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Ukraine14 January 2004

Online journalist attacked for the second time in less than six months

The editor of an online newspaper, Oleg Eltsov, was victim of a second attack in less than six months on 12 January when one or two aggressors fired rubber bullets at him close to his home in Kiev before fleeing in a car.

Eltsov, editor-in-chief of Ukraïna Kryminalna, was hit in the leg and body but was not seriously injured.

"The number of assaults against journalists continues to rise alarmingly. We urge you to personally ensure that everything is done to find and punish those responsible," said Reporters Without Borders and the Ukrainian press freedom organisation, the Institute of Mass Media, in a letter to interior minister, Mykola Bilokin.

Eltsov was previously attacked on 24 July 2003 as he left his home. A police investigation produced no results but Eltsov believed the attack was linked to information on the Gongadze case which he received from a former police criminal investigator, Igor Gontcharov. The officer was arrested in June 2002 for his suspected role in several murders and he died in prison in dubious circumstances on 1 August 2003.

A key witness in the Gongadze case, Gontcharov had accused police and ranking interior ministry officials of being responsible for the murder of Géorgiy Gongadze, political journalist and editor in chief of the online newspaper, who disappeared in 2000 and was later found dead.

Under Eltsov’s editorship Ukraïna Kryminalna, frequently posts exposés about corruption, implicating top officials and politicians.

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Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
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Three former policemen convicted of Gongadze murder but instigators have yet to identified
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