Mykola Semena calls on OSCE to create legal body to protect civil liberties, human rights in Crimea

Дата: 23 September 2016
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Crimean journalist Mykola Semena, a defendant in a criminal case over alleged incitement to violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, has addressed the participants in the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Forum in Warsaw.

The statement was read out by Semena’s lawyer Alexander Popkov during the event of the Human Rights Information Centre, dedicated to freedom of speech in Crimea, which was held within the Forum today.

In his statement, Semena cited numerous cases of arbitrariness of the Russian authorities in Crimea.

The criminal case against me and the cases against my colleagues are only part of a broad process of Russia’s offensive on the rights of civil society and human rights in Crimea. In the country, where the political opposition is forcibly destroyed, the methods of violent suppression of civil liberties are being tested in Crimea,” the statement reads.

Mykola Semena believes that “the arbitrary repressive system in Crimea should be stopped.” However, he stresses that “this will not happen without international legal monitoring of the progress of our cases and the legal situation in Crimea.”

Ukraine‘s abilities to protect its citizens in Crimea are limited by Russian military presence and the fact that human rights activists are banned from entering the peninsula. Moreover, the depth of Russian reprisals has reached such a level that only broad international solidarity of human rights defenders could confront them. Establishment of an international legal body to protect civil liberties and human rights in Crimea, which would monitor all the political processes, render legal support to the repressed activists, take part in trials, inform the world community information of all violations of human rights and civil liberties, would be effective. I am confident that by acting together we will succeed in defending the human rights of Crimean people and their civil liberties.”

April 19, FSB raided a number of premises of Crimean journalists. The criminal proceeding was launched against Mykola Semena for alleged incitement to violation of territorial integrity of the Russian Federation with the use of the media. The case was initiated after his articles had been published on the site of Crimea.Realities project of the Radio Liberty. He faces up to five years in prison.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expressed concern about the persecution of Ukrainian citizens in the annexed Crimea, in particular of journalist Mykola Semena and urged to stop pressure on him.

August 23, the lawyer of Mykola Semena called on the FSB to allow him leaving Crimea for treatment.

September 22, Crimean department of the Russian Federal Security Service rejected a motion, filed by lawyer of Crimean journalist Mykola Semena with a request to allow him leaving to Kyiv for treatment.

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