16:29 06.12.2013

Twelve criminal cases opened into beatings of journalists at Kyiv rallies

Twelve criminal cases have been opened into beatings of journalists at rallies in Kyiv, says Mykola Tomenko, the head of the Ukrainian parliamentary committee on freedom of speech and information.

"They involve different charges, including obstruction of journalistic activities," Tomenko said on Friday.

Eleven journalists have confirmed that they would file reports with law enforcement agencies that they had suffered from beatings at the rallies, and 17 others refused to file such reports, Tomenko said.

A special bank account has been opened for volunteers to transfer money for the journalists who suffered injuries while performing their duties during the protests, and seven of them have already applied for help, he said.

A meeting of the committee on freedom of speech and information session planned for Friday did not take place due to the absence of a quorum, and so those who came to the session only informally discussed the problem.

The Kyiv city prosecutor's office announced on December 4 that it had started a pretrial investigation into events on Bankova Street on December 1 under Ukrainian Criminal Code Article 365 Part 2 (abuse of office by a law enforcement official) and Article 171 Part 1 (obstruction of professional journalistic activities).

Crowds of protesters clashed with police forces not far from the presidential secretariat on Bankova Street in Kyiv on December 1, and dozens of law enforcement officials, journalists, and protesters suffered injuries in these events.

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