Almost 60 journalists of "Krym.Realii" faced pressure by Russian special services in Crimea
Almost 60 journalists of “Krym.Realii” RFE/RL project faced pressure from Russian special services in the occupied Crimea and were forced to either suspend working with RFE/RL or leave the peninsula. Volodymyr Prytula, the project manager, spoke about this during a panel discussion “National sustainability: how occupation of Crimea affects Ukraine,” as Ukrinform reported.
"Journalists were among those targeted by the repressive attacks. In our Crimea.Realities project alone, about 60 journalists came under pressure from the Russian secret services. 27 of them were forced to suspend one’s contribution with “Krym.Realii” due to pressure on them ... Another 29 were forced to leave the Crimean peninsula: whsomeone did it in 2014 yet, like me, for example, and someone did it later, like our our contrributor Mykola Semena, who could leave Crimea a year ago,” as Prytula said.
According to him, all those who actually works in the Crimea "on the spot" do it illegally, risking not only their freedom, but also their lives. In particular, there were several cases when journalists were abducted and their lives were in danger.
Prytula also spoke about citizens journalists in the Crimea. He specified that these were people who had never written, photographed or earned money before like that.
"Dozens of such journalists in Crimea, spreading information about searches, were attacked by Russian special services. Many of them were arrested and convicted under terrible articles, got 10-15 years in prison, this was said by both international and Ukrainian journalistic organizations. These are Nariman Memedeminov, Server Mustafayev, Remzi Bekirov, Osman Arifmemetov, Rustem Sheikhaliyev and many others. Such citizens journalists deserve our respect, ”as Prytula said.
As it was reported by IMI, on February 18th, Semena left Crimea and arrived to mainland territory of Ukraine for treatment. It happened as on January 28, 2020, Mykola Semena received court papers officially confirming the termination of his probation and the expunging of his criminal record. The court in Crimea’s capital, Simferopol, on January 14 ruled to prematurely terminate the probation period and expunge the criminal record of Mykola Semena, who had been convicted of separatism on the peninsula.
Semena was arrested by Crimea’s Russia-imposed authorities in April 2016 and charged with acting against the “territorial integrity of the Russian Federation.”
On January 14, 2020, a Russian-controlled railway court in Simferopol considered and granted the request of lawyer Alexander Popkov and Crimean journalist Mykola Semena for early termination of probation and conviction of Semena.