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More than 100 Ukrainian and foreign journalists have been in Russian captivity since 2014 - IMI

In the photo: Ukrainian journalists held captive in Russia


On Journalist's Day, the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers honors the memory of all media professionals who died in the Russian-Ukrainian war, and also remembers colleagues who are illegally held in enemy captivity.


Since 2014, Russians have been arresting and abducting Ukrainian media workers in the temporarily occupied territories. As of June 2024, at least 28 media workers are imprisoned in Russia or in the temporarily occupied territories. This was reported by the National Union of Journalists.


“The Russian armed forces detained and threatened... categories of civilians perceived to be opposed to the occupation, including journalists, civil servants, officials and civil rights activists,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a report dated March 20, 2024.


Oksana Romaniuk, director of the Institute of Mass Information (IMI), said at a press conference “Illegal Detention, Torture, Slavery: How and Why Russia Wages War on Ukrainian Media Professionals” that more than 100 Ukrainian and foreign journalists have been held in Russian captivity since 2014. “What Russia is doing is definitely a crime. I would say that it is a crime of genocide, because we see the filtering of citizens on a certain basis. That is why it is very important that international organizations are actively involved in helping Ukraine,” noted the IMI director.


The NUJU Information Service reports on 28 civilian journalists held captive by the Russian Federation:


  1. Oleksiy Bessarabov, Ukrainian journalist and political analyst, former serviceman of the Ukrainian Navy. He lived in Sevastopol, worked as a correspondent for Glavred, collaborated with the Nomos think tank, and was deputy editor-in-chief of the Black Sea Security magazine. He was detained by the FSB on November 9, 2016 on charges of sabotage and terrorist activities. He was tortured with electric shocks. On April 4, 2019, he was sentenced to 14 years in a strict regime colony in a clearly falsified case.

  2. Dudka Volodymyr, Ukrainian military sailor, safety engineer, political analyst, collaborated with the Black Sea Security magazine. He was detained by the FSB on November 9, 2016 on charges of sabotage and terrorist activities. He was tortured with electric shocks. On April 4, 2019, he was sentenced to 14 years in a strict regime colony in a clearly falsified case.

  3. Dmytro Shtyblikov, Ukrainian journalist, reserve officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, head of international programs at the Nomos think tank, deputy editor-in-chief of the Black Sea Security magazine. He was detained by the FSB on November 9, 2016 on charges of sabotage and terrorist activities. In May 2017, under coercion and threats against his family members, he entered into a pre-trial agreement, pleading guilty. On November 16, 2017, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison in a strict regime colony. On November 8, 2021, when he was supposed to be released, he was arrested on charges of “high treason” and remained in custody.

  4. Ernes Ametov, a civilian journalist, actively covered human rights violations in the occupied Crimea. He was arrested on October 11, 2017, on charges of participating in the Muslim organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is recognized as a “terrorist” organization in Russia. On September 16, 2020, he was acquitted, but the Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal on March 14, 2022. On December 29, 2022, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

  5. Marlen (Suleyman) Asanov, a photographer, popularizer of Crimean Tatar culture and citizen journalist, actively covered searches and trials. He was arrested on October 11, 2017, on charges of participating in the Muslim organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, recognized as a “terrorist” organization in Russia. He was sentenced to 19 years in a maximum security prison. Due to the conditions of detention and prolonged stay in the punishment cell, he is often ill.

  6. Ibragimov Timur, a civilian journalist, actively covered human rights violations in the occupied Crimea. He was arrested on October 11, 2017, on charges of participating in the Muslim organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, recognized as a “terrorist” organization in Russia. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison in a strict regime colony.

  7. Saliyev Seiran, a civilian journalist, actively covered searches and trials. He was arrested on October 11, 2017, on charges of participating in the Muslim organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, recognized as a “terrorist” organization in Russia. He was sentenced to 15 years in a maximum security prison.

  8. Mustafayev Server, human rights defender, one of the organizers and coordinators of the Crimean Solidarity, civilian journalist, conducted systematic monitoring of the situation in Crimea and covered politically motivated trials in the media. He was arrested on May 21, 2018, on charges of participating in the Muslim organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, recognized as a “terrorist” organization in Russia. He was sentenced to 14 years in a maximum security prison. He filed a number of lawsuits about the seizure of his Quran and personal belongings, the lack of adequate medical care and other violations by the management of “correctional” institutions.

