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Reporters Without Borders demand the immediate release of Iryna Danilovych

14.05.2022, 12:43
Photo: AFP / radiosvoboda.org
Photo: AFP / radiosvoboda.org

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the arbitrary detention of citizen journalist Iryna Danilovych, who was abducted on April 29 in the occupied Crimea and detained for 13 days incommunicado by the russian authorities. The organization calls for her immediate release.

“After her 13 days incommunicado, with no news given to her family, we are relieved to know that Iryna Danilovych is still alive but we fear she has been mistreated,” said Jeanne Cavelier, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “We condemn her abduction and arbitrary detention in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was ratified by Moscow, and we call on the Russian authorities to release her at once.”

Although her lawyer had filed a complaint about her disappearance with the Crimean prosecutor’s office, she has only been allowed access to a lawyer appointed by the authorities. The legal proceedings against her were officialised on 7 May without any member of her family being notified.

Danilovych’s father said she was probably abducted at a bus stop on the outskirts of Koktebel, a small town in eastern Crimea. He said he managed to view a service station video that showed a woman dressed like her being kidnapped by several men in civilian dress, who bundled her into a car. He told Krym.Realii that the police made no attempt to get the video from the service station, whose owner refused to give it to anyone other than the police.

A nurse by profession, Danilovych has been harassed ever since the height of the Covid pandemic because of her journalistic reporting on the Crimean health system’s problems, which she was posting on a . She also collaborated with Krym.Realii, the human rights news outlet Zmina.ua, the judicial violations outlet Crimean Process and the local website InZhir-media.

RSF reminds that Vladislav Yesypenko, another journalist reporting for Krym.Realii in Crimea, was sentenced to six years in prison on a charge of “possession and transport of explosives” at the end of a sham trial on 16 February. He had no access to an independent lawyer, was tortured for two days after his arrest in March 2021, and made two forced confessions on a local TV channel.

Russia, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, is ranked 155th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2022 World Press Freedom Index. Ukraine is ranked 106th.

As IMI reported, on May 11 it became known that Iryna Danilovych was being held in the Simferopol pre-trial detention center.

On April 29, in the occupied Crimea, russian security forces detained citizen journalist Iryna Danilovych. She was detained on her way from work on the road from Koktebel to Feodosia. Her house in Vladislavivka village was searched, her phone and laptop were seized.

Several public human rights organizations have demanded the release of citizen journalist Iryna Danilovych, who had been abducted in Crimea.

Iryna Danylovych is being accused of alleged illegal manufacturing, transportation or storage of explosives. She faces from six to eight years in prison and a fine of up to 100 thousand rubles (45 thousand UAH).

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