European Deputies Demand to Release the Ukrainian Journalists Vasilets, Timonin, & Muravitsky From Jail

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


23 European Parliament deputies signed a letter where they called for the immediate release of the Ukrainian journalists Dmitry Vasilets, Evgeny Timonin, and Vasily Muravitsky – arrested by Petro Poroshenko’s regime for criticising the current authorities.

This was reported by the colleague of the arrested Ruslan Kotsaba, who had to stay in prison for his appeals to boycott the call for mobilisation for the ATO.

The open letter of parliamentarians was initiated by five European Parliament deputies: Jiří Maštálka, Javier Couso Permuy, Tatjana Ždanoka, Kostadinka Kuneva and Eleonora Forenza.

Soon this letter will be transferred to representatives of the mission of Ukraine to the European Union for the purpose of transferring it to the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.

The European Parliament deputies stated: “Ukraine, as an EU candidate country, is obliged to respect the rights and freedoms stated in the Charter of the European Union on human rights. However, currently the fundamental human rights, such as freedom of expression of opinion and association, the freedom of thought and conscience, and the prohibition of torture and ill treatment are regularly and flagrantly violated. In recent years the leaderships of a number of popular Ukrainian TV programs faced administrative and judicial pressure; some media resources were closed. In the numerous reports of an international NGO it is said that many journalists who criticise the authorities are subjected to persecution”.

The present letter of the European Parliament deputies is extremely important, because a similar document signed in 2015 allowed Kotsaba to be released from jail.

“It limited the bullishness of President Poroshenko and obliged him to give the command to his mongrels from the Prosecutor-General’s Office and SBU to stop putting pressure on judges of the Ivano-Frankovsk city court,” said Kotsaba.

Dmitry Vasilets and Evgeny Timonin were arrested in November, 2015, and in September, 2017 were sentenced to 9 years of prison because they shared their technical knowledge for the creation of a YouTube channel with their colleagues working in the territories uncontrolled by Kiev.

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Vasily Muravitsky was arrested in August, 2017, because of his direct professional activity, his publications that are critical of the current authorities of Ukraine, and the exposure of corruption. He is threatened with up to 15 years of imprisonment under the article “State treason”. A number of human rights organisations, such as Reporters Without Borders and Committee to Protect Journalists, stood up for Vasily Muravitsky immediately after his detention. At the beginning of November the representative of the OSCE on media freedom Harlem Désir stated his serious concern in connection with Vasily Muravitsky’s case.

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