Statement on the ban to enter Crimea for journalist Taras Ibragimov
Representatives of the Border Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation have banned Ukrainian journalist Taras Ibragimov from entering Crimean peninsula or Russian Federation for 34 years, until May 30th, 2054. The entry ban was issued on January 18th, 2020, the day when the journalist tried to enter the occupied Crimea.
Ibragimov considers the entry ban to be directly related to his work as a journalist, in particular to covering of the politically motivated trials against Crimean Tatars in Crimea and in the Russian Federation. He has also stated that precise reasons for the entry ban were not mentioned neither in the decree nor verbally.
Taras Ibragimov has been working in Crimea since 2016. In cooperation with a range of Ukrainian media he was covering politically motivated trials like “the case of February 26th”, cases of Ilmi Umerov, of Hizb ut-Tahrir, “the case of the Ukrainian saboteurs” etc. Taras was also communicating information on searches, arrests and abductions happening in Crimea. He was remaining one of the very few Ukrainian freelance journalists who were still traveling to the occupied Crimean peninsula.
We remind that this is not the first incident of entry ban being issued for Ukrainian journalists who cover repressions and human rights violations. On November 24th, 2018 the occupant administration has prohibited Ukrainian journalist Alyona Savchuk from entering Crimea for 10 years. On February 18th, 2019 an entry ban lasting for 9 years was issued for photojournalist Alina Smutko.
With such acts Russian Federation, the occupant-state, is trying to turn Crimea into an “information ghetto” and to take away the opportunity to work there from the very few freelancers who, despite risks and threats, continued traveling to the occupied peninsula. This is a breach of Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and of Article 2 of the Protocol 4 to the Convention.
Hence we demand from Russian Federation:
- To stop persecuting independent journalists in Crimea, cancel the entry bans and provide unrestricted access to Crimea to Ukrainian journalists, so that they can freely do their work.
Call upon the bodies of the Government of Ukraine to:
- Initiate a criminal prosecution of the fact of unlawful prohibition to enter Crimea for journalist Taras Ibragimov as well as of all other facts of interference in independent journalistic activity and of gross human rights violations in occupied Crimea.
We appeal to the international organizations and to the governmentns of democratic countries and ask to:
- Condemn Russian Federation’s acts of issuing entry bans for Ukrainian journalists and to demand ending interference in activities of independent media in Crimea.
- Strengthen the pressure on Russian authorities aimed at stopping of the persecution of journalists, bloggers and activists.
- Introduce personal sanctions against individuals, responsible for gross violations of human rights in occupied Crimea and for interference in professional activity of journalists.
- Strengthen sectoral sanctions against Russian Federation for the systematic gross violations of human rights in occupied Crimea, among them violations of the freedom of expression.
Human Rights Centre ZMINA
Crimean Human Rights Group
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Media Initiative for Human Rights
Association of relatives of political prisoners of the Kremlin
Center for Civil Liberties
Institute of Mass Information
DIYA Human Rights Center
Human Rights Platform