  9. Ruslan Suleymanov, a citizen journalist, covered human rights violations in the occupied Crimea. He was arrested on March 27, 2019, on charges of participating in the Muslim organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is recognized as a “terrorist” organization in Russia. He was sentenced to 14 years in a maximum security prison.

  10. Sheikhaliev Rustem, a civilian journalist, covered human rights violations in the occupied Crimea, primarily “judicial” processes. He was arrested on March 27, 2019, on charges of participating in the Muslim organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is recognized as a “terrorist” organization in Russia. Despite severe illnesses (chronic pyelonephritis, prolapse of the right kidney, varicose veins in the legs), he was sentenced to 14 years in a maximum security colony.

  11. Bekirov Remzi, a civilian journalist, correspondent for Grani.ru, covered high-profile cases against Crimean Tatars in occupied Crimea. He was arrested on March 28, 2019, on charges of participating in the Muslim organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is recognized as a “terrorist” organization in Russia. He was sentenced to 19 years in prison in a strict regime colony.

  12. Arifmemetov Osman, a writer, winner of literary competitions, citizen journalist, actively covered searches and trials, helped to make broadcasts to the pre-trial detention center for unjustly convicted Crimean Tatars. He was arrested on March 28, 2019, on charges of participating in the Muslim organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is recognized as a “terrorist” organization in Russia. He was sentenced to 14 years in a maximum security prison.

  13. Vladyslav Yesypenko, journalist of the Krym.Realii project of Radio Liberty. He was arrested on March 10, 2021, after filming the laying of flowers at the monument to Taras Shevchenko in Simferopol the day before; for a month, his relatives did not know what happened to him. He was first accused of espionage, and later of possessing and transporting an explosive device. Vladislav was tortured with electric shocks and threatened with murder. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison in a general regime colony. The case of Vladislav Yesypenko, in fact, became a “methodology” for fabricating cases against other journalists. Winner of the 2022 Ihor Lubchenko National Prize for the Protection of Freedom of Speech.

  14. Amet Suleymanov, a civilian journalist, covered human rights violations in the occupied Crimea. He was arrested on March 12, 2020, on charges of participating in the Muslim organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, recognized as a “terrorist” organization in Russia. Despite his severe heart disease (doctors recommended replacing his heart mitral valve), he was sentenced to 12 years in a maximum security prison. He was under house arrest, and after the sentence came into force (on April 5, 2023), he was imprisoned. He is being held in conditions that contribute to the exacerbation of his illness.

  15. Akhtemov Asan, a Crimean journalist, correspondent and assistant editor of the Avdet newspaper. Detained on September 3, 2021 on charges of blowing up a gas pipeline near Simferopol. He was subjected to torture and psychological pressure by FSB officers. Despite the obvious falsification of “evidence”, he was sentenced to 13 years in a maximum security colony.

  16. Dzhelial Nariman, a Crimean journalist, worked for the ATR TV channel and the Avdet newspaper. Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people. Detained on September 4, 2021, on charges of blowing up a gas pipeline near Simferopol. Despite the apparent falsification of “evidence”, he was sentenced to 17 years in prison in a maximum security colony.

  17. Dmytro Khyliuk, a journalist for UNIAN, was captured by the Russian military on March 3, 2022, in his parents' yard in the village of Kozarovychi, Vyshgorod district, Kyiv region. No official charges have been brought against him. According to an investigation by Reporters Without Borders, as of July 2023, he was being held in a penitentiary in the Vladimir region of the Russian Federation.

  18. Serhiy Tsyhypa, a public figure and journalist from Nova Kakhovka, detained on March 12, 2022, was sentenced to 13 years in prison on charges of espionage by the occupation Simferopol 'court' on October 6, 2023. On February 14, 2024, the appellate 'court' upheld the sentence.

  19. Iryna Danilovych, Crimean nurse, trade union and civic activist, citizen journalist of the Crimean Process. Abducted in Koktebel on April 29, 2022; held in the basement, tortured and intimidated. She was accused of manufacturing and possessing an improvised explosive device. She was sentenced to 7 years in prison. While in prison, her health deteriorated significantly, she lost her hearing and suffered a stroke. Due to the lack of medical care, she went on a dry hunger strike.

