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Journalist receives death threats

(CJES/IFEX) - Serhiy Nikonov, a journalist with the weekly "Lokhvitsky Krai" (Poltava region), received threats from Vladimir Borisenko, chairman of the Lokhvitsky District Council, the Ukrainian independent information agency (UNIAN) reported on 13 August 2009.

Nikonov said that he received an editorial assignment to investigate the construction of a house in the village of Melnits (located on the bank of the river Sulla). In his article the journalist said he had information that the owner of the house built on the river bank was Borisenko.

To prove the threats, Nikonov released the following recording: "I'm telling you: if you write anything about me, trust me, I can always find $100 or $500. I will screw your head off. I'm warning you. Not as chairman of a district council, as Borisenko. If you write anything about me as Borisenko, I will screw your head off right away. If you want to die, come on, write. Trust me: I have enough power and money to do it," said the transcript of the recording, which was supplied to the media by Oleh Pustovgar, the head of the main department of information and interior policy of the Poltava regional administration.

Borisenko told UNIAN that he never threatened the journalist and did not use any obscenities in conversations with him.

"I met him in the presence of the Ukrainian Security Service officials this morning. We had a talk and he promised to let me listen to the recording, but did not bring it. I don't know what is in that recording. And I don't know what caused this scandal. I have not met him since," said Borisenko.

The police have refused to open a criminal case against Borisenko, Nikonov told the media at a press conference in Poltava on 14 August. The journalist said this decision is connected to Borisenko's statement that the person in the recording was not him.

The organizers of the press conference played a recording of the journalist's conversation with a man whose voice resembled Borisenko's. The man in the recording threatened to kill the journalist if the latter published materials dealing with the construction of a house owned by Borisenko on the bank of the river.

An official with the Poltava regional prosecutor's office said he had information that the Lokhvitsky district prosecutor later reversed that decision and ordered the police to open a criminal case against Borisenko.

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