27 September 2013
IFJ/EFJ Demand Immediate Release of Russian Photographer
Russia, Press Freedom, Safety of Journalists, Press Release
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and
the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have called for the immediate
release of Russian photographer Denis Sinyakov who was onboard a Greenpeace
ship intercepted in Russian Arctic waters on September 19 and has now been
remanded in custody by a Russian court.
According to media reports, a court in Russia's northwestern city of Murmansk yesterday, Thursday 26 September, ordered that Sinyakov be placed in preventative custody for two months. The well-known freelance photographer, who works for news agencies such as Reuters and AFP, is one of 30 people on board the Greenpeace ship who have been accused of "piracy" for allegedly trying to board a Gazprom Oil Platform in a protest against oil drilling on the Artic.
"We are shocked and appalled at the decision of the Russian court to detain our colleague Denis Sinyakov who was arrested while carrying out his job as a journalist," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "This is a deeply worrying decision that violates press freedom and freedom of expression and we call on the authorities in Russia to release Sinyakov immediately and drop the investigation against him."
The Russian Union of Journalists has demanded that Sinyakov be released with immediate effect. RUJ President Vsevold Bogdanov has stated that Sinyakov's arrest and extended detention is a "dangerous attack on the status of the journalism profession in society."
Yesterday evening hundreds of journalists held a gathering outside the Russian Investigative Committee office in Moscow to show their solidarity with Sinyakov, chanting the slogan ‘A Journalist is Not A Pirate.'
"To accuse our colleague Denis Sinyakov of the criminal act of "piracy" for his journalistic coverage of the Greenpeace protest is simply absurd," said EFJ president Mogens Blicher-Bjerregård. "If Russia's Constitutional guarantees to protect freedom of expression have any foundation then he must be released immediately."
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries