This year, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine has awarded the Ihor Lubchenko National Freedom of Speech Award to journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko, who was sentenced to five years in custody by the occupying authorities in Crimea.
This awarding is also supported by the laureates of this award in previous years – famous journalists who were persecuted by the Russian regime, Mykola Semena and Roman Sushchenko
‘Vladyslav Yesypenko is one of those journalists who, as Radio Liberty President Jamie Fly said, risked their own freedom in order to guarantee freedom of speech for Crimeans,’ noted Mykola Semena the well-known Crimean journalist, and NUJU secretary, commenting this event to the NUJU press office. -What Vladyslav did is great: when all professional journalists were forced out of Crimea, when all independent TV channels were closed there, and Ukrainian journalists were banned from entering Crimea, he dared to come to Crimea and make truthful reports from there. This allowed, at least to some extent, to ensure freedom of speech to the occupied Crimea.”
- On March 10, Vladyslav Yesypenko born in Kryvyi Rih was detained at Angarsky Pass. In the peninsula he was on the editorial assignment of KRYM.REALII media. For example, on the eve of his detention, he filmed laying flowers at a monument to Shevchenko in Simferopol’.
- The FSB stated that he allegedly worked for the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, and “an explosive device was found” in his car.
- The journalist told the details of how Russian security agents had tortured him after his arrest on March 10 to extract a confession that he was allegedly working for Ukrainian intelligence service. He, for instance, informed that the security agents had put a bag on his head and prevented him from breathing to obtain a guilty plea.
- On February 16 ‘judge’ Dliaver Berberov found Mr. Yesypenko guilty of possessing and processing of an explosive device, sentenced him to 6 years in the general security regime penal colony and fined him RUR110,000.
- On May 26, the ‘Supreme Court of Crimea’ was to consider an appeal against the Vladyslav Yesypenko’s verdict, but dropped the case and returned it to the “court” of first instance to rectify the violations: to present the court session protocol to the defence. The court judgement was not cancelled, with only a technical issue to be resolved.
- On August 18 the appeal against the sentence of Mr.Yesypenko was considered, with the sentence term reduced by a year: the “Supreme Court of Crimea” made a decision on a 5-years’ sentence to be served in the general security regime penal colony, and a fine of RUR105,000.