Although we expected this decision to be as it is, all of us, friends and colleagues of Roman Sushchenko, still hoped for a miracle to happen. It has not. The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has upheld the verdict delivered by the Moscow City Court to Ukrinform journalist, sentencing him to 12 years in a high-security penal colony.
There is no point in discussing how just or unjust was the ruling. In a country where war crimes are considered a bravery, where freedom of speech is perceived a treason, where fully-equipped Russian law enforcement troops go unpunished beating Russian children in a peaceful protest, in a country where intimidation, torture and humiliating human dignity have become a new norm, - in such country there could be no talk about a just judiciary, a priori. The entire “case” is comprised of falsehoods and fakes and represents nothing else than a political reprisal. There are only two real reasons why the Kremlin, using its fully controlled judiciary, convicted Roman Sushchenko: firstly, because he is a journalist, and secondly, because he is Ukrainian. Russian authorities took revenge on Roman for being enough brave, loving his Motherland, for having not betrayed his principles by neither one word, nor one act, despite an overwhelming physical and moral pressure put on him by Russian jailers. Our colleague has again refuted today all accusations that the Russian special services tried to make up against him. We have a thousand times more reasons to believe one word of Roman than a thousand volumes of the fabricated case. All this now forces us to act.
Roman Sushchenko’s name will be voiced at each one and all of our events. We will fight for his release by all available means, up until we succeed in bringing him back home. We count on a solidarity of all the Ukrainian journalistic community, on a solidarity of the EU and the World.
We call on respected Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and all other international organizations and leaders to 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.
Roman Sushchenko is not a symbol. He is a living person, talented and kind-hearted. Severe challenges that he has to face now only opened up to all of us his real qualities, which we could have only guessed he had - his bravery, his ability to remain himself and not bow to any pressure. His love to his family and to Ukraine. We are convinced that it isn’t fear or hate that motivates our Roman, but love. With our colleague, our friend, a decent son, husband and father for his family, with people like him and with such love we will continue to stand up for ourselves and for Roman Sushchenko. Not under any circumstances would we abandon this fight. We will not let Russian criminals go away with it. Until the last Ukrainian political prisoner is freed from Russian jails and the last Russian soldier leaves the sovereign territory of Ukraine, we will not abandon our fight. We are together with you, Roman! Today and always!
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