Виголошена Постійним представником України при міжнародних організаціях у Відні І.Прокопчуком на засіданні Постійної ради ОБСЄ 4 жовтня 2016 року.
Statement on Ungrounded Detention of Ukrainian Journalist Roman Sushchenko in Russia
As delivered by the Delegation of Ukraine
to the 1114th meeting of the Permanent Council,
04 October 2016
We take the floor to express our protest against the ungrounded detention of the Ukrainian citizen and journalist Roman Sushchenko in Moscow on 30 September 2016.
Journalist Sushchenko has been working for the Ukrainian National News Agency “Ukrinform” since 2002, and he is the agency’s correspondent in France since 2010.
He was detained in Moscow by the Russian FSB on trumped-up charges of “espionage” on the day of arrival and the Russian authorities, in violation of international norms, did not inform about his detention neither his family nor the Ukrainian diplomatic mission, nor Ukrinform. R.Sushchenko had been subjected to psychological pressure and had been denied a call to his wife.
The Ukrainian authorities learned about Sushchenko’s detention only after his wife called ‘Hot Line’ of the Ukrainian Embassy in Russia, and then sent an official statement about her husband's disappearance.
Roman Sushchenko is a resolute and independent defender of the freedom of speech, known for his exposure of Russia’s illegal actions against Ukraine. His numerous articles and reporting are readily available in public domain. Ukrinform dismissed any allegations of espionage and called upon journalists and the international community to help secure his release.
Many professional media organizations, including the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, the International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) and Reporters without Borders have called on Russia to free the Ukrainian reporter. They stated that the charges against R.Sushchenko are fabricated to silence his critical voice and urged the Russian authorities to release him.
R.Sushchenko is now held in Moscow's Lefortovo prison. His detention in Russia under fabricated charges is yet another unacceptable step in Russia’s policy of using political prisoners in its “hybrid war” against Ukraine. Until today, access of Ukraine’s consular officer to R.Sushchenko has been denied by Russian authorities.
We call on the Russian Federation to immediately grant consular access to R.Sushchenko in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. We urge Russia to immediately comply with its OSCE commitments and international obligations on media freedom and freedom of expression and to immediately release Mr. Sushchenko.
We call on the OSCE Chairmanship and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media to react to this unacceptable case of persecution of the Ukrainian journalist in violation of Russia’s OSCE commitments and international obligations and to use all available instruments to facilitate his immediate and unconditional release.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.