Ukraine: Journalist Vadym Komarov dies after one and a half months in coma following assault

Journalist Vadym Komarov died in the early hours of 20th June, a few weeks after he was attacked and left in coma in May in the city of Cherkasy, Ukraine. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) join their affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), in condemning the murder and urging authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into this despicable crime and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Vadym Komarov was known for his investigations and his hard hitting reporting on local authorities. Komarov reported on corruption and organised crime in Cherkasy and had been attacked before, according to local media reports. 

The journalists who knew him are convinced that the attack on him was motivated by his professional activity.

The police has not so far identified the attackers.

The NUJU has demanded a transparent and effective investigation into the murder of Vadym Komarov and the real protection of Ukrainian journalists' rights. The Union has insisted on the need for ad hoc hearings in parliament on journalists' physical security and freedom of speech.

President  of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine Sergiy Tomilenko said: "Vadym was inconvenient for many local politicians. He highlighted topics of corruption in Cherkasy, covered other notorious themes. A new name has just been added to the sad list under that of journalist Pavlo Sheremet, who was blatantly killed in the center of Kyiv three years ago."

General Secretary of the IFJ Anthony Bellanger said: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Vadym Komarov. We call on Ukrainian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice and to ensure the safety of journalists."

30 physical attacks on journalists were registered in Ukraine durign the past four months of 2019, according to the NUJU. The National Police of Ukraine reported that pretrial investigations into 63 crimes related to journalists' professional activity were launched in the first four months of 2019.

Only six cases have been sent to court, which is a mere 10% of the total number of the crimes.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

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