Two years ago, renowned Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed. In that time, little information about the assassination has been uncovered. But some journalists and activists have been conducting their own investigations.
Amidst the flowers, beer and snacks, stands a portrait of Pavel Sheremet. It’s a makeshift memorial for the Belarusian journalist, killed in a car explosion exactly two years ago at the spot. Friends, colleagues and foreign diplomats gathered near the memorial Friday – to honor the award-winning reporter and to demand a full, transparent investigation into his death.
“After two years, there is still no justice for the people who did it. No names. No explanations. We still have five versions just like it was on the first day of Pavel’s murder,” Ukrainian journalist Sevgil Musaieva said.
After two years, it seems to many that journalists and human rights defenders have done more to find the truth, than the authorities.
“I have many questions left regarding the role of the Security Service of Ukraine in this story because a former employee of this body made an appearance on the murder scene. But we don’t know how much of a former employee he is, whether he was let go after the film was published or earlier. We haven’t seen any documents. We do know that sometimes the SBU would confiscate servers with footage to then return them empty so nobody, but the SBU could come in possession of that video,” investigative journalist Anna Babinets said.
A documentary, called “Killing Pavel,” exposed major flaws in the investigation. Anna Babinets was one of the main figures behind the project.
“I think our film, when we made it public, provided some information that was new to them, and some new material to work with. Whether the police made full use of it, is hard for me to say at this time because I don’t think I know all the details…….. unfortunately, as journalists we couldn’t obtain more information, as we weren’t in a position to demand it, we could only ask for information. I think there was much scope for further inquiry: to identify those people seen near Pavel’s house; who are they and why were they there?,” Babinets asked.
Sheremet was renowned for his investigative reporting into corruption and other sensitive issues – something which didn’t always sit well with the authorities. From 2012, he worked for independent online media outlet Ukrainkaya Pravda and as a presenter at the Vesti radio station. But he was also an inspiration for new journalists.
“He was part of the journalistic community here. He was a mentor to many younger journalists and so he- besides having a great taste in music – was a warm and funny person and then a real professional who cared about his craft as a journalist and did what he could to mentor and bring up a new generation of honest journalists,” Deputy Chief of the US Mission in Ukraine George Kent said.
It’s hoped the new generation of journalists will one day find the truth.