Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 13.09.2018
The Putin regime that is invading Europe in Ukraine abducted Roman Sushchenko on 30 September 2016. Sushchenko is a Ukrainian citizen and a journalist based in France. He has an impeccable reputation for diligence as a journalist investigating the machinations of the Putin-Kremlin crime syndicate. After Putin regime officials captured him, Sushchenko was ‘charged’ with espionage, and then illegitimately convicted by a so-called court. On 12 September 2018, an entity of the Putin regime of state terrorism, the so-called “Supreme Court of the Russian Federation,” upheld the ‘conviction’ of Roman Sushchenko, and announced that Muscovy would hold him captive for 12 years.
Muscovy does not have the rule of law. There are no true courts of justice in the Russian Federation. The incarceration of Roman Sushchenko is the Putin regime of state terrorism exercising naked domination. Putin fears and hates Roman Sushchenko because he is Ukrainian and because he is a journalist. The very brittle Putin regime announced that it will hold Sushchenko hostage for 12 years out of pure panic and hysteria.
Roman Sushchenko works for Ukrinform, a Ukrainian news agency. On September 12, Ukrinform called on international journalist organizations to condemn what Putin is doing to Roman Sushchenko. “Join our protest against the unlawful ruling against the Ukrainian journalist and demand that the Russian authorities release Roman Sushchenko and bring him back home. We urgently need your support to make sure that Russia does not succeed in silencing Roman, as well as all other victims of the current political regime in Russia, who are oppressed simply for their political position, their professional activity or their citizenship," Ukrinform said in a statement.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) backed Ukrinform’s call. These professional organizations issued a statement: “The IFJ-EFJ joined its affiliates the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) and the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU) in condemning the harsh verdict and in urging Russian authorities to release Sushchenko until thorough evidence of the allegations against him has been presented.”
Also on September 12, the the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, reiterated his call on the Russian Federation to release Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko. In a tweet, he said that the confirmation of a 12 year ‘sentence’ was “deeply disappointing.”
Ivanna Klympush, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, wrote this on Twitter: “Russian court sentenced Ukrainian journalist and political prisoner Roman Sushchenko for 12 years. It's yet another brazen violation of free expression in Russia. Putin won't stop the terror and intimidation.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine demanded “the illegal sentencing of journalist Roman Sushchenko be immediately cancelled and his release and return to Ukraine be ensured.”
The case against Roman Sushchenko was falsified. There is a only a thin veneer of a legal system in the Russian Federation atop the brutal exercise of raw power by the Kremlin. Roman Sushchenko is not a convict – he is a hostage.
The world community must sanction every Russian official who is holding Roman Sushchenko hostage, from Putin on down to the jailers. The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia all have Magnitsky laws to punish corrupt foreign officials who violate international human rights and commit crimes against humanity. These countries must execute these laws in the clear-cut case of Roman Sushchenko – otherwise, having a Magnitsky law is meaningless.
Demanding that Putin release Sushchenko is useless. He won’t do it. Only strong, punitive, and economically crippling sanctions will make Putin sit up and take notice.
Putin is holding Roman Sushchenko hostage as part of his war against Ukraine and his war against Western civilization. Putin will never stop harming Ukrainians and attacking human freedoms such as freedom of expression until he is made to stop. Roman Sushchenko will only be freed by imposing the severest of punishments on the Putin regime of state terrorism.