Kirill Vyshinsky released from custody: statement by «Solidarity Network»

Switzerland. Vyshinsky is free

The «Solidarity Network», represented by its representative in Ukraine, the lawyer Andrey Gozhiy, who is on the work train, including on the “Vyshinsky case” in Switzerland, welcomes the decision of the Ukrainian justice system to change the measure of restraint for Kirill Vyshinsky. Ukraine’s respect for human rights and the prevention of politically motivated persecution is a crucial part of the integration of all the country’s state institutions, in line with the pursuit of European values of freedoms and principles.

On 28 August 2019, the Kiev Court of Appeal released Vyshinsky from custody on personal recognizance.

The international human rights organisation «Solidarity Network» (Bern, Switzerland) has done a lot of political and diplomatic work for the release from custody of journalist Kirill Vyshinsky, who is being tried in Ukraine on charges of treason. A change in power in the country was an important factor in the release of the political prisoner, but if human rights activists had ignored the lawlessness against Vyshinsky for more than a year, justice would have been harder to achieve in this case. As an accession candidate to the EU, Ukraine needs to respect rights under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, in particular those of freedom of expression, association, expression of opinion and conscience and the prohibition of torture and other ill treatment.

Kirill Vyshinsky, editor-in-chief of RIA Novosti Ukraine, was arrested by the Security Service of Ukraine on 15 May 2018 in Kiev. On that day, law enforcers conducted searches at the newspaper’s editorial office, as well as in Vyshinsky’s flat. The detainee was charged under Article 111 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code, “high treason”, which provides for a penalty of up to 15 years in prison with confiscation of property.

The charges were that the agency run by Vyshinsky for four years had filled the Ukrainian media space with “distorted information” and justified the “occupation of Crimea”.

After scrutinising Vyshinsky’s case, the «Solidarity Network» recognised him as a political prisoner on 29 July 2019. In doing so, the human rights organization sent an official appeal to the Ukrainian president, government and prosecutor-general demanding the immediate release of the journalist from custody.

Commenting on the Ukrainian justice’s decision to release the journalist, the head of the «Solidarity Network»’s office in Kiev, Andriy Hozhyy, described Vyshinsky as a victim of political confrontation, which has recently affected a number of other journalists in Ukraine.

«Solidarity Network» welcomes Vyshinsky’s release from custody, Ukraine’s observance of human rights and prevention of politically motivated persecution is an extremely important component of the integration of all state institutions in the country in line with the course to implement European values of freedoms and principles, Andrey Gozhiy said.

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