General Rapporteur calls for the conviction of Crimean journalist Mykola Semena to be annulled

Volodymyr Ariev (Ukraine, EPP/CD), General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Media Freedom and the Safety of Journalists, has today expressed grave concern at the conviction by a court in occupied Crimea of the Ukrainian journalist Mykola Semena on charges of “separatism” and “the violation of Russia’s territorial integrity”.

Mr Semena was handed a 2.5-year suspended sentence, and was also barred from “public activities” for three years, these activities apparently including journalism.

International organisations such as the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as well as international media watchdogs, have expressed concern about the case.

The European Union called the verdict “a clear violation of the freedom of expression and of the media”. In a statement issued on 22 September the EU stated that the verdict “represents another example of the deterioration of the human rights situation in the Crimean Peninsula after its illegal annexation by Russia”.

“I welcome the support from the EU and the OSCE, as well as from professional media organisations, for freedom of expression and the media on the occupied territory of Crimea. The entire world democratic community should call on the Russian Federation to immediately annul Mykola Semena’s conviction,” said Mr Ariev.