Vesti’s Media Office in Kyiv Raided by National Police and Military Prosecutors

Update: 03 Oct 2017 State replied
Year 19 Jul 2017 Country Ukraine Category Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index Alert level Level 2
19 Jul 2017 Ukraine Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index Level 2

On July 14, the prosecutors General’s office and the national police searched the offices of Ukraine’s Vesti media group in Kyiv which includes Radio Vesti, the daily newspaper Vesti, and the news website Vesti-ukr.com. The raid was conducted as part of an embezzlement investigation against ex-Tax and Revenue Minister Oleksandr Klymenko. The area was cordoned and special police units and armored vehicles surrounded the building. Police officers completely obstructed the work of the editorial board. Chair of the Board of Directors of Media Holding Vesti Ukraine, Olga Semchenko, explained on a Facebook post that the radio station's live broadcast was interrupted during operation and that authorities rounded up 30 journalists in a room in order to question them and search their mobile phones. According to Olga Semchenko, the searches are in retaliation from the Prosecutor’s office for a Vesti investigation into Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoly Matio’s income and expenses, titled “Who is Mr. Matios? What the Chief Military Prosecutor conceals”. “Government pressure is not new to us, but we haven’t seen such a major special operation yet,” she said. Vesti’s offices have already been subjected to several attacks since 2014 and more recently in February 2017 the National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine revoked the license of the Ukrainian broadcasting company “Radio Vesti” in Kharkiv city and Kyiv.

State replies

03 Oct 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

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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”.
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