This issue of our updates covers:

- Case against Shabunin brought to trial. Public reactions;
- Court of appeal confirmed permission for the Security Service management to classify their e-declarations.

Case Against Shabunin Brought To Trial


A trial of Vitaliy Shabunin, Head of the Board of the Anti-corruption Action Centre, is to start next week. Olena Kozachuk, judge of Dniprovskyi Disctrict Court is to hear the case.

The first hearing is to be held on January 30, 2018, at 2:30 pm at the address: Kyiv, 5, Koshytsia Street, office 103.

If Shabunin is found 'guilty' he may face 5 years in prison.

He is charged with punching Filimonenko, the assistant to a Radical Party MP Melnychuk. The incident happened on June 8, 2017 near Dniprovskyi Military Commissariat in Kyiv. Filimonenko calls himself a journalist, but he is better known for his provocative videos, than for journalist publications. It can be seen in the published video, that the so-called “journalist” provoked Shabunin, and the latter punched Filimonenko’s face for having earlier insulted his colleague Oleksandra Ustinova after she was driven to tears. In a few minutes after being punched Filimonenko refused from medical treatment of the ambulance, and safe and sound continued his provocations - ran to Shabunin and sprayed in his face.

The evidences, collected in the case, specifically medical examination results, contain a lot of mistakes and mismatches.

Vitaliy Shabunin is charged with infliction of medium grave bodily injury on a journalist – part 2 of article 345-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. “Political motivation of the case is clear, – says Daria Kaleniuk, AntAC CEO and lawyer. The case is grounded on allegedly falsified medical examination of Filimonenko, who we believe was not severely injured. We have submitted a crime report to the police to investigate the alleged falsification, however the case is stalled. While we observe rapid advance of the case against Shabunin in which the medical examination is the core evidence”, – she adds.

For instance, according to the medical examination – the fracture of the wall of the Maxillary sinus, mentioned by the prosecutors, was discovered by the doctors as late as 12 days after the incident. Moreover, the fracture was registered on the opposite side – not the one that was hit – as it can be bee seen on the video.

It is worth noting that since the investigation started, the prosecution has several times changed its point of view on the correct qualification of the case. All in all, 7.5 months passed since the beginning of the investigation (June 8), 5 months passed since the first note of suspicion was handed to Shabunin (August 16). First, the activist was incriminated a crime under part 2 of article 345-1 (violence against a journalist), but after the public criticism of journalists – the prosecution changed their mind and notified of suspicion under part 1 of article 122 (medium grave bodily injury). 5 months later, the crime qualification was changed to the battery of a journalist.

According to the court order, 10 investigators were working on the case.

It is a notable point that other cases of assault and battery of journalists are investigated by the law enforcement without any results. Few of the cases are submitted for trial. In particular, after the Revolution of Dignity, only 4 verdicts were passed under article 345-1, which is incriminated to Shabunin. Two cases ended in settlement agreement, while in the third case the accused was released and got a suspended sentence.

Vitaliy admits his guilt for punching another person and is ready to face responsibility for his conduct, however not for the conduct which is invented  by prosecutors based on the falsified evidence. 

We ask our international partners for a close attention to this case, which we consider as part of systemic planned attacks on AntAC. More details about other attacks are available here.

Public reactions to #ShabuninCase

RPR calls on the authorities to stop political persecution of the Chairman of the Board of the Anticorruption Action Center.

Joint statement of mass media regarding change of charged within the criminal proceedings against Vitaliy Shabunin 

“Case against Shabunin” Gets “Evil Innovation” Nomination in the Matter of Investigating Crimes against Journalists - National Union of Journalists of Ukraine 

Petition of the Human Rights Agenda regarding the re-classification of the criminal case against the head of the AntAC Vitaliy Shabunin as “assault on a member of the press”. The petition was co-signed by 43 CSOs. 

