OSCE office in USA appealed to management to protect journalist Semena

Дата: 16 February 2017
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The Permanent Mission of the United States to the OSCE addressed in the written form to the heads of several structures of the organization, insisting that they must take control over the trial of Ukrainian journalist Mykola Semena.

As stated in the letter of Kate Marie Byrnes, the Deputy Chief of U.S. Mission to the OSCE, addressed to Ertuğrul Apakan, the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, Michael Georg Link, the Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and Dunja Mijatović, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, dated February 15.

Evropeiska Pravda (European Truth) had the opportunity to get acquainted with the letter through the representatives of the diplomatic corps.

“Civil society organizations urged the international community to monitor this trial. United States of America considers that the OSCE must respond to this call”, – said in a letter of the U.S. Diplomatic Mission.

“We appeal to you as the heads of the OSCE missions, responsible for monitoring the human rights situation in Ukraine and institutes that focus on human rights and fundamental freedoms to coordinate efforts and facilitate the monitor of the trial against Mr. Semena”, – insists the U.S. official representative.

The letter contains a reminder that Mykola Semena was arrested for “undermining the integrity of the Russian Federation in the mass media outlets” and as a result faces imprisonment for a term of 5 years.

The document, which represents the U.S. position, also noted that the accusations against Semena were interposed by “Russian occupying power” and journalist was known for his articles “criticizing the de facto government of Crimea and Russian occupation”.

As a reminder, on February 15, twenty seven human rights organizations, united in the Civic Solidarity Platform, expressed their support for the Crimean journalist Mykola Semena, who faces imprisonment for five years for daring to express his opinion.

Authors of the statement remind that trial of Crimean journalist Mykola Semena will begin on February 17. He will be tried for courage to publicly express his opinion, which is contrary to the Kremlin’s policy. His publications on Radio Liberty on the situation in Crimea entailed anger of the Russian authorities. He was charged with calls for the violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation through the means of mass media. He is facing imprisonment for a term of five years.

As a reminder, in spring, massive searches took place in Crimea, including in the independent journalists who are suspected of collaboration with Krym.Realii. A criminal case was opened with respect to the Radio Liberty’s author Mykola Semena on suspicion of threatening the territorial integrity of Russia. Russian investigation forbade him to leave the peninsula. 

On August 23, his defense submitted a request to FSB to allow Semena to leave Crimea for medical treatment.

Previously International and European Federation of Journalists, as well as the OSCE Representative on Freedom of Speech, also had requested to allow the journalist to get medical treatment in Kyiv.

Crimean department of FSB refused to satisfy the request of the journalist.

On November 28, Semena could not visit Brussels to receive the European Prize for the freedom of speech named after Pavlo Sheremet because of the ban on travel outside Crimea.

On January 20, Semena was presented an indictment in the case of separatism under the Article 280.1 of the Criminal Code of Russia (Public appeals for the performance of extremist activity). Lawyer Kurbedinov stated that the indictment was presented in violation of the Criminal-Procedural Code: document must have been presented by representative of Prosecutor’s Office, while the indictment was presented in the administrative building by FSB investigator Oleksandr Parshutin.

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