Espreso. Global
OPINION

Russian sentence for Gordon

2 July, 2024 Tuesday
16:37

The Western District Military Court of Russia sentenced Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Gordon in absentia to 14 years in prison for calling for war against Russia. The judges granted the prosecution's request for this sentence

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Dmytro Gordon and I have different views on journalism and politics in Ukraine. However, this harsh sentence is clearly political persecution, pressure, and intimidation of those whose views differ from the Russian rulers' revanchist and chauvinistic ideals.

Calling this Western District Military Court a court, and the sentence a judicial decision, requires a vivid imagination. It's actually a mafia-style attack on someone who criticized Russia's aggressive policies toward his Motherland.

TASS reported that the case against Gordon was due to his calls to kill Russian dictator Putin and Belarusian dictator Lukashenko. Gordon had interviewed Lukashenko before Russia's major attack on Ukraine. However, there are no specifics on where and when these calls were made. The charges against Gordon include public appeals to justify terrorism, start a war of aggression, and spread fake news about the Russian army based on political hatred.

In simple terms, they're accusing Gordon of telling the truth about the Ukrainian people's resistance and the army's fight against Russia's terrorist actions. He's charged for calling out the Russian army's crimes on Ukrainian soil.

There was nothing new in these statements by the Ukrainian journalist. As you know, even the International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin, former Defense Minister and now Secretary of the Security Council Sergei Shoigu, Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, and other Russian officials and military personnel accused of war crimes.

So, basically, anyone who supports this ICC warrant or reports on its existence can be considered guilty. Dozens and hundreds of journalists worldwide have reported on the crimes of the Russian army in places like Bucha, Izyum, and Borodyanka. What's more, even among Russian citizens, many have spoken about the terrorist, thuggish, misanthropic nature of their state and its leadership under the notorious Putin.

And what can be said in this situation?

Of course, when one person is chosen to pass judgment on him, even in absentia, one can talk about the persecution of all those engaged in honest journalism. It's an attempt to justify their own propaganda, which, as we know, is entirely false and serves to help Putin and his associates maintain their power over Russia, robbing both the country and the territories it occupies.

One could ignore this sentence, which seems to have no consequences. But the truth is, Russia, a member of various international institutions like Interpol, can still pursue people sentenced in its so-called courts using international arrest warrants. It can demand detention in countries that have extradition agreements with it for criminals or those wanted by Russia.

Russia's verdicts aim to make life more dangerous globally for those who speak the truth about its politics, army, leadership, and society. This should prompt further international isolation of Russia. We must question not only Russia but also countries still willing to extradite wanted individuals to Russia.

This issue is crucial for imposing more sanctions on Russia and its allies, and for excluding Russia from international institutions that let it misuse arrest warrants against people it convicts in sham trials.

We need to support those targeted by Russia's fake judiciary and take solace in that Russia's reach is limited to its own or occupied territories.

Therefore, liberating Ukrainian lands and changing the regime that controls Russia’s judiciary is essential. Protecting freedom of speech and the truth about this aggressive war is vital.

Source

About the author. Vitaly Portnikov, journalist, Shevchenko National Prize laureate 

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

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