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ICTV journalists were kept under arrest by Russian border patrol and FSB for 24 hours

19.05.2014, 14:01

On May 15, the journalist and the operator of the program “Distalo!”, the ICTV TV channel, were detained by the border patrol and the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia, and the next 24 hours were under cross interrogation. Later they were allowed to go. According to the TV channel, in the morning of May 15 the journalist Yuriy Mamon and the camera operator Dmytro Podenko left Kharkiv and went to the border with Belgorod region of the Russian Federation on the editorial task – to film a story about the border procedures and opportunities to enter Ukraine illegally.

Yuriy Mamon had to investigate whether it was possible «to import separatism and terrorism» through the eastern borders of Ukraine. To this end, the filming crew took a suburban train across the border to Belgorod oblast. But as soon as they entered Russia, they were detained by the border patrol. They were held in the basement of the local FSB department since midday till 7 p.m., under constant searching and interrogation. All their equipment, personal effects, phones, and sketch books were taken from them, all their footage was destroyed, and even personal photos on the smart phone were deleted. For 6 hours, they were asked the same questions: what the purpose of their visit was, what their attitude to Maidan was, and what their connection to the Right Sector was; they were told they were contrabandists and diversionists. They were not given any food or water and were not allowed to use the toilet or make a phone call. Then they were moved to the police department, where they underwent a full personal search. After that, both of them were interrogated separately till 5 a.m. and forced to make a confession in front of a video camera. They were accused of spying and planning sabotage on the territory of Russia. When they were finally allowed to leave, the Russian police did not return them their equipment. 

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