On the Second Anniversary of the Detention of Ukrainian Journalist Roman Sushchenko
As delivered by Ambassador Ioannis Vrailas of the European Union on behalf of 39 OSCE participating States* to the Permanent Council, Vienna
April 26, 2018
The European Union expresses its grave concern over the continued imprisonment of Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko in the Russian Federation.
Mr Sushchenko, a Paris correspondent of the Ukrainian National News Agency Ukrinform, was detained in Moscow two years ago on 30 September 2016. He was subsequently sentenced to 12 years in a high security prison on highly questionable espionage charges. We agree with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media that the recent decision of the Russian Supreme Court to uphold this exceptionally harsh verdict was deeply disappointing.
The European Union joins the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the International and European Federations of Journalists, as well as numerous others in the international community, in calling on the Russian Federation to release Mr. Sushchenko. Journalists in the OSCE region must be able to work without fear of intimidation or imprisonment. We call on the Russian Federation to live up to its international obligations and OSCE commitments, including with respect to freedom of expression and media freedom as well as the rule of law.
Roman Sushchenko’s case is one of many. Over 70 other Ukrainian political prisoners are illegally detained and imprisoned on the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula and in the Russian Federation. The EU and all those who have aligned with this statement expect international human rights standards in Crimea to be upheld and that the Russian Federation immediately releases without delay all illegally detained and imprisoned Ukrainian citizens on the Crimean peninsula and in the Russian Federation.
*In addition to the 28 States of the European Union, the delegations of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Georgia, Iceland, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Ukraine, and the United States of America also aligned themselves with this statement.