Location Ukraine Ukraine

Ukrainian journalist is tried for «mitigation of anti-Russian sentiments»

On July 5, the Shevchenko district court of the city of Zaporozhye extended the arrest of journalist Pavel Volkov. He was arrested by the Ukrainian Security Service in September 2017. In the investigative isolator, Volkov suffers from asthma. «My son has serious health problems … He needs constant medication. I can not treat him from a distance,» — the mother of the arrested journalist tells.

Volkov is charged with grave accusations: «encroachment on the integrity of Ukraine», «assistance to a terrorist organization». «The journalist allegedly participated in the recruitment and training of terrorists, and also financed them. In particular, he is tried on 258 Art. Criminal Code of Ukraine on the promotion of terrorist activities,” —  his lawyer Svetlana Novitskaya says. He faces from 12 to 15 years in prison. But the investigation did not provide any evidence. Judging by the available materials, all «encroachments» were expressed in the publication of articles and posts in social networks.

The SBU also announced that the journalist was an employee of a certain «social communications committee of the Donetsk People’s Republic.» Special service did not lead an evidence of this statement. Investigators say that the journalist posted on the Internet «illegal materials» on the instructions of unnamed «curators from Russia.» But even here the investigation did not specify specific individuals. The materials of the case abound with formulations like «in cases not clarified by the investigation», «collusion with unknown persons», etc.

Volkov really went to Donetsk — both to visit relatives and for professional reasons. But at the same time the journalist acted strictly according to the law. He received permission from the SBU to cross the line of contact and was carefully marked at all Ukrainian roadblocks.

In his articles Volkov wrote that the Kiev authorities violated the Minsk agreements, that peaceful residents of the Donbas fall under bombardment of the Ukrainian army. Pavel is accused of anonymous text in the LiveJournal, which states the obvious: in 2014, for the sake of «visa-free regime» with the EU, citizens of Ukraine «overthrew the legally elected authorities, lost part of the territories and several millions of people, burned people in Odessa, unleashed a civil war in Donbas».

In the Volkov’s emails hacked by the special services, the intention is «not to violate Ukrainian legislation» was mentioned, and Pavel did carefully followed it. It is not surprising that Ukrainian press writing on Volkov’s case had to mention as «proof of guilt» such «acts» as «mitigation of anti-Russian sentiments in society», «destruction of Russophobic construct» and «coordination of citizens with anti-fascist views.» There are no appeals to separatism or calls for violent actions against the Kiev regime in Volkov’s articles. He is in prison just for expressing his own opinion.

«People participate in the absurd. Everyone understands that this is fiction. A man, who simply wrote articles and filmed shot videos in Donetsk, is judged on a terrorist article,» — says Svetlana Novitskaya, a lawyer for the journalist. Relatives of the journalist still hope that the position of the court will change, because experts during the trial did not find any extremist appeals in of Volkov’s articles. In addition, other courts earlier released several other defendants on the same articles under house arrest, for example, journalist Muravitsky. But the prosecutor’s office insists on strict measures, and the court upheld it. Volkov’s staying behind the bars continues.

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