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Ukraine: Car bomb killing of journalist Pavel Sheremet appalling attack on freedom of expression

Thursday 21 July 2016 - 1:00am

Journalist Pavel Sheremet talks on the air at a radio station in Kiev, Ukraine, October 11, 2015. Picture taken October 11, 2015.   REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko - RTSIT1C

21 July 2016 - Ukrainian authorities must thoroughly, impartially and immediately investigate the murder of award-winning journalist and free speech advocate Pavel Sheremet and bring all perpetrators to justice, PEN International and Ukrainian PEN said today. Sheremet, 44, was killed in central Kiev, the capital city, yesterday (20 July) after an explosive device detonated under the car he was driving.

Sheremet, a Belarusian journalist, who wrote for the independent news website Ukrainska Pravda, was driving to the offices of the independent broadcaster Radio Vesti, where he also hosted a morning radio show, when the car he was driving exploded. Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy V. Lutsenko said that a car bomb had caused the explosion, according to press reports.

‘Ukrainian PEN is deeply shocked and saddened to learn that Pavel Sheremet was killed yesterday by the blast of a bomb placed in his car, while he was on his way to work. We offer our deepest condolences to his family, his friends and his colleagues and call on the authorities to carry out a swift and credible investigation into his killing and bring all perpetrators to justice, wherever they are and whoever they may be,’ said Mykola Riabchuk, President of Ukrainian PEN.

‘The killing of Pavel Sheremet is a reprehensible crime and a despicable attack on freedom of expression,‘ Said Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee. ‘We call on the Ukrainian authorities to do everything in their power to ensure that thisappaling crime does not go unpunished; all those responsible must be brought to justice’.

Whilst writing for Ukrainska Pravda, Sheremet frequently commented on political developments in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. He had recently written about corruption among police in Belarus, alleged corruption among government officials and police in Ukraine, and the work of government propagandists in Russia.