Police refuse to initiate criminal case over assault of journalist


Two weeks after security guards of one of the delegates to the Party of the Regions Congress assaulted well-known journalist Mustafa Nayem, the police have refused to initiate a criminal investigation.

The Dniprovsky District Police Station say that they carried out a check of the circumstances of the assault on Mustafa Nayem on 30 July. They assert that “no testimony from witnesses and evidence of flagrant violation of public order or of Nayem having sustained injuries were received”.

They also claim that in the course of their investigation Nayem’s testimony was not confirmed, and since he refused in writing to have a medical examination, it was impossible to receive proof as to whether or not he had bodily injuries.

They therefore refused to initiate a criminal case under Article 296 of the Criminal Code.

As reported here, Mustafa Nayem had also asked for a criminal investigation to be initiated under Article 171 of the Criminal Code, i.e. obstructing a journalist carrying out his or her professional duties.  This would seem to have been ignored.

Mustafa Nayem’s application had been supported by the civic movement Stop Censorship and by the Media Law Institute.

At the time Mustafa Nayem explained  that the incident had occurred when on the way to the exhibition centre where the congress is taking place, the car accompanying one of the deputies cut ahead of his motorbike.  One of the guards opened the car door, used abusive language and asked if Mustafa Nayem couldn’t see that they were escorts.

When both the accompanying car and the journalist arrived at the exhibition centre, Mustafa Nayem came over to find out who was sitting in the car.

Instead the guard got out, knocked the journalist’s telephone out of his hand and this time not only used bad language, but also pushed him

Another guard picked up the phone, took the video footage out it and handed the phone to Nayem.  The incident was witnessed by traffic police and Party of the Regions deputy Vitaly Khomutynnyk.  The deputy said that he would find out why the guard behaved like that.  He said he could guess who might have been in the car.

Later a person rang from Khomutynnyk’s phone and tried to explain the situation. However when asked who was ringing, the person answered that that was of no importance and the situation was not worth making public.

A week later he reported that attempts had been made via acquaintances to buy him off.  He suggested that they stop being so stupid and refrain from making such offers either to him or to his friends. 

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