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‘I hope freedom of speech will be real value, not empty words’ – Vyshinsky after 1yr in Ukraine jail

‘I hope freedom of speech will be real value, not empty words’ – Vyshinsky after 1yr in Ukraine jail
Freedom of speech in Ukraine has been reduced to an empty formula, journalist Kirill Vyshinsky told RT in an exclusive interview upon his release on personal recognizance. Yet, he still hopes the situation might soon improve.

“My own fate is a living proof of the fact that the situation with the freedom of speech in our country leaves much to be desired,” Vyshinsky said. “I am a professional journalist, who worked in full accordance with journalistic standards. Yet, I have spent a year in jail. I believe it is not the best characteristic of the freedom of speech” in Ukraine.

The man looked visibly exhausted. He said he received very little news from the world beyond his cell during this whole time and hopes now to catch up with his own life by attending to some personal matters. “The fact of imprisonment itself was the hardest part” of his life over the last year, he admitted.

“Freedom is the core value. I have understood that over the past year.”

From the very beginning, Vyshinsky maintained he was a victim of political persecution. He already claimed in court that the charges against him were launched to boost the low approval rating of the previous president, Petro Poroshenko, who eventually lost to the current Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Also on rt.com Ukrainian court releases Russian journalist Vyshinsky on personal recognizance

Now, the journalist still believes that a guilty verdict against him is simply impossible unless it is forced upon a court through political pressure. “If there is no political leverage, there will be no guilty verdict.”

The man recalled that even his cellmates and prison administration mostly treated him well and even developed cordial relations with him in some cases as they were “well aware of the circumstances of my imprisonment and understood just how unsubstantiated my charges really were.”

READ MORE: Kiev offers to swap detained Russian journalist Vyshinsky for terrorism convict Sentsov

Yet, Vyshinsky has high hopes for Ukraine’s future – particularly when it comes to freedom of speech. He assessed the work of the current president, Zelensky, with cautious optimism as he said that the new Ukrainian leader and his team demonstrate greater respect for democratic values than his predecessor.

“I hope that the freedom of speech will be a real value for them and not just empty words as it was for many politicians during Poroshenko’s rule.”

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