Two Spanish Journalists Deported from Ukraine

Update: 02 Nov 2017 Resolved
Year 28 Aug 2017 Country Ukraine Category Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
28 Aug 2017 Ukraine Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Level 2

Spanish freelance journalists Antonio Pampliega and Manuel Angel Sastre were intercepted by Ukrainian police upon arrival at Kyiv airport on 24 August 2017. They were deported on the same day under the pretense that they represented "a threat to national security". The two journalists intended to cover the armed conflict in the east of the country, as they did in a previous report in December 2014. The Spanish consular authorities told the journalists that the Ukrainian authorities justified their deportation by the fact that they were on a list drawn up by the Ukrainian secret service. The Federation of Associations of Journalists of Spain (FAPE) condemned the deportation. It asked the Spanish authorities to request official explanations from the Ukrainian authorities.

Resolved On 2 November 2017, following the lift of travel ban on journalists Antonio Pampliega and Manuel Angel Sastre, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be ”resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.

Updates

23 Oct 2017 : On 10 October 2017, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) announced that it lifted the travel ban on the two Spanish journalists who were denied entry to the country in August.

State replies

02 Nov 2017 : Official reply from the Ukrainian authorities

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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”.
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