UPDATED: The Jailed Ukrainian Journalists Vasilets and Timonin Refused a Prisoner Exchange and Remain in Ukraine

Translated by Ollie Richardson



The Journalists Dmitry Vasilets and Evgeny Timonin, who in Ukraine were sentenced to 9 years of imprisonment, agreed to be included on the lists on exchange with the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR.

This was declared by the lawyer Andrey Portnov, whose team of lawyers is engaged in defending the convicts.

According to him, Vasilets and Timonin took such a step “under the pressure of SBU employees”Portnov offers a reminder that to be included on the lists convicts must admit their guilt, refuse appeals, and ask Poroshenko for pardon.

“Sentenced to nine years in jail, the journalists Timonin and Vasilets today, under the pressure of SBU employees, made the decision to agree to an exchange with the so-called people’s republics. For this purpose they must refuse appeals, admit their guilt, and appeal to the President for a pardon,” reported Portnov.

“It is difficult for me to speculate about their motives, but since they are in prison, they have to make such decisions about their freedom. The team of lawyers of the condemned journalists proved their innocence and made a large number of productive legal steps for their immediate release.

They learned about such an initiative only yesterday, and categorically objected to it and considered it to be irresponsible. It is necessary to continue on by themselves. Everyone who publicly defended and declared their innocence has been let down,” wrote Andrey Portnov on Facebook.

The representative of the Institute of Legal Policy Elena Berezhnaya claims that the journalists indeed made the decision under the pressure of the SBU. “There is an option that they write a statement for consent to an exchange and the closing of criminal proceedings on this case. The journalists don’t object to an exchange, but on the condition that they will be found not guilty. The Court of Appeal will cancel their sentence and then there is a chance to include them in the list for exchange. And the statement that they made was made under the pressure of the SBU. Because they explained to them that there are no other options – either you admit your guilt or you will sit in jail for 9 years,” says Berezhnaya.

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UPDATE – 21/12/2017:

The journalists Dmitry Vasilets and his assistant Evgeny Timonin – sentenced to 9 years – refused to be involved in a prisoner of war exchange with the DPR.

This was reported by Vasilets to “Strana” on December 21st by means of video conference from the Zhytomyr pre-trial detention center prior to a hearing about it.

He added that they won’t refuse the appeal. After this both defendants were taken away from the room. The court session appointed at 14:00 still didn’t begin.

Earlier the lawyer Andrey Portnov announced Vasilets and Timonin’s consent to an exchange. For this purpose they should admit their guilt and ask Poroshenko for a pardon.

It became known later that there are no journalists on the exchange lists, and on social networks there was talk about Vasilets and Timonin being deceived by the SBU.

Information about the absence of condemned journalists on the exchange lists was confirmed today also by the lawyer Tatyana Montyan.

Later Vasilets and his lawyer explained the reason for their consent for an exchange. It turns out that, on October 6th, 2016, SBU employees violently gave Vasilets 15 injections.

According to the lawyer Svetlana Novitskaya, yesterday, on December 20th he agreed to an exchange, filled in an application for a pardon, and refused the appeal.

“The people who came (when injections were given) were the same ones as before, he was afraid that everything would repeat itself and thus signed all documents,” explained the lawyer.

“When the SBU needed me to be silent, they took me in an unknown direction. There they gave me ten or fifteen injections in the legs, in the veins, and carried me to court. And there I, in the condition of a vegetable, tried to figure something out,” said Vasilets, explaining giving his consent to an exchange out of fear that everything would repeat itself.

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