A Russian court sentenced Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko to 12 years in jail on Monday, convicting him on charges of espionage which his lawyer and Ukraine deny. The case is classified and was examined behind closed doors.
Kyiv, human rights activists, and Western governments say Russian Federation has jailed several Ukrainians on trumped-up, politically motivated charges since Moscow seized the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and threw its support behind armed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
A member of the sports committee of the Russian lower house, Dmitry Svishchev, said in May that Ukrainian fans and tourists were always welcome in Russia.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists also urged Russian Federation to immediately set Sushchenko free.
"I call on the Russian authorities to review Sentsov's case and to release him immediately", OSCE representative on freedom of the media Harlem Desir wrote in an open letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, blasted the court's decision arguing that the conviction was politically-motivated.
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The stations are run by border patrol and by no means equipped for the longterm housing and care of children. Almost half of these children are under the age of 12, according to documents obtained by the news network.
Roman Suschenko. Screenshot via Радик Сафин/Youtube.
Sushchenko's lawyer, Mark Feigin, earlier told AFP that prosecutors had asked for a 14-year sentence, out of a maximum of 20 years.
According to the publication, the journalist at the time of arrest in 2016 was on vacation and arrived in Moscow in the private sector. Last week, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maryana Betsa said the journalist was a "hostage to Russian aggression".
"If we must defend freedom of the press, if we must protect journalists, we must employ these type of techniques", he added.
The Babchenko incident continues to generate questions and conspiracy theories. The conflict in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 10,000 people.
"We are deeply troubled by the deteriorating conditions for free expression in Russia, and a growing number of journalists and writers wrongfully prosecuted and repressed by the Russian government, including Roman Sushchenko and Oleg Sentsov", said PEN America Project Director for Eurasia Polina Kovaleva.