Detained Activists in Crimea Released and Receive Warnings
Activist Oleksand Kravchenko, who was detained today in Simferopol, was released from the district police station and received a warning. Polish journalist Tomasz Kułakowski, who was detained by Crimean “self-defense” forces, was released after a verification of his documents.
According to Krym.Realii [Radio Liberty’s Crimean service], Kravchenko said that he was arrested today for displaying Ukrainian symbols, was held for several hours in the district police station, and was interrogated in the Center for Combating Extremism. He also said that he was detained alongside another activist, Leonid Kuzmin, who also came to the Shevchenko monument to speak with reporters. Kuzmin was taken to the district police station and the Center for Combating Extremism as well. The reason for Kuzmin’s detention is not clear because he, unlike Kravchenko, did not have any Ukrainian symbols with him.
“At the Center for Combating Extremism, we were given a warning to be well behaved,” said Kravchenko.
The Crimean Human Rights Field Mission also reported that today in Simferopol, a journalist from the Polish TV channel Polsat News, Tomasz Kułakowski, was detained by Crimean “self-defense” units.
The detention occurred when his crew was recording an interview with activist Oleksandr Kravchenko. Kułakowski was taken to the local police station, but was released after his documents were checked.
On March 9th, at an event in memory of the Ukrainian poet and artist Taras Shevchenko in Simferopol, activists Oleksandr Kravchenko and Veldar Shukurdzhiev and the organizer of the event, Leonid Kuzmin, were detained. Kuzmin was also subsequently fired from the school where he worked as a history teacher.
On March 12th, the court ruled on the punishment for the use of Ukrainian symbols, yellow and blue flags and ribbons, during the event. The activists were sentenced to 40 hours of community service.