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FSB detains journalists in Crimea and harasses their families

FSB detains journalists in Crimea and harasses their families
Translated by: Jaroslav Jay

On March the 13th several Russian FSB agents in Crimea have searched a home of the parents of a Ukrainian journalist Anna Andryevska, who is now living in Kiev, being forced to move there from her home in Crimea since the beginning of Russian occupation of the peninsula.

Early in the morning the frightened elderly couple telephoned Anna and told her a bizarre story of the FSB agents who prior that day came to their door with a demand to search the apartment in which Andryevska’s parents live, and seized their computer.

“Usually we communicate via Skype, but since their laptop was taken by the FSB, they had to phone me. My father was presented a warrant from the Simferopol court, which said I am being investigated over publishing an article in which I’m allegedly calling for the overthrow of the Crimean government”, has stated Andryevska.

The article in question seems to be a story about volunteers of the “Krym” battalion that Andryevska has published at Investigator.org.ua much earlier – in fact, as early as October 2014. This worrisome precedent has now made many of those in Ukraine whose relatives remain in occupied Crimea gravely concerned for their families’ safety. “I hope my parents won’t be involved in the investigation against me and used as leverage to control me”, Andryevska has stated.

Oddly enough, that same day another Ukrainian journalist, Natalia Kokoryna of Slidstvo.info news agency has been detained in Crimea by the FSB, and seemingly the journalist has remained in the Simferopol FSB department for several hours under questioning, and still hasn’t been released.

At the same time the minister of internal policy, information and communications of Crimea, Dmitry Polansky denies “any detentions of journalists taking place on Friday”. When asked if he is aware about reasons behind detaining of Kokoryna and the searches in their relatives homes, the minister replied with bewilderment that this is the first time he’s heard about this.

“This is the first time I’ve heard about any arrests whatsoever. As far as I know, no journalists were detained today in Crimea, this is for certain. If some law enforcement agencies are investigating some journalists, then it’s probably more appropriate to address these agencies directly”, end quote.

The leader of Ukrainian-Tatar Mejlis, Mustafa Dzhemilev, has already voiced his concern over these incidents, saying he’s afraid these are only the first few examples of massive repressions against journalists in Crimea that are yet to come. Dzhemilev is certain that in the nearest future Russia will continue terrorizing any opposition in Criema, including journalists, publicists and anyone opposing the occupation.

With a group of Ukrainian experts on human rights and a representative of Verkhovna Rada on human rights Valeria Lutkovska, Dzhemilev is going to Geneva to present these facts of direct and rude breaching of the human rights and freedom of speech in Crimea by the Russian occupational forces to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Translated by: Jaroslav Jay
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