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Police step up attempts to intimidate journalist Olena Bilozerska

Bilozerska Olena2The Kiev police have stepped up their attempts to harass and intimidate journalist and blogger Olena Bilozerska in connection with her coverage of a demonstration outside an animal fur store in February, in which smoke grenades and eggs with paint were thrown at the store.

When she was interrogated again on 13 April by a police inspector, he was accompanied by a man who claimed to have been one of the demonstrators. The inspector insistently encouraged the young man to state, that Bilozerska had known about the demonstration on the preparatory stage and, in fact, was a participant, not a witness.

She is now facing the possibility of being prosecuted as an accomplice in what she regards as a judicial farce being orchestrated by the authorities with the apparent aim of scaring her and reducing her to silence.

Bilozerska said she had never met her accuser before and was struck by his use of legal vocabulary when he gave his statement, which he seemed to have learned by heart. She is the only person being interrogated in connection with the demonstration. The protesters who threw the eggs and smoke grenades have not been detained or questioned, although the inspector knows their names – the young man told him.

When Bilozerska experienced the symptoms of a mild heart attack during the interrogation, the police prevented emergency medical services from treating her quickly.

These latest attempts to intimidate Bilozerska have coincided with a disturbing wave of press freedom violations in Ukraine, including arrests and physical attacks on journalists and harassment of TV stations, as a result of which two stations had to suspend broadcasting.

Reporters Without Borders

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Дата публікації: 21-04-2010 3:11 | Кількість переглядів 10363 переглядів

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