Vi­taly Shabunin

Kyiv Post - - Opinion - – Oleg Sukhov

Kyiv po­lice on Aug. 16 handed Vi­taly Shabunin, the head of the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Ac­tion Cen­ter’s ex­ec­u­tive board, a no­tice of sus­pi­cion, ac­cus­ing him of as­sault­ing jour­nal­ist and ac­tivist Vsevolod Fil­imo­nenko. If con­victed, Shabunin faces up to three years in prison.

On June 8, Fil­imo­nenko ap­proached Shabunin when un­known peo­ple served him sum­mons to a mil­i­tary en­list­ment of­fice, in what Shabunin deemed to be ha­rass­ment by the gov­ern­ment. Shabunin then hit Fil­imo­nenko in the face, say­ing that it was pay­back for Fil­imo­nenko in­sult­ing Olek­san­dra Usti­nova, an ex­pert at the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Ac­tion Cen­ter, and mak­ing her cry. Sub­se­quently Fil­imo­nenko at­tacked Shabunin with pep­per spray.

Shabunin’s lawyers ar­gue that medics had ini­tially found no in­juries, and Fil­imo­nenko’s in­juries were recorded only two weeks af­ter the June 8 in­ci­dent in what they sus­pect to be a fal­si­fied ex­am­i­na­tion.

Mean­while, Rean­i­ma­tion Pack­age of Re­forms ex­pert Olek­sandr Le­menov has ac­cused Fil­imo­nenko of ex­tor­tion and hav­ing links to Krem­lin-backed sep­a­ratists and ex-Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych’s Party of Re­gions, claims that Fil­imo­nenko de­nies.

The Anti-Cor­rup­tion Ac­tion Cen­ter and other anti-cor­rup­tion ac­tivists see the case as part of what they see as a cam­paign by Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko to in­tim­i­date and weaken civil so­ci­ety. Ukraine’s no­to­ri­ously cor­rupt tax po­lice opened a crim­i­nal case against the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Ac­tion Cen­ter in early Au­gust.

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