There is no freedom of speech in Ukraine!
Today in Ukraine prevails propaganda times. All media are controlled by political forces or business structures. All of them work exclusively on the interest of their owners. Under such conditions – there is absolutely no truth.
Any journalist who tries to bring the truth to the general public is immediately accused of betrayal, terrorism, separatism. These articles do not provide for release on bail, house arrest or bailment. Journalists are solely held in jail under guard without an alternative measure of restraint.
Court proceedings dragged on for several years without the possibility to reach the appeal. The journalistic board immediately ignores the political prisoners of the regime and does not spread the problem through the media!
That`s why our Public organization “Coordination Freedom of Speech Center” one of its tasks puts the protection of political, economic and social rights of Ukrainian citizens guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine and international legal acts that relate to human rights and citizens, ratified by the State of Ukraine.
In Ukraine political repressions are carried out in relation to journalists that are in opposition to the authorities, so-called special “political articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine”, such as 110 (treason), 258-3 (creation or assistance of a terrorist organization), 109 (change of territorial integrity), and others are applied to them. These articles do not provide another measure of restraint besides detention in prison, so people sit in prisons on absolutely absurd charges, and await the decisions of the courts for YEARS, which the prosecution maximally drags out. Thus the government imprisons discordant oppositional journalists for years, and in this way, intimidates others.
We draw the attention of the European public and the press to blatant violations of human rights, of journalists and writers in particular, to the infringement of freedom of speech and in the press, which are pronounced in the following cases:
Ruslan Kotsaba, a journalist, was recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience. He was detained by the SBU on 07.02.2015 for appeals to disrupt mobilization for the repelling of the aggressor – Russia. He was convicted under the article “high treason” for a video, in which the journalist justifiably called to ignore mobilization, since in a non-belligerent country there can be no mobilization, for which he spent 524 days in jail without a court decision. In July 2016, the Court of Appeal acquitted him. Almost a year later, on March 30th, 2017, the Supreme Court of Ukraine returned the case for a new trial to the Court of Appeal in the Ivano-Frankovsk region. At the moment, Ruslan Kotsaba is still free; the case has not yet been reviewed due to the judges’ recusals. Consideration of his case in the ECHR is impossible because of the unfinished examination of the case in the Ukrainian courts.
Dmitry Vasilets is an oppositional journalist, media-human rights and public activist. He is an author and presenter of the TV programs on “Channel 17” “Museum of Information War”, “What the media are silent about”, and he is a participant of the “Media-Lustration” movement. He was arrested by the SBU on 24.11.2015. He is accused of giving informational assistance to terrorism due to the fact that his journalistic projects revealed propaganda and lies in the Ukrainian and Russian media, and because he criticized the authorities. He has now been in prison for almost two years without a court decision; a third court is examining the case. No decision has been made.
Vasily Muravitsky – an oppositional journalist and blogger, was arrested by the SBU on August 2nd, 2017, on suspicion of treason, changing the borders of Ukraine, and giving assistance to terrorists. Vasily never took up arms, he had no access to state secrets, but fulfilling his journalistic duty, he wrote articles criticizing the current authorities. The journalist is in custody without an alternative measure of restraint.
Alexander Bondarchuk is the editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper “Working Class”, leader of the Workers’ Party of Ukraine, and a People’s deputy of previous convocations of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. He was detained by the SBU on March 18th, 2015, for re-publishing in his newspaper an interview with the activist of the so-called “DPR”, Pavel Gubarev. He is accused under Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine “encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine.” He was in a pre-trial detention center for 9 months (from 18.03.2015 to 29.12.2015), until the judges rejected the prosecutor’s application for the extension of the preventive measure for Aleksandr’s detention, and he was released. At the moment, after two and a half years, the case is still being considered in court, the court sessions are postponed.
Igor Guzhva – is the editor-in-chief of the largest oppositional news publication “Strana”, who is regularly prosecuted under various articles of the Criminal and Administrative Code under absolutely far-fetched pretexts, which is why the cases in the court are falling apart. The editorial office is constantly subjected to the searches of power structures. In July, 2017, the SBU attempted to put Igor Guzhva behind bars, but the journalist managed to pay bail and he was freed, the court sessions continue.
Also, pressure was put on journalists and writers who are undesirable for the regime, among them – Miroslava Berdnik and science fiction writer Andrey Vasilets.
In Kiev, near his house two years ago, the writer Oles Buzina was killed by nationalists for publishing his books about the history of Ukraine.
This is only a small part of the known cases of political repression. We want the widest possible sections of the public to know the truth and to give their assessment of what is happening.