Skip to comments.Ukrainian Journalist Yuri Lelyavsky Freed (Slovyansk-RiaNovosti Journo)
Posted on 05/13/2014 9:27:37 AM PDT by tcrlaf
Censor.net reports that Yuri Lelyavsky, a journalist who was abducted by separatists in Slavyansk on April 25, has been freed. They report that Lelyavsky gave a press conference in his home town of Lviv on Monday.
They report (translated by The Interpreter):
According to him, militants abducted him on April 25, a few hours after his arrival in the town, and detained him for 15 days, reports Censor.NET with reference to Podrobnosti.
"All that time I was in the basement of the SBU building. They kept me in a common room for the first few ours, but they then moved me to a smaller room, where my neighbours were first, a policeman, and then a Ukrainian army officer", he said. As the journalist says, he was detained by the local militia after he asked people at a barricade for comment. And the most likely reason for his detention was his residency in Lviv, despite the fact that he works for RIA Novosti in Kiev. But he hadn't taken his journalistic accreditation with him because he feared that Ukrainian security officers outside Slavyansk would not allow him into the town if they saw his Russian media korochka [ID wallet].
Regarding the conditions of his detention, the journalist said that for several days he slept on boards like two tree stumps. On his diet, Lelyavsky said that he was given small portions of home-made food, which were brought by the guards, as well as hot tea.
"I don't know all of the circumstances of my release", said Lelyavsky. However he said that he regularly appealed to the guards to allow him a phone call to the editor of RIA Novosti to confirm that he was a journalist.
Zik, for whom Lelyavsky works, in addition to RIA Novosti, also reported on Lelyavsky's press conference. He mentioned that he and his fellow detainees feared the mornings because they worried that the separatists would be out for revenge following losses in the fighting that took place on nights. He also described the wider situation in Slavyansk:
... he said that as far as he had learned, 90% or maybe more of the population of Slavyansk did indeed support separation from Ukraine. "Families are standing" at the barricades, bringing home-made food, and those who call themselves "militiamen" say that they "have come out to defend their homes". According to the journalist, certain statements by radical, nationalist politicians are always being circulated there, and they are constantly using these to turn the locals against the wider Ukraine.
Following Lelyavsky's abduction, the Committee to Protect Journalists wrote:
On Friday, Yuri Lelyavsky, a special correspondent for the Lviv-based ZIK media holding company, was abducted by assailants in Sloviansk while he was filming in the street. He was taken to a local municipality building, which had been captured by pro-Russia separatists, according to the Kiev-based press freedom group Institute of Mass Information citing journalists who witnessed the incident. Lelyavsky has not been heard from since, IMI said.
Zik reported that he is "feeling fine, but will still go for a medical examination tomorrow." They note that:
He recommends that his other colleagues and journalists think carefully on whether or not to go to Slavyansk, as it is now really dangerous. He himself intends to go to the hot spots once again, though he does not want to disclose exactly where.
So far I’ve been thoroughly unimpressed with these Pro-Russian separatists. I’m not sure why Ukraine wants them in their country. I know it has more to do with land and resources.
Don’t you think it might have something to do with people who live there who are loyal to the Ukraine, and wish things to remain as they are?
I’m not convinced we’re getting an accurate picture of what the broad body of people think in that region. Already we’re hearing of arrests of people who spoke out again breaking away.
Seems to me the folks who wanted to remain a part of the Ukraine had fairly good reason why not to express their views.
There are a lot of people in the East who want to stay in Ukraine. This is a revolution. They’re messy I guess.