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Journalist Yesypenko, imprisoned in the occupied Crimea, becomes PEN America laureate

20.04.2022, 10:35
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Ukrainian journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko, detained in the russian-occupied Crimea in March 2021 and sentenced to six years in miminum-security labor camp, will receive PEN America's Barbey Freedom to Write 2022 award. 

The award ceremony will be held on May 23 in the American Museum of National History in Manhattan, PEN Ukraine writes.

Vladyslav's wife Kateryna Yesypenko will accept the award on his behalf.

"In the days before Yesypenko's detention he had been out in the streets of occupied Crimea, filming a report on how the occupation has changed the life on the peninsula. He had been working on different topics: covering the price rise, the confiscation of private property, the life of Crimean Tatars, as well as the ecological crisis that Russia has brought to Crimea after 2014," PEN Ukraine stated.

PEN America's Barbey Freedom to Write Award was founded in 1987. It is given to authors and artists who have been imprisoned for their work. In 2017, one of the laureates was Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov. He was released out of russian prison two years after he received the award.

As IMI has reported, on February 16 the russian-controlled Simferopol District Court sentenced Krym.Realii freelancer Vladyslav Yesypenko to six years in penal colony.

Several Ukrainian human rights and media organizations have condemned the imprisonment of Krym.Realii journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko in the temporarily occupied Crimea and demand that rf's government releases him immediately.

On February 15, the prosecutors in the occupied Crimea demanded 11 years of imprisonment for the journalist for alleged illegal storage and transportation of an explosive device.

Speaking in court on February 15, Yesypenko said the case was politically motivated.

On July 15, 2021, in the russian-controlled Simferopol District Court, the russian prosecutor issued an indictment in the case of Vladislav Yesypenko. He was charged under Articles 223-1 (illegal manufacture of explosives, processing or repair of explosive devices) and 222.1 (illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or carrying of weapons, their main parts, ammunition) of the Criminal Code of Russia. 

On March 10, 2021, russian FSB officers detained "Radio Svoboda" freelancer journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko in the occupied Crimea. Yesypenko took part in a demonstration dedicated to Taras Shevchenko's birth anniversary, which took place in Simferopol on March 9. Vladyslav Yesypenko was charged with gathering information "in the interests of Ukraine's special services," including the Foreign Intelligence Service, the russian FSB's Public Relations Center reported. According to the FSB, Yesypenko "had been performing photo and video recording of the area, welfare facilities, and places of mass gatherings of people in the Crimea."

Vladyslav Yesypenko has stated that FSB investigators had tortured him in order to extract a confession from him.

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