The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and
its regional organisation, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), have
today called for the investigation into the disappearance and probable murder
of Ukraine investigative Journalist, Vasyl Klymentyev, to be removed from the
hands of the local police force.
Six months after Klymentyev's disappearance, the
official investigation into ‘premeditated murder' has failed to make any
progress. Meanwhile serious concerns have arisen about police conduct including
harassment of Klymentyev's partner, Valentina Udovenko, and illegal searches
and seizures of documents on the premises of Klymentyev and his lawyer.
"Our research has shown time and again that murder
investigations led by local police forces are often compromised when the victim
is an investigative journalist reporting on corruption by powerful political
figures," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "It is time this
investigation was handed over to an external team free to act and investigate
without fear of reprisal."
Klymentyev, correspondent with Novyy Styl newspaper, was last seen on the 11th August
2010 as he set off to visit properties owned by Stanisalv Denysysuk, regional
tax director, and three other officials, to investigate corruption allegations
into their ownership and management. A few days after his disappearance his
mobile phone and keys were found on a boat in the nearby reservoir. The leading
witness was a police officer who accompanied Klymentyev to the Kharkiv
properties who himself disappeared in September.
In their letter sent today the IFJ/EFJ have called on
President Yanukovych to transfer the investigation to the Attorney General's
office. The letter further urged the President to take the necessary measures
to ensure that those responsible for Klymentyev's disappearance are brought to
"We will not be satisfied until both the murderers and
those who ordered his murder are behind bars," warned Arne König, EFJ
President. "Ukraine must at all costs avoid the errors and failings of the Georgy
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IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 125 countries