Reprimand for Berkut officer who detained journalist Mustafa Nayem

The Kyiv Central Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs [MIA] has apparently issued a strong reprimand to the Berkut officer who on Monday, 13 December 2010, detained prominent Ukrainian journalist Mustafa Nayem.

According to the Police Press Service, this resulted from an official investigation which is now considered completed.

The investigation established that the police officer in speaking with the journalist had expressed himself improperly which was a flagrant violation of the Ethical Code of Internal Affairs Officers and the Charter of Patrol Police Services.


As reported, Mustafa Nayem, television presenter and journalist for the Ukrainska Pravda Internet publication was detained by Berkut Special Force officers   Mustafa Nayem described the events of Monday evening at length in an article for Ukrainska Pravda “Xenophobia must not become the face of Ukrainian nationalism” and in various interviews.


He and a female colleague were sitting in her car in the TV Channel 5 parking area at around 9.30 on Monday evening, waiting for the engine to warm up.  The Berkut patrol car drove up and two officers got out. One began shining a torch into the car and then first at his colleague, then at Mustafa.


He asked only the latter to get out of the car and show his documents, which Mustafa did after first asking to see the man’s identification. His colleague, Tetyana Danylenko, also got out of the car and demanded an explanation. The man answered “We are not touching you, but have the right to check his documents”.  Tetyana Danylenko was incensed by the response and the conversation continued in heated tones.


Mustafa Nayem is an experienced journalist and accustomed to showing his ID with the word Press in a highly visible place.  He is convinced that the officer saw the ID very clearly, yet the officer demanded that he show it again.  During the discussion, since Mustafa with justification pointed out that he had already shown it (worth remembering that this was all taking place on the street in freezing conditions), another officer (the head of the group, it transpired later) appeared and asked what was happening.  He was told: “I’ve got a person of Caucuses nationality here [i.e. who is or looks like a person from the Caucuses, but this is the offensive phrase typically used).  He doesn’t want to show his documents.”


At that point Mustafa Nayem refused to show his ID again and went with the officers to the police station where an MP informed by Mustafa’s colleagues soon appeared, and where after a number of phone calls, obviously at higher level, Mustafa Nayem received an apology from the police. The officer who actually detained him, however, refused to apologise.

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