The Secretariat of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (hereinafter – NUJU) awarded the Ihor Lubchenko National Prize for the Protection of Freedom of Speech to the freelance journalist of the media agency “Krym.Realii” Vladyslav Yesypenko, convicted in the occupied Crimea.
“Vladislav Yesypenko did a very big job: when all professional journalists were forced out of Crimea, when all independent TV channels were closed there, and Ukrainian journalists were banned from entering Crimea, he dared to come to Crimea and make truthful reports from there. This made it possible, at least to a certain extent, to ensure freedom of speech in the occupied Crimea,” says Mykola Semena, a Crimean journalist and the secretary of the NUJU.
“Radio Liberty” freelance journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko highlighted the social and environmental issues of the occupied peninsula, filmed surveys of residents. On 10 March 2021, FSB officers detained him on charges of allegedly collecting information “in the interests of the special services of Ukraine” and storing an “improvised explosive device” in a car. At a court hearing in occupied Simferopol, where an independent lawyer was admitted, Vladyslav claimed torture by the occupation special services. On 16 February, the so-called “Simferopol District Court” illegally sentenced Yesypenko to 6 years in a general regime colony and a fine of 110,000 rubles. On 18 August the “Appeal court” sentenced the journalist to 5 years in prison, but the defense will file a cassation appeal and ask for Yesypenko’s parole.