Dangerous attack on Committee of Voters journalist
Anatoly Tiora, correspondent of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] Odessa regional publication IzbirKom, believes that the two men who hurled four Molotov cocktails at his home in Kotovsk planned to burn the house down, together with its inhabitants. He says that they were lucky that family members were able to prevent the whole building being set alight. The two men attacked at 3 a.m., hurling 4 Molotov cocktails. Anatoly Tiora says that the first two hit the wall, burning the wall itself and the roof. The third broke a window and landed inside, though fortunately the wick went out, and the fourth they didn’t get a chance to hurl, and ran away when they heard noise.
The journalist is convinced that the attack was connected with his professional work, and this view is shared by the Odessa Regional Branch of the CVU. Ihor Brynosh, in charge of their legal department points out that this is not the first time that journalists in general in Kotovsk, and Anatoly Tiora in particular, have been subjected to different forms of pressure.
However in the past this involved being removed from public events; threats and burglary, whereas the attack on Tuesday morning was a clear attempt on the life and health of Anatoly and his family.
Bearing in mind that the attack happened late at night when people were asleep, CVU is adamant that the criminal investigation must not only be over deliberate destruction or damage of property, but also attempted murder.
On 15 June members of the Party of the Regions faction in the Kotovsk City Council attacked Tiora during a joint meeting of different deputy commissions. They grabbed his journalist ID, wallet and bag, and threw them into the corridor, presumably assuming that the journalist would run to pick them up. He however stayed in the room and called the police. While the police officers were drawing up a protocol over the attack on the journalist, his possessions disappeared. He later found them in the courtroom toilet next to the Kotovsk Prosecutor’s Office. Even then the deputies’ assault bore all the hallmarks of obstruction of a journalist carrying out his or her professional duties (Article 171 of the Criminal Code) not to mention elements of Article 186 – robbery.
Nor is this the first case where Kotovsk deputies from the Party of the Regions have flagrantly infringed journalists’ rights. Using various pretexts they have systematically refused to admit them to council meetings, meetings of different commissions and the executive committee.
Journalists have on a number of occasions lodged the relevant complaints with the police and Prosecutor’s Office but the latter have failed to respond appropriatedly.
Anatoly Boiko, Head of the Odessa CVU is blunt: “Given the systematic violation of media workers’ rights in Kotovsk, which with the attack on Anatoly Tiora’s home, has turned into real terror, the position taken by the Kotovsk law enforcement bodies, and the Kotovsk Prosecutor’s Office in particular is, to put it mildly, baffling”.
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