Concern for civic activist and journalist seized by Luhansk militants


There has been no contact with Serhiy Saladynsky, head of the Luhansk Eastern Ukraine Centre and chief editor of an Internet publication Politika 2.0, since July 28.  The websites of educational programmes he was involved in have been hacked.  There are very good grounds for assuming that he was abducted by Kremlin-backed militants from the self-proclaimed Luhansk people’s republic. Two weeks before his disappearance, armed men in camouflage gear burst into the Politika 2.0 office and seized computer, photographic and video equipment.

There is still no sign of journalist Oleksandr Bilokobylsky.  As reported here, he disappeared after setting off on Sept 13 from Kharkiv to take food and medicines to relatives in Luhansk.   On Sept 16 the journalist’s wife received a text message from an unknown number but signed with her husband’s name.  The message was that he was alive and well, but could not come back.

Human rights groups believe that Bilokobylsky was probably abducted because of his journalist activities. They point out that he has written material criticizing, albeit mildly, the so-called Luhansk people’s republic.

Activists from the Postup Human Rights Centre; Vostok SOS and the Crimean “Action” Human Rights Centre have issued an appeal asking international media and human rights organizations to pay heed to ongoing pressure on journalists and civic activists in the area under the control of the so-called Luhansk people’s republic.

They stress that hostage-taking, imprisonment without trial; torture and ill-treatment under the LPR have become everyday occurrences.

“We ask all interested organizations and intergovernmental institutions who monitor the observance of human rights, in the shortest time to update in the multilateral negotiations information about inadmissible pressure on journalists in the self-declared "Luganks Republic" and demand the immediate and unconditional release of Alexander Belokobylskij and Sergei Sakadynskij”

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