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Duma motion attacks Ukrainian detention of Russian reporters

Published time: May 21, 2014 10:13
Edited time: May 21, 2014 14:19
The Russian detained journalists are being investigated on the charges of “aiding the terrorist groups”. Screenshot from YouTube (Life-Maria Channel)

The Russian detained journalists are being investigated on the charges of “aiding the terrorist groups”. Screenshot from YouTube (Life-Maria Channel)

The Russian Lower House calls the detention of Russian reporters in Ukraine a crime against the freedom of speech, and urges international journalist groups and human rights organizations to denounce the Kiev authorities.

An official State Duma motion on the holding of Russia's Lifenews journalists Marat Saichenko and Oleg Sidyakin has been prepared by the majority United Russia caucus. It was supported and jointly drafted by all four parliamentary factions.

It was passed unanimously on Wednesday afternoon.

The document reads that the reporters detained in Ukraine and charged with terrorism fell victim to a provocation and should be released immediately.

The employees of one of Russia’s mass media institutions were engaged in spreading truthful information from the places of events from the very beginning of the Ukrainian crisis in November-December of 2013. Now they fell victim of a provocation by the self-appointed Kiev authorities who find it extremely undesirable to allow independent reporters to places of punitive operations conducted by the national guard, the ultra-radicals from the Right Sector movement, and those of the Ukrainian military who are ready to execute the unlawful orders and open fire on civilians,” the document reads.

Russian MPs added that they were sure that the accounts of journalists reporting on the "scenes of crimes" committed by those who were sent by the Kiev government to wage a war against their own people, would become the basis of a future criminal investigation and prosecution of those guilty of violation of basic human rights, including the right to life.

The arbitrary moves against the representatives of the mass media is becoming a tradition of the current Kiev authorities who only emptily declare their adherence to the principles of democracy, of which the freedom of the press is an inseparable part,” reads the message. Russian deputies also said that the level of arbitrariness in Ukraine is increasing as the date of the presidential elections is coming nearer.

The State Duma demanded that the Ukrainian authorities immediately released the imprisoned Russian journalists and punish all those responsible for violating their right to perform their professional duty.

In connection with the incident the Russian parliamentarians also called upon the PACE, foreign governments and international organizations to intervene and raise their voices to protect the Russian reporters.

We expect resolute actions aimed at the release of the Russian journalists on the part of the Western capitals without whose silent consent and direct approval the Kiev authorities would never dare to launch repressions against the journalistic activities,” the document reads.

Journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko. Image from www.lifenews.ru

Marat Saichenko and Oleg Sidyakin were detained by pro-Kiev troops on Sunday in the turbulent Donetsk Region. The Ukrainian Security Service accused the reporters of aiding terrorism claiming that government agents had found a portable surface-to-air missile in their car. The whereabouts of the two reporters are currently unknown.

The detention has already sparked outrage from Moscow, calls for their swift release from the OSCE, and from the public in Russia and other countries who supported that #SaveOurGuys hashtag campaign launched by Lifenews shortly after the incident.

Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that “all possible tools” were being used for the quickest release of the reporters, including the Foreign Ministry, the OSCE mechanisms, the rights ombudsman and NGOs.

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