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Issue #1649      July 30, 2014

Ukrainian army tortures journalists

A journalist released from the ANNA news agency, who was captured along with RT contributor Graham Phillips, told RT that they were abducted by the Ukrainian army and tortured and beaten. Phillips’ fate remains unknown.

ANNA news agency cameraman, Vadim Aksyonov, has been released while RT contributor Graham Phillips, a UK national, is being held captive, ANNA news told RT.

According to the ANNA news press service, Aksyonov who was released in “terrible state” as he hasn’t slept for a day and was tortured. The journalist told how he and his colleague Phillips were detained.

“We were captured in [Donetsk] airport. Graham [Phillips] ran to the parking lot, I ran after him. Then we were taken by people with guns. I saw the official army insignia before they put bags on our heads,” Aksyonov told RT.

When they were taken to the cells near a checkpoint, they were tortured and beaten, he added. “At first we were kept together, then separately. I heard him [Phillips] screaming from pain and he heard me screaming, too,” he said. According to Aksyonov, their captors then took them to another location. He overheard that Phillips was dropped in the city of Krasnoarmeisk, in the Donetsk Region of eastern Ukraine.

Aksyonov thinks that Phillips might be taken to either Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, or Zaporizhie, a city in southern Ukraine which borders on the Donetsk Region, or to the city of Uzhhorod in western Ukraine. The agency still hasn’t revealed the fate of two other hostages – an employee of the press service of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, and possibly an acquaintance of Phillips, who accompanied the journalist to the airport.

Phillips has been reporting about developments in Ukraine for several months now. According to research from Brandwatch social networks monitor, he has become the most popular author in Twitter reporting on the situation in Ukraine.

Seven journalists have also been killed while covering the unrest in eastern Ukraine – making it the deadliest country for journalists this year, according to UN statistics.

In June, a Russian cameraman from Channel One TV, Anatoly Klyan, was shot by Kiev forces in Donetsk. Also in June, Rossiya TV journalist Igor Kornelyuk and his colleague, sound engineer Anton Voloshin, were killed in shelling near Lugansk.

In May, Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian interpreter Andrey Mironov were killed when they were caught in a mortar attack close to the village of Andreevka, a couple of kilometres from Slavyansk.

Russian journalists have been captured by Kiev’s forces throughout the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

In June, journalists from Russia’s Zvezda TV channel spent two days in captivity, after being detained by the Ukrainian National Guard.

In May, two LifeNews journalists were taken hostage for two days by the National Guard, prompting an online #SaveOurGuys campaign.


Next article – Calls for urgent National Conference – Statement Iraqi Communist Party

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