Today the annexed Crimea is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. The situation with freedom of speech on the peninsula is worse than in the aggressor-country Russia or Belarus, it is on a par with Turkmenistan.
At least 60 people are engaged in the complete suppression of the rights of journalists and curtailing freedom of speech in the Crimea, among them 10 organizers and 50 executors. Ukrainian human rights activists have prepared a list of "Stranglers of freedom of speech in the Crimea", which was presented on March 3 at the press conference in Kyiv.
Information about the persons involved in the repression against journalists, was collected for more than six months. The database can be divided into several categories: Russian and Crimean officials, representatives of the Crimean "self-defense", members of the security and law enforcement officials and public figures.
“Analysing the data, we paid attention to the different types of violations, like pending criminal proceedings against the Crimean journalists, illegal detentions, searches, arrests, physical violence against journalists, withholding and damage to their property and equipment, seizure of editions, refusals to registration or re-registration, and so on,” Chairman of the Board for Human Rights Information Center Tatyana Pechonchik informed, according to a QHA correspondent.
The human rights activists state that the purpose of this list is to attract attention in Ukraine and in the international arena to the absolute curtail of freedom of speech in the Crimea, as well as the fight against impunity, bringing the perpetrators to justice and initiating criminal proceedings against them on the mainland.
“We hope that by giving a clear message to anyone who persecutes journalists in Crimea, and in any way restricts the freedom of speech or thought, we would reach a certain preventive or deterrent effect for those people to think twice before doing it,” Pechonchik said.
This list will be submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which is to carry out an investigation and to institute criminal proceedings against the individuals in the list.
Human rights activists also hope that the Ukrainian authorities will pay attention to the list as well, and impose personal sanctions against them.
“The list contains both the citizens of Russia and Ukraine. The Russian citizens will be probably sanctioned on the territory of Ukraine if they possess some property and if they can somehow be punished. For Ukrainians – it is the criminal code,” Advisor to the Minister of Information Policy of Ukraine in the Crimea Julia Kazdobina noted.
The list includes the names of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Russia in the Republic of Crimea Sergey Abisov, "the Head of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Crimea" Sergei Aksyonov, "the Head of the State Council of the Republic of Crimea," Vladimir Konstantinov, "the ex-Prosecutor" of the Crimea Natalia Poklonskaya and others.