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Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet killed in car blast in Ukraine

People hold national falgs of Belarus and Ukraine and portraits of journalist Pavel Sheremet who was killed by a car bomb, during a memorial ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine, 20 July 2016
People hold national falgs of Belarus and Ukraine and portraits of journalist Pavel Sheremet who was killed by a car bomb, during a memorial ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine, 20 July 2016

REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

This statement was originally published on baj.by on 20 July 2016.

On Wednesday morning, journalist Pavel Sheremet died in a car blast, reports Ukrainska Pravda.

The car blew up on the corner of Bogdan Khmelnitskij and Ivana Franka street. The car belongs to Alena Prytula, head of Ukrainska Pravda, but she wasn't in the car.

The blast occurred at 7:45 am, when Pavel drove away from home several dozen meters.

***

Pavel Sheremet was assassinated on the morning of July 20 in Kyiv. The prosecutor general of Ukraine Yury Lutsenka reported that an explosive device had been found in the car wreckage.

The Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine will initiate setting up a special investigation group, reports Radio Svaboda.

The Belarusian Association of Journalists deplores the tragic death of Pavel Sheremet, who has been member of BAJ since 1997.

***

Pavel Sheremet was born in Minsk on November 28, 1971. He came to journalism from the banking sphere, first as a consultant of economy programs for Belarusian TV. He was anchor of a weekly analytical program Prospekt on the BT. In 1996 Sheremet became editor-in-chief of the Belarusian newspaper Belarusskaya Delovaya Gazeta and simultaneously started work for the Russian public television company ORT as chief of its bureau in Minsk.

On 22 July 1997, Sheremet, along with a team of ORT cameraman and their drivers, filmed himself crossing illegally from Belarus to Lithuania and back again to show the ease with which smugglers could cross the border. Sheremet and his colleague Dmitry Zavadsky were charged with illegal border crossing, "exceeding their professional rights as journalists", and participating in a conspiracy. On 18 January 1998, Sheremet was sentenced to two years' suspended term and one trial year. Pavel Sheremet spent three months in prison during the investigation. Further, Sheremet's partner and former co-defendant Dmitry Zavadsky was abducted on July 7, 2000, failing to arrive for a meeting at the Minsk airport with Sheremet.

In 2010, Pavel Sheremet was deprived of Belarusian citizenship, having obtained the Russian one.

For the last ten years, Pavel Sheremet contributed to several Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian mass media, including ORT, Ren-TV, Ogonek, Ukrainska Pravda, Vesti; from time to time he worked as an expert for TV Dozhd, newspaper Vedomosti, news website Slon etc.

Pavel Sheremet was founder of the website Belaruspartisan and a co-founder of the popular science website Istoricheskaya Pravda.

For the last five years, Pavel Sheremet lived in Kyiv. Friends report he is to be buried in Minsk.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
What other IFEX members are saying
  • Journalist Pavel Sheremet killed in Ukraine car bombing

    "We honored Pavel Sheremet in 1998 with an International Press Freedom Award in recognition of his courage, his integrity, and his commitment to the highest ideals of journalism," CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. "He upheld those standards through his years even as he mentored and inspired a generation of journalists in Ukraine. His killers cannot be allowed to get away with this terrible crime."

  • Well-known journalist killed by car bomb

    It is not clear whether Sheremet was the bomb’s target because the car belonged to his partner, Ukrayinska Pravda owner Olena Prytula. The site is well known for being independent and for investigating corruption and other sensitive subjects. It had already paid a high price for its commitment to media freedom because its founder, Georgiy Gongadze, was murdered in 2000.

  • Ukraine: journalist killed in bomb blast

    IFJ President Philippe Leruth said: “This is a contemptible murder. The authorities must now act swiftly and efficiently to bring the killers to justice. There can be no more impunity for the killing of journalists. Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Pavel and to all journalists in the region. We will do everything we can to ensure this senseless killing does not go unpunished”.

  • Prominent journalist killed in car bombing in Ukraine

    The International Press Institute (IPI) today strongly condemned the killing of a prominent journalist in a car bombing in downtown Kiev this morning in what Ukrainian authorities have preliminarily called a “premeditated murder”.Pavel Sheremet, a Belarus-born Russian journalist who had been working in Ukraine for the past five years at news site Ukrainska Pravda and at Radio Vesti, was driving to work in the car of his partner, Ukrainska Pravda founding editor Olena Prytula, when it exploded in an intersection at approximately 7:45 a.m.Sheremet was alone in the car at the time of the blast. He and Prytula had previously complained to friends about being watched, according to news reports. While both investigative journalists used the vehicle, the explosion took place at a time of day that Sheremet routinely travelled to Radio Vesti. However, colleagues at Ukrainska Pravda speculated that the blast may have been meant for Prytula, as investigative journalists at the outlet have been routinely targeted over the years.Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and other high-ranking government officials took to social media and raised calls for a full, swift investigation and to bring the culprits to justice, a call that IPI echoed.“We are saddened to hear of Mr. Sheremet’s tragic death and we urge authorities not only to conduct a full and swift investigation, but to ensure that it is transparent as well,” IPI Director of Advocacy and Communications Steven M. Ellis said. “Far too may murders of journalists in Ukraine have gone unsolved and unpunished in recent decades. Whether Mr. Sheremet’s killers are brought to justice or enjoy impunity for this heinous act presents an important test for Ukraine in the post-Yanukovych era.”

  • Ukraine: Journalist killed in Kiev car explosion

    “Sheremet’s death is a huge loss and striking reminder that the government needs to respond in the most serious way to threats to media freedom in Ukraine,” said Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Ukrainian authorities should make a prompt and meaningful investigation a priority, considering all the motives for the attack, including Sheremet’s and his partner’s media work.”


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