The Dniprovskyi District Court of Kyiv set the hearing on the merits of the case of Vitaliy Shabunin, Head of the Board of the Anti-corruption Action Center, on February 9. He is accused under the Article 345-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine “Threat or assault on a journalist”. He may be facing up to 5 years in prison.
The court decided that there are sufficient grounds to set the case hearing on the merits.
During the preliminary hearing on January 30, Vitaliy Shabunin admitted to hitting Filimonenko and also claimed that he objects to re-qualification of the case by the prosecution, as the victim is not a journalist, but “better known as provocateur”.
“I admit that I did punch this man, who had been provoking my colleague and reduced her to tears. I had no other way of restoring justice, as the police never investigated the complaint of harassment that my colleague suffered from… I am prepared to reimburse the victim the cost of a band-aid – the only possible remedy for the punch. The examination was falsified by the prosecution, and we are going to prove that”, he said.
Before the beginning of the court hearing Mr. Filimonenko and his colleagues continued harassing and provoking Vitaliy Shabunin. They even brought the support group, that looked curiously similar to Anti-Maidan advocates. According to them, they got to know Mr. Filimonenko at Opposition Block MP Rabinovych’s rally.
All in all, 7.5 months have passed since the beginning of investigation (June 8) and 5 month since Shabunin was served the note of suspicion (August 16). It is worth noting that on the day before the investigation the case was re-qualified from part 1 of article 122 (bodily injury of medium gravity) to part 2 of article 345-1 (assault on a journalist). The investigation had been delayed for 4 times.
Furthermore, Shabunin’s lawyers say that the results of medical examination could have been fabricated, which means that the case itself is falsified.
Under to the court order, the case was investigated by 10 investigating officers.