: :inin Kyiv (EET)

The International Federation of Journalists demands to release Ukrainian journalists illegally imprisoned in Russia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), human rights groups urge Russian authorities to stop persecuting Ukrainian journalists Mykola Semena and Roman Sushchenko who are are facing jail following charges by the Russian authorities of separatism and espionage, according to EFJ.

The IFJ, EFJ together with Ukrainian affiliates, the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU) and the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), to condemn the persecution of independent media and journalists critical of the authorities of the Russian Federation, especially in the illegally annexed by Russia Crimea.

See also: Number of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia increases – Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mykola Semena and Roman Sushchenko are the members of National Union of Journalists of Ukraine.

“We call on the international community to join us and our affiliates in calling for the fabricated charges against these two journalists to be dropped forthwith,” said IFJ President, Philippe Leruth. “We condemn this campaign of persecution of media and journalists which prohibit them from providing independent information to their citizens and which is contrary to freedom of expression. We also ask the Russian authorities to let Semena be treated in Kiev as a matter of urgency.”

Mykola Semena wrote in September 2015 opposing Russia’s occupation of the Crimean peninsula, was formally indicted for “calling to action aimed at violating the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation” and faces five years in prison if convicted. Mykola Semena’s lawyer, Emil Kuberdinov, was also detained on 26th January, 2017 and questioned by the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation.

“It is not the first time we express concern over Semena’s case,” added EFJ President, Mogens BlicherBjerregård. “His persecution seems to be part of a huge Russian clampdown on independent media in Crimea. We call on Russian authorities to stop silencing journalists in Crimea.”

Roman Sushchenko, a journalist at the Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform was arrested in Moscow on 30th September, 2017 during a private visit to the Russian Federation and charged with spying, which he denies.

“Roman is a respected professional journalist with a strong reputation,” said Sergiy Tomilenko, Acting Chairman of NUJU. “Hopefully widespread attention to the obvious absurdity of the ‘espionage’ case can help free him.”

On 24th January, 2017, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), also condemned such persecution and urged the Russian authorities to drop its charges against the journalist.

See also: Ukraine prepares a report to PACE about illegal detention of Sushchenko and Sentsov in Russia


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