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‘Arbitrary treatment’: Ukrainian court extends detention of Russian journalist by another month

‘Arbitrary treatment’: Ukrainian court extends detention of Russian journalist by another month
A court in the Ukrainian city of Kherson has prolonged the arrest of a Russian journalist held by Kiev on treason charges. Kiev refuses to release the man suffering from health issues despite criticism voiced by Moscow and OSCE.

The Kherson city court ruled that the head of RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency, Kirill Vyshinsky, would stay in jail at least until January 27, thus extending his arrest for another month, his lawyer told the Russian media. The court also dismissed the lawyer’s motions to release the journalist under his guarantees and the change of pretrial restraining order.

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Vyshinsky’s health continues to deteriorate behind bars. He was taken to hospital during a court hearing in Kherson, in September. His lawyer said that the man suffered a heart attack in detention.

Ukrainian doctors argued that his health was satisfactory enough for him to stay in the cell. However, the defense believes that the medical check was not thorough enough.

The latest court decision provoked an angry response from Moscow. The Russian Foreign Ministry demanded Kiev stop “arbitrary treatment” of the journalist and release him “immediately.” Moscow repeatedly called on Kiev to stop the persecution of journalists while Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has decried Vyshinsky’s arrest as “unprecedented.”

Earlier, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) also urged Ukraine to release the RIA employee and refrain from interfering with the freedom of the press. Vyshinsky was arrested more than seven months ago, in May, and charged with high treason.

Prosecutors claimed that he backed the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk while the journalist maintains he was doing his job and just covered the positions of both sides of the Ukrainian conflict.

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