Thursday, April 18, 2024

    Russia has no future – Ukrainian journalist speaks in occupied Crimea court before sentence handed down

    Vladyslav Yesypenko, a Ukrainian journalist and freelancer with Crimea.Realities (a Radio Svoboda project), made his final remarks at a hearing in the Simferopol District Court in the Russian-occupied Crimea.

    That’s according to a report by Crimea.Realities.

    “I consider this a political case. Why? Because I am a journalist with a Ukrainian outlet and, most likely, FSB operatives wanted to show how unacceptable freedom of speech is. I believe that threats and torture are unacceptable in the 21st century. In 1937, my grandfather was tortured and executed. It seems that the Chekists (security officials) who were there at the time have grandchildren, great-grandchildren, who are doing the same things as in 1937,” the journalist said.

    Yesypenko is convinced that the Russian authorities, as well as the occupation administration of Crimea, seek to discredit the work of free journalists who are willing to show the things that are really happening in Crimea. He confirmed his words by recalling that the Crimea.Realities project was recognized as a foreign agent in Russia.

    “If the verdict against me is not acquitting, then I think it is a verdict to this system, because the FSB reigns in (the Russian-occupied – ed.) Crimea. I believe this is an axiom that will not change. If this prevails, this country has no future,” Vladislav Yesypenko said.

    It should be recalled that the occupying authorities detained journalist Vladislav Yesypenko on March 10, 2021, after he attended a rally dedicated to the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko’s birthday in Simferopol. The FSB accused the correspondent of “espionage in the interests of Ukraine.” Human rights activists and Yesypenko’s wife say they have denied him access to an independent lawyer, and have called on the international community to intervene.

    The FSB claims that during a search of Vladislav Yesipenko’s vehicle, an “object resembling an improvised explosive device” was seized, which the detainee allegedly kept “for his own safety.”

    The Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine called the detention an act of propaganda by which the occupying authorities are trying to create an appropriate background for the anniversary of the occupation of the peninsula.

    Vladislav Yesypenko also stated that he had been tortured for two days following his arrest. According to lawyer Oleksiy Ladin, after that the Russian FSB operatives voiced “threats to Yesypenko’s life.”