«We, the undersigned participants of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s 2018 Anna Politkovskaya Seminar in Sundvolden, Norway call on the de-facto authorities in Donetsk to immediately release independent journalist Stanislav Aseyev who was detained by members of the Donetsk People’s Republic group on 2 June, 2017.
Aseyev, who wrote under the pseudonym Stanislav Vasin for outlets like RFE/RL and Dzerkalo Tyzhnia was the only independent journalist brave enough to continue to live and work in Donetsk when he was apprehended. He frequently reported on daily life in the war-torn city and was known for his even-handed treatment of both the Ukrainian government and pro-Russia groups fighting for control of the area.
“The Anna Politkovskaya Seminar is named after the one of the bravest journalists to ever have come out of Russia”, said Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. “Bearing in mind Politkovskaya’s contribution to modern journalism and her willingness to report from dangerous areas, it is fitting today to ask for the release of Stanislav Aseyev in Donetsk”, he continued.
Participants at the Anna Politkovskaya seminar are concerned by recent reports of Aseyev’s treatment at the hands of his captors who have allegedly denied him medicines and have held him in a cold and damp environment. It is also believed that a «confession» tape that has surfaced in the Russian media in which he admits to espionage was produced under severe duress.
“No reporter should ever be detained for simply doing their job”, said journalist Simon Ostrovsky, one of the participants at the NHC seminar, who himself spent three days in captivity in the Donetsk region in 2014. “Stanislav has been held for over 18 months in conditions that are hard to imagine for anyone who hasn’t experience a kidnapping like this themselves. That’s why I know we have to urgently get the word out about his situation and secure his release as soon as possible”.
The undersigned also call on the government of Russia to use any and all levers of influence available to it to pressure the de-facto authorities in Donetsk to release Aseyev. We also call on the government of Ukraine to make Aseyev’s release a higher priority and to raise his case in meetings with its international partners.»