KIEV, December 28 (RIA Novosti) – A Ukrainian court ruled on Saturday to place in pretrial custody five men, accused of beating up a prominent Ukrainian female investigative journalist and activist.
Tatiana Chornovil was driving home at about 1:30 a.m. local time (3:30 a.m. Moscow time) when she noticed she was being followed by a dark-colored SUV, Ukrainian police said.
The car cut off Chornovil’s vehicle and forced her off the side of the road, after which several men jumped out and smashed the journalist’s rear car window, according to the police statement.
Police said the men dragged Chornovil out of her car and brutally beat her before abandoning her in a ditch.
Four suspects were arrested by Friday morning, the Ukrainian foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
The fifth suspect, who already admitted to beating up the journalist, was detained later on Friday and the court held a separate session to decide on whether he should be put in pretrial custody.
The ministry did not elaborate on the possible motive for the attack.
Chernovol, an investigative journalist, blogger and mother of two children, had posted photos of what she alleged was the Ukrainian interior minister’s luxury villa on local web portal Ukrainskaya Pravda hours before the attack.
She also regularly reported on the development of Ukraine’s protest movement that emerged at the end of November after the president suddenly backed out of an association agreement with the European Union, and openly supported the country’s political opposition.
Ukrainian police have initially opened a criminal investigation into the incident for hooliganism, which is punishable by up to four years in prison under Ukrainian law. However, harsher charges of inflicting grievous bodily harm were added later.