This posting is an important update by the Committee to protect journalists and the freedom of the press worldwide:
New York, Feb 16, 2017–Authorities in Crimea need to immediately drop all charges towards Mykola (Nikolai) Semena and allow the particular journalist to work unobstructed, the Panel to Protect Journalists said today. An initial hearing in Semena’s trial upon charges of separatism is planned for tomorrow, according to his employer .
Semena, a contributor to Krym. Realii (Crimea Realities), the local service from the U. S. -government-funded Radio Totally free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), faces as much as five years in prison upon charges of making “calls to motion aimed at violating the territorial condition of the Russian Federation, ” regarding the an article he wrote in 2015, according to their employer . Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
“Criticizing authorities is not the crime, ” CPJ’s Europe plus Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “Security services ought to stop harassing journalists in Crimea, and should drop all charges towards Mykola (Nikolai) Semena. ”
The Zheleznodorozhny District Courtroom in Simferopol, the Crimean local capital, is expected to begin listening to the journalist’s case tomorrow, RFE/RL reported . Semena has been subject to a take a trip ban since Russian Federal Protection Service (FSB) officers briefly held him in April 2016, carrying out a raid of his home. The particular journalist suffers from heart problems, but authorities in Simferopol have denied their appeals to be allowed to travel to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, for surgery, based on the news website Detector .
In a September 2016 statement , RFE/RL President Thomas Kent called the situation against Semena “part of a concerted effort by Russian and Russian-backed authorities to obstruct RFE/RL’s journalistic mission to provide an independent press in order to residents of Crimea. ” The prior month, RFE/RL reported that online users in some parts of Crimea were unable to reach Krym. Realii ‘s website.
In the January 24 statement regarding the damage of media freedom and journalists’ safety in conflict zones in Ukraine, OSCE Representative on Freedom from the Media Dunja Mijatovic demanded that accusations against Semena be lowered.
Crimean journalists exiled in Kiev in July 2015 told CPJ that harassment plus politicized prosecutions have effectively silenced critical reporting or commentary in the area.
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