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Tetyana Chernovil, known for investigations into government corruption, pulled from car and beaten by several men

  Protesters hold images depicting the badly beaten face of Ukrainian journalist Tetyana Chornovil during a protest in front of the interior ministry building in Kiev yesterday.  Photograph:  Sergey Dolzhenko/EPAProtesters hold images depicting the badly beaten face of Ukrainian journalist Tetyana Chornovil during a protest in front of the interior ministry building in Kiev yesterday. Photograph: Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA

Fri, Dec 27, 2013, 01:00

Yesterday morning, the streets of Kiev were plastered with images of a young woman’s bruised and swollen face. The almost unrecognisable photograph was of Tetyana Chernovil, a journalist known for her investigations into government corruption, who was in intensive care yesterday preparing for a series of operations to repair her face, shattered in a beating by unknown assailants.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the interior ministry headquarters, accusing authorities of ordering police officers to carry out the attack.

“It is a shame to beat women on the head,” the crowd chanted. “Zakharchenko is an executioner. He should resign,” others cried, referring to the interior minister, Vitaly Zakharchenko – reviled by the opposition activists who for the past month have led hundreds thousands of Ukrainians in protest against the Russian-allied government.

Chernovil (34) has been badly disfigured by the assault. Her colleagues at the Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper recount Chernovil’s description of how her attackers chased her before beating her up in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Driving home
Chernovil told police she was driving home when she noticed she was being followed by a dark SUV, which then forced her off the road. Several men jumped out and smashed her rear window, dragged her from the car, beat her and abandoned her in a ditch, a police statement said.

“It is scary and very sad to see what they have done to Tetyana,” said Chernovil’s friend and colleague Maria Lebedeva.

Chernovil was known for her investigations and protests against alleged corruption among senior state officials, including Mr Zakharchenko.

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