Russian Journalists Deported from Ukraine

Update: 26 Dec 2017 State replied
Year 31 Aug 2017 Country Ukraine Category Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
31 Aug 2017 Ukraine Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Level 2

On 30 August 2017, the spokesperson of the Ukrainian State Security Service (SBU), Olena Gitlyanska, reported that Russia's Channel One journalist Anna Kurbatova is accused of spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda and will be deported to the Russian Federation. “The Russian propagandist Anna Kurbatova will be forcibly returned to Russia,” wrote Olena Gitlayanska in a Facebook post on Wednesday 30 August. ”At the moment, the necessary documents are being processed for her official deportation. It will be the same with anyone who allows themselves to discredit Ukraine.” Anna Kurbatova was deported and banned from entering Ukraine for three years. On 14 August 2017, Tamara Nersesyan, another Russian journalist working for the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK), was deported from Ukraine. The SBU decided to bar her from entering Ukraine for three years, according to journalist Nersesyan, because of her reporting, which, officials told the journalists, inflamed the conflict in eastern Ukraine and posed a threat to Ukrainian security and territorial integrity. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, called on Ukraine not to arrest and deport journalists from other OSCE participating States.

State replies

26 Dec 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

31 Aug 2017 : OSCE media freedom representative calls on Ukraine to respect the work of foreign journalists

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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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