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03.07.2010

Defenders of Free Speech detained outside a meeting with Hillary Clinton

   

On 2 July, during a meeting between students and members of civic society* with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Kyiv Polytechnic, the police and people in plain clothes detained picketers protesting against censorship in the media. The activists of the “Freedom of Speech” initiative were simply holding banners reading “This country has censorship” [in English] and handing out information about their organization. Despite the fact that the picket was legal, with the Kyiv City Administration having been notified, and with the relevant registration number confirming their application), the police arrested Viacheslav Kononov (coordinator of the “Freedom of Speech” initiative) and took him to the Solomensk Police Station. He is accused under Article 152 of the Code of Administrative Offences (disturbance to the city landscape).

According to Mr Kononov, the activists were simply trying to draw the US Secretary of State’s attention to cases of censorship in the media, and also inform of attempts by the Head of the Security Service [Valery Khoroshkovsky – also a media magnate] to close the television channels TVI and Channel 5.

Hillary Clinton had earlier stated that freedom of speech is vital most of all to the Ukrainian society and that they should realize this.

 

*  (there is no indication how these people were chosen – translator)

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