy. This was not the first attempt against Vadym Komarov. on September 7th, 2016, in Cherkassy some unknown person fired a shot at Vadym Komarov, but the bullet hit the wall. The offender came to his home and fired from six meters, but hit the bullet into the wall. “The only thing I could relate it to, and this is, so-speaking, with a great reserve, is the criminal cases of the company “Freestyle”. About 2 million have been pocketed by the director. Non-payment of a large sum of money to the budget. The former police officer patronized them. This is one scheme I could formally relate to. And the second is the judge Bondarenko and the judge Troyan. They issued the decision based on the forged documents. I wrote a letter about it to the law enforcement agencies, ” - Komarov commented on the attack. He also noted that this is the second armed attack on him. He survived the first attack 25 years ago when he was working on a journalistic investigation about some prosecutors’s activity. In July 2017, during a public meeting in Vadim Komarova, an employee of one of the construction companies belonging to the deputy of the regional council was beaten in the Mytnytsya district. The reason for this, allegedly, was that an activist opposed to the real estate development near the Dnieper. 

On September 1, 2020, Yevhen Rohachov, the head of the Cherkasy Region State Investigation Department, said that the investigation into the murder of journalist Vadym Komarov was ongoing. According to him, 1,600 people were interviewed and Komarov's path from his home to the murder scene was examined. 99 video surveillance cameras have also been analysed: 17 of them recorded the same person who was to be identified.

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