Leonid Kuchma   Letter 24   08-Jul-2001   Ihor Alexandrov's blood on Kuchma's hands
"Reporters Without Borders said violence against journalists in Ukraine is now worse than in any other European country." Associated Press

The way to defeat Leonid Kuchma's war on the press is to guarantee that when any journalist or publisher is persecuted, disappears, dies in a suspicious accident or suicide, or is assaulted or murdered, that the result will be that his or her work receives wide dissemination.  Ukraine's ruling gangsters must learn that attempts to suppress information have the opposite effect of distributing it more widely.  For this reason, if anybody is able to supply copies of Ihor Alexandrov's investigative reporting, they will be published on the Ukrainian Archive web site.  Please write to [email protected]

        08 Jul 2001

Leonid Kuchma, President
vul. Bankivska 11
Kyiv, 252005

Leonid Kuchma:

Your own example demonstrates to the gangsters of Ukraine that journalists can be killed with impunity.  For this reason, the blood of Ihor Alexandrov too is on your hands.  Had George Soros not bought you the Presidency in 1994, Ihor Alexandrov is one among many who might still be alive today.

Lubomyr Prytulak

Ukrainian Television Director Beaten

MOSCOW (AP) A Ukrainian television station director who had been banned from journalism and took his case to an international human rights court was beaten to death by assailants wielding bats, news reports said Saturday.

Ihor Alexandrov was attacked Tuesday at the entrance to his office in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk, the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said.  He died of head injuries after three days in the hospital, Russia's ITAR-Tass and Interfax news agencies reported.

Reporters Without Borders said violence against journalists in Ukraine is now worse than in any other European country.  The group appealed to Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh to take personal control of the investigation into Alexandrov's beating.

The motive for the assault was unclear.

Alexandrov ran the TOR television company in Slavyansk, in the industrial Donetsk region.  In 1998, a local court sentenced him to two years in prison and banned him from working as a journalist for five years allegedly violating laws on campaign coverage, Reporters Without Borders said in a statement.  He was acquitted last year after a legal battle that included taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

Human rights groups have expressed increasing concern about journalists in Ukraine following the death last fall of Heorhiy Gongadze, an Internet journalist who criticized the nation's leadership and crusaded against corruption.  His headless body was found a few weeks after his disappearance, which prompted months of protests and accusations that President Leonid Kuchma and his aides were involved.  Kuchma denies the claim.

AP-NY-07-07-01 1325EDT

The original of the above article can be found online on the The Associated Press web site at www.newsday.com/ap/international/ap814.htm