Denys Bigus, investigative journalist,, says: "When in 2015 son-in-law of the deputy Minister of Interior with his mates robbed our film crew and beat the operator, I had almost no doubts that we will kick off the practice of bringing to liability for attacking a journalist. So far Ukraine had no precedents of convictions for interference with the journalists' professional activities. In the case of attacking Nadiya Burdey and Mykhailo Shelest everything was obvious... "

However, the case stalled. "Given this I would easily believe that in Ukraine nobody would ever be brought to justice for attacking journalists. But the very thing that Shabunin will be 'pioneering' for punching... I am not ready to call Filimonenko a journalist... - even very pessimistic myself couldn't have imagined it. Particularly I am angry not even with the fact that today Shabunin's case was re-qualified to “intentional infliction of bodily injuries of moderate severity” (five years in prison) - but the fact that there were no injuries at all. Whether you call Filimonenko a journalist or not". Full text.

Lesia Matviychuk, human rights defender, head of the Centre for Civic Liberties, Ukrainian Emerging Leader: "On October 11, 2017 the law enforcement agencies searched the office and seized the documents of the Patients of Ukraine.

Together with the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS they are accused in embezzlement of money of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as well as in financing the so-called LNR/DNR. The Fund regularly audits the organization and has no complaints to its work. Patients of Ukraine are know for their courageous fight against corruption in the healthcare sector. 

On December 18, 2017 AutoMaidan activists were handed notices of suspicion in the criminal case. Three eggs thrown at the MP Oleg Barna were qualified by the prosecution as battery. Though at maximum it can be considered as an disorderly conduct - not at all as multiple beatings - Sergiy Hadzhynov, Oleg Pushak and Bogdan Melnyk may face from 4 to 7 years in prison. The proceeding intensified right after December motorcade "A Blanket for the Prosecutor General" near Lutsenko's house. Barna informed that he did not appeal to the law enforcement agencies. This extremely complicated case is investigated by 15 officers. 

On January 18, AntAC head of board Vitaliy Shabunin was served a notice of re-qualification of the incident of June 8, 2017. Then during a verbal conflict he punched Vsevolod Filimonenko, an aide to an MP. Previously incriminated part 2 of article 122 of the Criminal Code (medium grave bodily injury) was changed to part 2 of article 345-1 of the Criminal Code (threat or violence against a journalist). Video of the incident gives a clear understanding that the conflict was caused by personal reasons and is not related to Vsevolod's professional activity. The case is investigated by 10 officers. 

More than 2 year long defamation campaign against Vitaliy Shabunin and other empolyees of the AntAC for investigation of corruption actions of top officials raises questions not only regarding professionalism of the law enforcement officers, but also regarding political grounds of case re-qualification. Vitaliy recognizes that he punched a person and is ready to hold responsibility "for this and only for this - not for what is made up by the prosecution". 

I will leave behind the brackets small revenge in the form of "Chornovol's amendment" on submission of annual electronic asset declarations by the anticorruption activists, six attempts to water down anticorruption legislation, adopted after the Revolution of Dignity, permanent attacks on NABU, physical attacks on activists in regions and a lot more." Source

Court of Appeal Allowed Classification of
E-Declarations of the Security Service Officials

On January 25 Kyiv court of appeal confirmed a decision of the first instance court allowing the Security Service of Ukraine to classify e-declarations of their staff. This includes senior officials, who are public figures. Moreover, the SBU has launched its own closed system of e-declarations. 

This may be a dangerous precedent as the court decision justifies assets of all staff members of investigation, intelligence and counterintelligence bodies to be secret. This may allow a number of other state agencies, as the National Police, Prosecutor General’s Office, State Fiscal Service, NABU, etc., part of whose personnel does investigation or intelligence to establish their own declaration systems for management as well as all other staff members and ignore public register of e-declarations. 

We will apply for cassation to the Supreme Court. Background details

Notification: The detention of a family member of AntAC lawyer on January 25 is not related to our watchdogging activities. More details

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