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UWC calls upon international community to defend journalists and all political prisoners detained unlawfully by Russian authorities

The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), in support of an appeal by the Parliament of Ukraine on 5 October 2016, calls upon the international community, including human rights organizations, to assist with efforts to secure the release of Ukrainian journalists and all political prisoners detained unlawfully by Russian authorities.

Roman Sushchenko, a Paris-based correspondent with Ukraine's Ukrinform news agency, was arrested in Moscow on 30 September 2016 on charges of espionage while in the Russian Federation on a personal visit. Following closed proceedings on 1 October 2016 the court ordered his detention for two months. Contrary to international norms and a bilateral agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, Roman Sushchenko was being denied the basic right to see a lawyer and a Ukrainian consul.

Mykola Semena, a pro-Ukrainian journalist and contributor to RFE/RL's Crimean news website, Krym.Realii (Crimea Realities), was arrested in April and charged with “separatism” for an article on the de-occupation of Crimea. Court proceedings are scheduled for October in the case of Mykola Semena who has been denied the right to leave the Crimean Peninsula for medical treatment.

Roman Sushchenko and Mykola Semena are victims of the hybrid war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and their detainment on politically motivated charges serves as yet two more examples of the continued gross violation by Russian authorities of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech.

“The Ukrainian World Congress calls upon Ukrainian communities around the world, and the entire international community to actively defend the rights of detained journalists Roman Sushchenko and Mykola Semena, and all unlawfully detained Ukrainian political prisoners by the Russian Federation, and pressure Russian authorities for their immediate release,” stated UWC President Eugene Czolij.

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