Assault on Ukraine journalist sparks outrage

Calls for independent investigation into savage gang attack on opposition activist and reporter Tanya Chornovil in Kiev.

    Anti-government protesters in Ukraine are demanding an immediate and independent investigation into a brutal gang attack on an opposition journalist.

    Police said on Wednesday that Tanya Chornovil was beaten and left in a ditch hours after publishing an article about politicians' assets. 

    Chornovil, who writes for the opposition website Ukrainska Pravda, was attacked overnight on Tuesday outside the capital Kiev, police said in a written statement, citing the journalist.

    They were hitting me on the head, they were not saying anything, they were just hitting.

     Tanya Chornovil, journalist

    The prominent journalist, known for her critical reports about President Viktor Yanukovych and top officials, was driving to Kiev when she noticed she was being followed by a car.

    "The driver of the suspicious car began to push her to the side," the police statement said.

    "When she stopped, several men who were following her broke the back window of her car, pulled her out and started beating her.

    "After that she was thrown into a ditch."

    The statement said Chornovil was found next to her vehicle shortly after midnight.

    Yanukovych condemned the attack and ordered Vitali Zakharchenko, the interior minister, to find those responsible.

    Zakharchenko said three suspects in the beating had been identified and two of them detained.

    Police said their most experienced investigators were probing the attack on the 34-year-old, who has participated in weeks-long pro-EU protests against Yanukovych.

    Chornovil said there were at least two assailants.

    "I started running, they began pursuing me," said the young woman, whose face was bruised and swollen, in video comments posted on the Ukrainska Pravda website.

    "They were hitting me on the head, they were not saying anything, they were just hitting."

    The news site said that Chornovil was admitted to hospital with a broken nose, a concussion and multiple bruises.

    Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of Svoboda Party, called for an immediate, honest, independent investigation of the journalist's attempted murder.

    "There is footage from the dashboard camera and the opposition has a copy of this," Tyahnybok said.

    "So they will not be able to manipulate or compromise this information in any way.

    "You can see what car it is, a Porsche Cayenne. You can see the licence plate. You can see the faces of the villains. You can see what they did and how they did it, not just from the dashboard camera."

    The attack on the journalist comes after a local pro-EU activist was stabbed in both thighs in the eastern city of Kharkiv on Tuesday evening.

    The latest assault caused outrage among opposition leaders, who have been locked in a standoff with Yanukovych over his decision to scrap key political and free trade agreements with the European Union last month.

    Several hundred protesters gathered outside the seat of the interior minister, calling for his resignation on Wednesday.

    Some of the protesters held up pictures of Chornovil.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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