Russian officials sanctioned for abuse of Crimea journalist


The Council of the European Union announced sanctions Sept. 8 on six Russians it says committed rights violations in Crimea. The six individuals were singled out for participating in legal proceedings against Ukrainian journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko, who was targeted by Russia for his outspoken opposition to the Russian occupation of Crimea. Federal Security Service (FSB) agent Vitaliy Vlasov was sanctioned for his investigation of Yesypenko. Denis Korovin, another FSB agent, was sanctioned for allegedly participating in Yesypenko’s torture.

Russian security forces arrested the journalist in 2021 after they allegedly found a hand-grenade in his car. Yesypenko disputed the charges, saying the grenade was planted He also claimed that he was tortured with electric shocks by members of FSB during his detention. Later, the Simferopol District Court, which was set up by Russian authorities after their 2014 annexation of Crimea, sentenced Yesypenko to six years in prison.

The EU sanctions also targeted individuals involved in court proceedings against Yesypenko: prosecuting attorneys Elena Podolnaya and Anastasia Supryaga; the judge in the case, Dliaver Berberov; and Viktor Krapko, the Crimean Supreme Court justice who allegedly authorized abusive searches against Yesypenko and others. Several of the sanctioned individuals were also singled out for their alleged participation in “systematic persecution campaigns” against Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Crimean Tatar community, and other minorities.

According to the Official Journal of the European Union, the EU continues to not recognize the annexation of Crimea by Russia. The Council documents also say the EU is “concerned about the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula.” The Russian Federation continues to frame its occupation of the Crimean peninsula as a “re-integration.”

From Jurist, Sept. 8. Used with permission.

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