Top OSCE official called upon Ukrainian authorities to properly investigate the case of head of RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency, Kirill Vyshinsky. The journalist has been detained for six months on “high treason” accusations.
The case of Vyshinsky must be properly investigated, Harlem Désir, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, said on Monday, expressing hope that the journalists extended detention was about to end.
“I hope that Kirill Vyshinskys pre-trial detention will not be further extended and will therefore end on 4 November 2018,” Désir said. “I call on the Ukrainian authorities to expedite the investigation on the serious charges brought against Vyshinsky, and to conduct such an investigation in full compliance with the principles of rule of law, necessity and proportionality.”
Any fight against “propaganda” cannot be used as a pretext to suppress dissent and damage the freedom of press, Désir warned the Kiev authorities. “Journalists have the right to freely express views and opinions, including dissenting views, and to report on issues that could be considered controversial, sensitive or offensive. Under no circumstances should they be targeted in retaliation for their journalistic work,” he said.
The journalist was detained by Ukraines Security Service (SBU) on May 15 and been remained in jail since then. Ukrainian authorities accuse Vyshinsky of supporting the self-proclaimed rebel republics of Lugansk and Donetsk, which, according to them, amounts to “high treason.” Apart from that, while already in jail the journalist was accused of unlawful possession of a firearm.
Vyshinskys detention has been repeatedly prolonged, despite his deteriorating health. The whole affair has drawn criticism from numerous international humanitarian and journalist organizations, who accused Kiev authorities of targeting him only for doing his job.
The case has also drew ire of Russia, since Vyshinsky holds dual Russian and Ukrainian citizenship. Moscow has previously accused Kiev of violating the journalists rights by forbidding him to meet with Russian consular workers. Vyshinsky has even called upon President Petro Poroshenko to strip him of his Ukrainian citizenship, a request that was denied.
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