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Police raid internet café, damage newspaper's server

(CJES/IFEX) - Volodymyr Ushchapovsky, editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Svobodnaya Odesa", said police officials broke into an Odesa internet club, where the main server of the paper's internet site is located, around 10:00 p.m. on July 22 2010. They drove away the visitors, beat up a "Svobodnaya Odesa" representative, and disabled the equipment.

Ushchapovsky believes the actions taken by the police were "clearly politically motivated because a representative of "Svobodnaya Odesa" was beaten in the presence of local journalists, who were filming the incident."

"Many law enforcement agencies don't like our newspaper because it has published materials accusing Ihor Markov, leader of the Rodina party, and many top policemen and prosecutors, including the former Odesa regional prosecutor, Vasily Prisyazhny, and the Mykolaiv region prosecutor, Mykola Stoyanov, of corruption," he said.

The Odesa regional police, in turn, said the destruction of the newspaper's server was accidental and the raid on the internet club was part of a series of raids on the city's internet cafés.

"On July 22, officials from the State Service for the Prevention of Economic Crimes conducted inspections of internet cafés. One café, which is located in the Odesa Primorsky district, was found to use counterfeit software," said Tatyana Sakara, an official with the Ukrainian Interior Ministry department for the Odesa region.

Sakara would not specify how many internet cafés were inspected and what violations were revealed.

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