Media Trade Union calls on journalists to give wide coverage of the detention of Ukrainian journalists in St. Petersburg


The Media Trade Union of Ukraine is outraged by the violations of human rights which occurred during the detention of Ukrainian citizens in St. Petersburg (Russia) during a peaceful protest action by antiglobalists.

In particular, on Sunday morning, 16 July 2006,  Maxim Butkevych, a Ukrainian citizen and journalist of the Television News Service “Studio 1+!”, was detained.

In violation of Russian Federation legislation, he, as well as 35 actual participants in the picket (among them another Ukrainian citizen), was taken away by police and held in a police station for over 3 hours without any explanation. Their demands to be allowed to see a lawyer were turned down, and led to threats that they would get even harsher conditions.

The Russian law enforcement officers from the Central Department of Internal Affairs in St. Petersburg also refused to inform the Ukrainian Consulate in the Russian Federation about the detention of our citizens and paid no heed to demands to this effect. For a long time the civic defence advisers who had arrived at the police station were not allowed to see those being held.

The Ukrainian Consul was informed of the detention through a telephone call from the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs after Ukrainian journalists telephoned the latter.

Yesterday evening the Kuybyshevskvy District Court in St. Petersburg sentenced Maxim Butkevych to three days custodial arrest “for not complying with the lawful instruction of a police officer”.  The journalist’s defence advisers assert that during the hearing there were numerous irregularities, and the judge dismissed inconvenient questions.

The Media Trade Union calls upon the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow to do all in its power to ensure that the Ukrainian journalist is returned as quickly as possible to Kyiv.

We also ask our Russian colleagues and colleagues in other countries to draw attention to this incident and to give wide coverage to the violations committed during the detention of those taking part in protest actions in St. Petersburg.

Institute for Mass Information, on information received from the Press Service of the Media Trade Union

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