Mykola Semena / Photo from radiosvoboda.org

A court in Crimea's capital, Simferopol, on January 14 ruled to prematurely terminate the probation period and expunge the criminal record of Mykola Semena, who had been convicted of separatism on the peninsula, RFE/RL's Crimea Desk said.

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Semena received a copy of the ruling on January 28 and is now considered totally free.

Semena, who has contributed to RFE/RL's Krym.Realii (Crimea Realities) reporting project, was arrested by Crimea's Russia-imposed authorities in April 2016 and charged with acting against the "territorial integrity of the Russian Federation."

He says the accusation was politically motivated and violated fundamental freedoms of expression and that Russian authorities based their case on an inaccurate translation of one of his stories from Ukrainian into Russian.

In September 2017, a court convicted him and gave Semena a 2 1/2-year suspended sentence and banned him from "public activity" for three years.

Three months later, a court that Russia calls the Supreme Court of Crimea upheld his conviction.

The United States, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and international media watchdogs all condemned the trial and verdict.

In December, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine asked President Volodymyr Zelensky to include the native Crimean journalist and five other colleagues on the list of people held captive in occupied territories for a prisoner exchange and be released to mainland Ukraine.