Russia refused Dunja Mijatovic to visit Sushchenko

Дата: 02 December 2016
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Russian Federation refused the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic to visit the detained journalist of the “Ukrinform” Roman Sushchenko in Moscow. Russia argued that OSCE lacks appropriate powers. 

It was stated in the last regular report of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic to the Permanent Council, “Ukrinform” wrote. 

“On November 11, I received a response from the government, which stated that the case (Roman Sushchenko case – ed.) falls outside my mandate,” – Mijatovic wrote in the report. 

According to her, Russians called the detention of Sushchenko “does not relate to his professional activity” and assured that the journalist receives all the procedural powers under the criminal law. 

Mijatovic wrote that on November 3 she repeatedly appealed to the Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a demand to visit “a single foreign journalist who is under arrest in the OSCE region and the only foreign journalist arrested in Russia”. She also expressed her readiness to meet with relevant officials to discuss issues related to the freedom of speech. 

The “Ukrinform” correspondent in France Roman Sushchenko was arrested on September 30 in Moscow while being on a private visit. 

He was accused of spying for the Central Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. The latter one denied these allegations.

After a closed hearing on October 1, the court decided to arrest him for two months until November 30. In the contradiction with the international norms and bilateral agreements between Ukraine and Russia, Sushchenko was denied basic rights, i.e. to meet with a lawyer and a Ukrainian consul

On October 7, the investigation charged him with the espionage. 

Only on October 10, the Ukrainian consul was able to meet with Sushchenko in Lefortovo prison in Moscow. 

Ukrainian NGOs believe that the arrest of Sushchenko should be regarded as an attack on the freedom of expression, and urged the Ukrainian government and the international community to protect Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and in occupied Crimea. 

Sushchenko’s defense is trying to recognize him as a political prisoner.

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