Strana Editor-in-Chief Flees, Seeks Asylum in Austria after Receiving Death Threats

Update: 21 Mar 2018 State replied
Year 06 Feb 2018 Country Ukraine Category Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner Index , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
06 Feb 2018 Ukraine Harassment and intimidation of journalists Unknown Index , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ Level 1

The editor-in-chief of news website Strana.ua, Igor Guzhva, fled Ukraine on 31 January 2018 after receiving death threats and is now seeking asylum in Austria. In a statement published by Strana, Guzhva said that he decided to flee after Ukrainian law enforcement agencies ignored several requests to investigate the threats against him. He said other Strana journalists had also received threats. Guzhva said in his statement that he was able to leave Ukraine after a court order preventing him from leaving the country expired on 6 January. In his open letter to the president of Ukraine, Guzhva said that since the website's first day of activity the editorial staff had been subjected to "unprecedented pressure from the authorities." He recalled that five criminal cases have been files against him, including extortion charges. In June, the country's National Security Service (SBU) searched Strana's Kiev office and briefly arrested Guzhva for allegedly demanding a 10,000 USD bribe in exchange for not publishing reportedly compromising materials on a politician. Speaking to CPJ after being released on bail, Guzhva denied all charges and called the case a "witch hunt" against him. He said the Ukrainian authorities "want to close [Strana] and put me in jail." Guzhva is set to retain his position as editor-in-chief of the website and continue to lead the editorial board from abroad.

State replies

21 Mar 2018 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

CONTACT US

Follow us   

Follow-ups to alerts Follow-ups to alerts

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
Twitter feed Twitter feed
Thematic factsheets Thematic factsheets



Thematic factsheets Thematic factsheets



Partners Partners

CONTACT US

Follow us