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MOSCOW, May 23 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Human Rights Ombudsman Ella Pamfilova has asked Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, for assistance in releasing two Russian journalists detained in Ukraine.
“First of all, I would like to call your attention to the detention of two Russian nationals, Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko. The fact that the journalists of the LifeNews portal were detained on May 18, 2014 while performing their professional duties in covering the events in Ukraine on a far-fetched charge of ‘complicity to terrorism’ is a source of our special concern,” Pamfilova wrote in her letter to Mijatovic.
“I assume that it is impossible to equalize the coverage of an event to participating in it,” Pamfilova added.
She noted that Russia did not have any trustworthy or detailed information on the true nature of accusations; the place and conditions of custody and on whether the journalists’ were enjoying procedural protection and guarantees.
Pamfilova asked Mijatovic to use her high status and international authority for releasing the Russian journalists from captivity in the territory of Ukraine.
Pamfilova has sent a similar message to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Ukraine’s National Guard detained LifeNews journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko near the city of Kramatorsk, the Donetsk region, last Sunday on May 18. That was when they contacted their colleagues for the last time.
Viktoria Syumar, Ukraine’s deputy secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, accused journalists of complicity to terrorism.
Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said that Russia used all the available instruments to seek the journalists’ release.
On May 19, Mijatovic sent a letter to Ukraine’s parliament-appointed Interior Minister Arsen Avakov in which she voiced her concern over the detention and asked the Ukrainian authorities to release the journalists and investigate the incident, the press service of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reports.