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Journalist beaten after being refused entrance to press conference

(IMI/IFEX) - On 14 September 2010 the Kherson mayor's security guards attacked Dementiy Biliy, a journalist who works for the "Vilniy Vybir" local newspaper in Kherson.

Biliy said he was there to cover a public meeting with the mayor, Volodymyr Saldo, before a vote. The guards in civilian clothing did not allow him to get in because he did not have an invitation letter. Biliy said he was a journalist. "They demanded my invitation, but I said I am a journalist and I have the right to get in. For 15 minutes I was not authorized to get in and I was pushed out. Only after the head of regional administration, Andriy Yatsek, intervened, I could enter the venue. There I was told that some members of municipal council had not been admitted to the meeting". Biliy asked the police officer to interfere, who refused to react. Then Biliy asked the mayor why some members of the regional council were not let in and immediately the journalist "was pushed out by two big guys". In the corridor, they started beating the journalist.

"I was so shocked, in the hall of the theater in broad daylight they beat me, and the police were around here. I even don't know who these guys were, not policemen, some private security", Biliy said.

Physicians are trying to determine whether the journalist sustained a concussion.

Igor Trubaev, journalist and eyewitness to the incident, said the mayor's office had informed the press about this meeting only the day before. Journalists were not able to obtain a permit in time to attend the meeting.

The security guards did not let in some opposition members of the municipal council.

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