Activists hold rally near Russian Embassy in Kyiv, demanding to close criminal cases against Ukrainian journalists
Non-governmental organizations held a rally near the premises of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Ukraine against repressions of Russian government against the Ukrainian journalists.
The action is dedicated to the International Day of Fight Against Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, the Human Rights Information Centre reports.
The main requirement of the rally participants was to release from prison Ukrinform correspondent Roman Sushchenko and to close criminal cases against Crimean journalists, primarily, against Mykola Semena, who is now in Crimea and can not go to the mainland because of a written undertaking not to leave. The action participants also called for closing the criminal cases against Crimean journalists Andriy Klymenko and Hanna Andriyevska, who moved to Kyiv from Crimea.
The action took place in the form of performance. People in masks of Putin showed the Russian arbitrary justice, which is the instrument of fight of authorities against all the undesirable persons.
Chairwoman of the Center for Civil Liberties Oleksandra Matviychuk, speaking at the event, noted that the Russian authorities had already put repressions against the Ukrainian journalists on conveyor. She recalled that the Russian State Duma of Russia had adopted the amendments to the Criminal Code immediately after the occupation of Crimea to sentence all those who disagree with the annexation of Crimea to five years in a prison.
Chairwoman of the Board of the Human Rights Information Centre Tetiana Pechonchyk informed that there were cases when even those journalists who supported the annexation of Crimea, were persecuted. They began to criticize the government and two of them were prosecuted. She urged the international community to seek to close all criminal cases against Ukrainian journalists.
The rally was attended by Ukrinform news agency representative Maryna Synhayivska, Den newspaper representative Olha Kharchenko, Crimean journalist Hanna Andriyevska, whom a criminal case was initiated against.
Maryna Synhayivska called on the international and Ukrainian journalists to show solidarity.
“I was shocked at the conversation with the journalist of one of the world’s media, who answered at our request to write an article about Roman Sushchenko: ‘We are not interested. It was interesting after he was just arrested. We will write about it later, when the court hearings will be held. Just talking about Roman is not interesting, because this is a problem of Russia and Ukraine.’ But each of us, being on the territory of Russia, can be arrested under any pretext, as it happened with Roman,” she said. Maryna Synhayivska urged the colleagues to ask Putin one question at all the press conferences: “When will you release the illegally detained journalists?”
“We have no other choice. Either we stand in solidarity and fight for liberation of our colleagues, or we subject ourselves to this same danger and lose the fundamental rights and freedoms,” she added.
The rally was coordinated by the Human Rights Information Centre and the Centre for Civil Liberties.
As a reminder, Russia opened criminal cases against four Ukrainian journalists. Mykola Semena is in Crimea on written undertaking not to leave the territory. He faces five years in prison for allegedly inciting to violate Russian territorial integrity with use of the media. The Russian authorities do not allow him to go for treatment.
Ukrinform correspondent Roman Sushchenko was arrested in Moscow, where he arrived on a private trip. He is accused of spying against Russia, despite the fact that he has been working in France in last few years. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
Criminal proceedings were instituted against two other Crimean journalists, Andriy Klymenko and Hanna Andriyevska, who are now in Kyiv.