  20. Temeryanov Vilen, a civilian journalist, later a journalist for Grani.ru, actively covered human rights violations in the occupied Crimea. He was arrested on August 11, 2022, on charges of participating in the Muslim organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is recognized as a “terrorist” organization in Russia. In detention, he was subjected to a forced psychiatric examination; in addition, the journalist's eyesight deteriorated sharply. As of April 2024, the verdict has not yet been passed.

  21. Iryna Levchenko, a journalist from Melitopol, was detained on May 6, 2023, together with her husband Oleksandr. It is not known what she is accused of and where she is being held.

  22. Victoria Roshchyna, a freelance journalist, has worked for Ukrainska Pravda, Hromadske Radio, and Radio Liberty. She was held in Russian captivity twice. The first captivity was on March 16-22, 2022, when she was detained in Berdiansk. For the second time, Victoria disappeared on August 3, 2023, in the occupied territory, from where she planned to report. Russia has admitted that it is holding Ukrainian journalist Viktoria Roshchyna. The Russian Ministry of Defense sent a confirmation to her father, Volodymyr Roshchyn.

  23. Levchenko Georgiy, the administrator of the RIA Melitopol telegram channel, was arrested by the FSB in Melitopol on August 20, 2023, as a “Ukrainian terrorist,” as recorded in a Russian propaganda video. It is currently unknown where the journalist is being held.

  24. Anastasia Glukhovska, before the full-scale invasion, was a journalist for RIA Melitopol, arrested by the FSB in Melitopol on August 20, 2023, as recorded in a Russian propaganda video. But the FSB does not officially recognize Anastasia's detention. It is not known where she is being held.

  25. Yana Suvorova, the administrator of the Melitopol is Ukraine Telegram channel, was arrested by the FSB on August 20, 2023, as a “Ukrainian terrorist,” as documented in a Russian propaganda video. It is unknown where she is being held.

  26. Osmanov Rustem, a civilian journalist, covered human rights violations in occupied Crimea. He was arrested on March 5, 2024, on charges of participating in the Muslim organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, recognized as a “terrorist” organization in Russia. The Russian “Kyiv District Court” of Simferopol imposed a pre-trial restraint of two months in custody.

  27. Aziz Aziz, a civilian journalist, covered human rights violations in occupied Crimea. He was arrested on March 5, 2024, on charges of participating in the Muslim organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is recognized as a “terrorist” organization in Russia. The Russian “Kyiv District Court” of Simferopol imposed a pre-trial restraint of two months in custody.

  28. Gennadiy Osmak, a journalist from Genichesk, former editor-in-chief of the Novyi Visit media outlet. On March 12, 2022, he announced that he would stop working in the media. On March 7, 2024, it became known that he was detained for “participation in an illegal military group” (“popularization of the terrorist battalion named after Noman Chelebidzhikhan”). He faces 15 years in prison.


The NUJU Information Service reports on two journalists who were captured while serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine:


  1. Maksym Butkevych, human rights activist, journalist, founder of the Zmina Human Rights Center and Hromadske Radio. With the outbreak of full-scale aggression, he mobilized and was taken prisoner in June 2022. In March 2023, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison on false charges of injuring civilians. On March 13, 2024, the Court of Cassation upheld the sentence.

  2. Oleksandr Gudilin, a journalist for the Mariupol-based 0629.com. With the outbreak of full-scale war, he mobilized for territorial defense and guarded various facilities in Mariupol. On April 12, 2022, he was taken prisoner. The Donetsk regional organization of the NUJU insists on Oleksandr's immediate release.


Also, after the clashes near Chasovyi Yar, Donetsk region, an employee of Ukrainski Novyny, a mechanized company commander and junior lieutenant of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksandr Petrakovskyi, did not return from a combat mission. According to the publication, citing Oleksandr's colleagues and family, he went into the last battle at the head of the group. The position was taken quickly, but, unfortunately, not for long. “A mine hit the dugout. No one else came out of it. We searched for the wounded with a copter. Our guys went to pick up the bodies twice, but to no avail. The position is now under the enemy's control,” said the comrades-in-arms.

 

Heavenly photographers. Documentarians, naturalists and commercial photographers who were killed by Russians in the war. Eternal memory to the brave and talented photographers who died documenting the Russian invasion or defending their country with guns instead of cameras.

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