17:50 Apr. 25, 2016
Mass media under threat in Russia-occupied peninsula
The Council of Europe Committee on protection and safety of journalists issued a new warning for journalists that live on the Crimean peninsula. This comes amid another case of persecution of a journalist which Russia now suspects of fueling separatism.
Mykola Semena's home was recently raided by Russia's Federal Security Department.
'On April 19, 2016, FSB agents in the Russia-annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea raided and searched the house of journalist Mykola Semena (freelancer with Krym.Realii - RFE/RL's Crimea service), confiscated his reporting equipment, and briefly detained him for interrogation in connection to a criminal probe on charges of making calls to separatism. The charges stem from an article published by Krym.Realii under a pseudonym; Semena denied any wrongdoing,' the official statement reads.
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After questioning, Mykola Semena was released on bail. The journalist is now forbidden to leave Crimea during the investigation. If convicted, Semena faces up to five years in prison.
'This is at least the second time since the annexation of Crimea that the Russian authorities in Crimea have investigated a journalist on a separatism charges. In March 2015, FSB agents raided the house of the parents of journalist Anna Andriyevskaya, telling her family that she was being sought on charges of making public calls for Crimean independence in a November 2014 article,' the statement adds.
Mykola Semena, journalist. Photo courtesy - Facebook