Assaulted anti-graft Cherkasy journalist dies in hospital

10:15, 20 June 2019
Ukraine
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Vadym Komarov / Facebook

A Cherkasy-based journalist Vadym Komarov, known for his investigations into corruption-related cases, died overnight Thursday, June 20, after he was brutally beaten by an unidentified perpetrator in the center of Cherkasy on May 4, having remained in a coma following surgery, that's according to Serhiy Tomilenko, head of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine.

The only version of the attempt, which is now a completed murder, shared by Cherkasy journalists, is Komarov's professional activities, according to Tomilenko.

Read alsoCherkasy journalist in coma after attack, police open criminal case

"He made many local politicians uncomfortable. He raised inconvenient questions about corruption in Cherkasy, raised resonating topics..." the Union chief wrote on Facebook.

"Physical aggression against journalists in Ukraine is at an unacceptably high level. And systemic impunity provokes new attacks. The National Union of Journalists continues to insist on holding special parliamentary hearings on journalists' physical safety and freedom of speech. We continue to demand a real, not declarative, protection of the rights of Ukrainian journalists!" the statement says.

As UNIAN reported earlier, a local Cherkasy anti-corruption investigative journalist and blogger Vadym Komarov was assaulted by an unidentified perpetrator in the city center at about 09:00 on May 4.

The journalist was rushed to a hospital in a serious condition after a brutal attack. Police initially opened a criminal case qualifying the act as "inflicting an intentional grave bodily injury", later re-qualifying it to "murder attempt".

Komarov had been in a coma since surgery.

Secretary of Cherkasy City Council Oleksandr Radutsky recalled that Komarov had repeatedly raised very acute issues in his articles, in particular, about the circumstances of a jail riot in Cherkasy-based penal colony number 62, embezzlement of budget funds, illegal construction, and corruption in Cherkasy City Council. In 2016, the journalist survived a shooting attack.

Police said they are working to identify the attacker, calling on everyone who has information about the incident or personally witnessed the attack to inform police and help the investigation.

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir on May 6 called for an effective investigation into the violent attack.

International media freedom watchdogs on May 7 said they were "appalled" by the recent brutal attack on Ukrainian journalist Vadym Komarov and urged the country's authorities to do their utmost to ensure that it does not go unpunished.

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