The United States has urged the Russian Federation to free Ukrainian journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko, who is being unlawfully held in occupied Crimea.
"Troubled by reports that Russian occupation authorities in Crimea tortured RFE/RL freelance journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko to coerce his confession. We call for his release, and for Russia to cease its reprisals against independent voices in Crimea. Crimea is Ukraine," U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price wrote on Twitter on April 13, 2021.
Read alsoOmbudsperson urges int'l community to react to Russian FSB torturing Ukrainian journalist in custodyBackground
- On March 10, 2021, Yesypenko was detained by Russia's FSB in temporarily occupied Crimea.
- He was charged with committing a crime under Part 1 of Article 223.1 of the Criminal Code of Russia (illegal manufacture, processing or repair of firearms, their main parts (except for firearms of limited destruction), as well as illegal manufacture of ammunition). The article provides for imprisonment for up to five years. Later, his charges were extended with espionage counts.
- The court ruled to keep Yesypenko in custody until May 11.
- Later, RFE/RL announced that Yesypenko had been cooperating with their project Krym.Realii.
- Lawyers Emil Kurbedinov and Alexey Laden, hired by Yesypenko's wife, are not allowed to see the defendant.
- On March 19, 2021, Kateryna Yesypenko called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the international community to help release her husband. She also informed about the pressure and torture that the occupying authorities had applied to her husband. She said she was afraid for his life.