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"Ukrainska Pravda" journalist taken by force to prosecutor's office in poisoning case

(IMI/IFEX) - The following is a 14 July 2008 IMI press release:

"Ukrainska Pravda" journalist taken by force to public prosecutor's office in Yuschchenko poisoning case

14 July 2008 - This morning, Sergei Lechtchenko, an online journalist with "Ukrainska Pravda", was taken by force to the public prosecutor's office to appear before a judge in the case of the poisoning of President Victor Yushchenko.

IMI expresses its concern over the measures taken by the public prosecutor's office against Lechtchenko, well-known for his many investigative reports that have had wide repercussions in Ukrainian society. IMI Director Viktoria Syumar stated: "In such circumstances, the measures taken against the journalist appear inappropriate, since Lechtchenko cannot be a key witness in this case. Since the measures are taken against an eminent journalist who is the author of numerous investigative reports, including articles on President Yushchenko's son and on his poisoning, then in this case one can speak of pressure against the journalist as a person and against the media outlet that he represents."

IMI is alarmed by the return of the use of force to detain journalists, a practice that has not existed in Ukraine since 2004.

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