New York, August 18, 2010–The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the whereabouts of Vasyl Klymentyev, chief editor and reporter for the Kharkiv-based weekly newspaper Novyi Stil (New Style), who has been missing for a week.
According to local news reports, on August 11, Klymentyev was seen leaving his home in the city of Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine, with an unknown man in a BMW. The reports did not specify who saw Klymentyev that day. He has not been seen or heard from since. The journalist’s girlfriend reported his disappearance to authorities on August 12, Kharkiv regional police said in a statement. On Sunday, investigators with Kharkiv’s Dzerzhinsky District Police Department opened a criminal case classified under the criminal code as “premeditated murder,” the statement said. They have not named any suspects or motives in the case.
Mikhail Dobkin, governor of the Kharkiv region, told journalists that classifying the case as a murder rather than a disappearance allows investigators to use more tools to search for Klymentyev, the Russian service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
Novyi Stil specializes in reporting on corruption in local government and law enforcement, the Ukrainian service of RFE/RL reported. Klymentyev’s deputy, Petr Matviyenko, told
“We are deeply concerned about the well-being of Vasyl Klymentyev and call on the authorities in Kharkiv to carry out a thorough, comprehensive probe into his disappearance,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator
In an interview for the Kyiv-based independent daily Segodnya, Matviyenko said that in 2008 someone had followed Klymentyev in a car that later turned out to have false license plates.
According to the Kyiv-based news agency UNIAN, Kharkiv police announced a reward of 20,000 Ukrainian hryvnas, (about US$2,500) for information that would help locate Klymentyev.