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A Notice of Suspicion Is Being Prepared for AntAC’s Head for Beating Pseudo-Journalist: Shabunin May Face Up to 5 Years in Detention

Anticorruption activist is suspected of “intentional infliction of bodily injuries of moderate severity” to a pseudo-journalist, who has been persecuting a team of NGO Anticorruption Action Center for months.

AntAC was informed about it by the investigator of the case.

The suspicion will be handed over on Wednesday, August 16 at the Dniprovskyi district division of the National Police Office. The same day the court will also choose a pre-trial restraint measure for Shabunin personal guarantee or arrest.

Shabunin is charged with Part 2 of Art. 345-1 – “Threat or violence against a journalist”, namely: “intentional infliction to a journalist […] an injury of moderate severity in connection with the implementation of this journalist’s legitimate professional activity”. AntAC’s Head of Board is threatened with limitation of freedom or imprisonment for up to five years.

According to AntAC’s information, these are public prosecutors (particularly the procedural chief in the case – Rusnak Dmytro Olegovych) who insist on handing the notice of suspicion. According to his e-declaration, in 2016, he worked as a regular prosecutor of the local prosecutor’s office of Storozhinets, a small town in Chernivtsi region.

“The investigation did not provide answer on two key questions: why the investigators suddenly consider the provocateur as a journalist, and where did themoderate severity of injuries come from,” explains Olena Shcherban, AntAC’s lawyer.

According to Mrs. Shcherban, after Shabunin hit Filimonenko the latter himself called an ambulance and refused hospitalization and doctors help. Journalists recorded this refusal on the video and witnessed it. For several hours after hit pseudo-journalist did not have any sign of “serious injuries.” They appeared later – when Filimonenko and his companions left the place of events.

AntAC believes that Filimonenko was beaten by his companions in order to obtain another degree of injure gravity for which much serious responsibility is foreseen – 5 years of imprisonment.

In addition, Filimonenko did not independently provide the investigators with medical documents. They had to get them through the court decision. It follows from the court’s ruling that Filimonenko had not even been on a day-care basis in the Kyiv City Emergency Hospital, where he should have been brought according to the law, but for 21 days he was “treated” at the Kyiv City Clinical Hospital No. 12, from where he constantly posted the videos on the Internet. ‘Precisely such a period of hospital treatment is needed for doctors to qualify the injuries as grave “. After the “treatment,” Filimonenko fled abroad to evade criminal responsibility, as he publicly announced on its Facebook page, adds lawyer Shcherban.

It is noteworthy that other cases of attacks and beatings of journalists are being investigated without success by the law enforcement officers. Only a few cases get to courts. In particular, after the Revolution of Dignity under the Article 345-1, upon which Shabunin was accused, only 3 sentences were pronounced. In two cases, these were the agreements on reconciliation, and in the third case the convict was released from serving a sentence upon the examination period.

According to the Prosecutor General‘s Office of Ukraine, for the period from 2013 to January 2017, 645 criminal proceedings were registered under the article “Prevention of Legal Professional Activities of Journalists”. Of these, 326 (50.6%) were already closed at the investigation stage. And only 46 cases (7.1%) went to court.

AntAC considers this case against Shabunin a political order aimed at neutralizing the civic and anti-corruption activist.