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Beaten Ukraine journalist says attack revenge for work

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Prominent Ukrainian journalist Tetyana Chornovol, who was brutally beaten this week, said Friday that she had been attacked as revenge following her investigative work on President Viktor Yanukovych and other top officials.

In an interview from her hospital bed to the pro-opposition television Channel 5, she said that the attack "had not been by accident", after her investigation of the luxury residences of Ukraine's political elite.

Chornovol, who participated in protests against Yanukovych, appeared in the interview with a broken nose and still unable to open one eye.

She said she had been followed overnight Tuesday by assailants "in a black luxury jeep" after spending the day taking photographs of the residencies of Interior Minister Vitali Zakharchenko and Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka.

"I was returning to my village (on the outskirts of the capital Kiev). When I saw this car, I decided to go back to the Maidan in Kiev," she said, referring to the Ukrainian name for Independence Square, the hub of the anti-government protests for over a month.

At that time, the vehicle which was chasing her began to push her car off the road.

"When you are struck by a luxury car, you understand that a price has been put on your life," she said.

The passengers of the jeep "broke a window in my car. I tried to run away, but they caught me and hit my head."

"They hit me many times on the head and in the face. I was sure that they wanted to kill me."

She said the attack could be "revenge" for how she had during a recent opposition protest damaged a special services car to remove its "illegal recordings."

Chornovol, who has published several investigations about Yanukovych's "illegally privatised" luxurious Mezhygirya residence, also said in her interview that she had recently discovered a new dwelling place of the president.

The brutality against Chornovol, who is also at the forefront of the pro-European protests against Yanukovych, has prompted an uproar in Ukraine and abroad.

The opposition has called for a new Sunday protest rally and hopes to organise a march on Yanukovych's heavily-guarded Mezhygirya residence on the banks of the Dnipro River around 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Kiev.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131227/beaten-ukraine-journalist-says-attack-revenge-work