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State security continues searches and arrests in Ukraine

A few days ago we wrote that the secret services searched the opposition Ukrainian journalist Vladimir Skachko. The journalist was shown suspicion of separatism, and on March 11 he had to appear for interrogation in the city of Kherson. Almost certainly he should have been arrested after interrogation. The case of the journalist received a wide response, and the OSCE mission in Ukraine took up its monitoring.

However, Vladimir Skachko escaped arrest. He became ill, and he was hospitalized in one of Kiev hospitals. The lawyer of the journalist presented the relevant data to the Security Service of Ukraine. It is not known when the interrogation of the journalist is completed, therefore the question of his arrest is temporarily postponed.

Meanwhile, the SBU and the Ministry of Internal Affairs conducted a joint search on March 13 against the writer-storyteller, Oleg Slepynin from Cherkasy. The writer is accused of criticizing the religious policy of the Kiev regime, which he carried out in the Russian media under various pseudonyms. According to the investigation, Slepynin «condemned and negatively assessed the establishment of the Local Church of Ukraine and the receipt of the decision to grant Tomos» (the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople to create a separate Orthodox Church of Ukraine). The official materials of the investigation indicate that the writer is suspected of committing a criminal offense under Part 1 of Art. 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“Deliberate acts aimed at inciting national, racial or religious hatred…”). These actions are punishable by a fine of up to fifty non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens or correctional labor for up to two years, or restriction of freedom for up to 5 years.

The basis for the investigation was a denunciation. And the “expert” assessment of critical materials attributed to the storyteller was conducted by the rector of Cherkasy University, who is not an expert on religious issues, but is known for his nationalistic views.

During the search, the SBU investigators seized a computer and other materials from Slepynin. They are sent for examination.

Oleg Slepynin suffers from hypertension. During the search, his blood pressure rose twice. “Ambulance arrived. They made a cardiogram, injections. They offered to go to the hospital right away. I refused”, the writer said.

Oleg Slepynin connects the raid of the special services with the machinations of envious colleagues-journalists from Cherkasy: “It seems to me that the whole thing is rather an initiative of colleagues from local Cherkasy publications. Many once were jarred on by the fact that we spent a Russian grant in Cherkasy and Kanev at the Pushkin Ring All-Ukrainian Literary Festival.”

After a search, the SBU resolves the issue of choosing a preventive measure for a children’s writer.

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