On the morning of March 5th the machine of repression known as the Security Service of Ukraine swooped down on yet another journalist, Vladimir Skachko, whose only crime is that he reports facts that are inconvenient for Petro Poroshenko and calls a spade a spade. The details that were known within the first 6 hours of the SBU titushki arriving at his door can be read here. It turned out that the search didn’t end until around midnight local time and he wasn’t detained, although several things were confiscated. The Kiev based “Uspishna Varta“ human rights platform has gathered together all the facts that are known concerning the laughable charges that the SBU has concocted against him.
Journalist Vladimir Skachko handed notice of suspicion in the case of Vyshinsky
After a 14.5-hour search, the Kiev based journalist Vladimir Skachko was abruptly presented a summons for an interrogation and suspicion of encroachment on the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The case against Skachko is connected to the case of the journalist Kirill Vyshinsky, who was detained in May 2018 on suspicion of treason and continues to be in detention in Kherson.
As was reported earlier by “Uspishna Varta”, on March 5th in Kiev the Security Service of Ukraine came to search the apartment of the Ukrainian journalist Vladimir Skachko, who is known for opposing and criticising the current government.
As a result of the search, which lasted 14.5 hours, Vladimir was handed a notice of suspicion and a summons for an interrogation in Kherson on March 11th. The journalist is a suspect in the case under part 2 of article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine, by prior conspiracy with a group of persons). This article does not stipulate any alternatives to detention.
The press service of the SBU said that the search was conducted as a part of a pre-trial investigation of criminal proceedings against persons “associated with the anti-Ukrainian activities of Russian state media structures in Ukraine”.
Based on the documents handed to Vladimir Skachko, the investigation against him is connected to the case of the Ukrainian journalist and editor-in-chief of “RIA Novosti Ukraine” Kirill Vyshinsky, who was detained on May 15th 2018. Earlier, on January 14th 2019, the Prosecutor’s office announced the completion of the pre-trial investigation against Vyshinsky. According to the lawyer of the journalist, on March 5th at 17:00 (at the time of the search at Skachko’s home) the Prosecutor of the Department of the Prosecutor’s Office in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea handed over to Vyshinsky an indictment and the register of materials of the pre-trial investigation. The indictment was sent to Kiev to one of the district courts for further consideration. More details about the case of Vyshinsky can be read here.
The investigation promotes a narrative of the criminal conspiracy of journalists, where Skachko is “one of the main authors who prepared information materials commissioned by the Russian propaganda media”. The main reason for the search were two articles written by him and published in 2014 on the websites “RIA Novosti Ukraine” and “Versii”.
The search at the journalist’s home was carried out by 11 employees of the SBU in accordance with the resolution of the Kherson City Court. Procedural guidance was provided by the Prosecutor’s Office of Crimea. During the search, Vladimir’s personal computer and laptop, phone, flash drives, and several books and handouts from various public events attended by the journalist as a part of his professional activities were confiscated. Also his bankcard with his personal means was confiscated. “This is actually a ban on the profession. I was deprived of my means of production and means of livelihood,” stated Vladimir Skachko.
Linguistic expertise was carried out directly during the search by a doctor of philology and deputy of the academy of the SBU. The expert’s conclusion about the material written by the journalist during the last 24 hours before the search was written by hand. Versions of these articles were discovered on Skachko’s computer. The expert came to the conclusion that Vladimir “systematically uses markers of belittling the dignity of Ukraine and Ukrainians, Euromaidan, and the reformation of the nation”. Also, the expert of the SBU found in the materials of the journalist “the escalation of religious hatred”, and “the population of Donbass is represented as an opponent to the population of other regions of Ukraine that is suffering because of their worldview”. The expert came to the conclusion that Skachko is involved in materials containing calls to change the boundaries of the territory and the state border of Ukraine.
According to Vladimir Skachko, the employees of the SBU rushed into his apartment for the purpose of carry out a search fraudulently. The journalist compared the 14.5-hour search with torture. According to him, the search and the case against him are aimed at ensuring that he could not carry out his professional journalistic activities on the eve of the 2019 elections.
Vladimir Skachko said he did not intend either to interfere with the investigation or hide away from it, because he believes that the search was an “absurd, far-fetched, and politically motivated crackdown”.
The “Uspishna Varta” human rights platform evaluates the case against the journalists Kirill Vyshinsky and Vladimir Skachko as political persecution. We urge the security bodies of Ukraine to stop the politically motivated persecution of opposition Ukrainian journalists for their professional activities.
A video showing the SBU leaving Skachko’s apartment and his first comments, the gist of which is mentioned in the text above.
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