MOSCOW, August 11 (RIA Novosti) – Human Rights Watch (HRW) is concerned by the lack of information on the location of the Rossiya Segodnya photographer Andrei Stenin (#freeAndrew), who went missing in Ukraine last week, HRW Russia deputy director Tanya Lokshina told RIA Novosti on Monday.
“If he [Stenin] was detained, they have to press charges. If he is not accused of anything, then he has to be freed … All this was not done, the location of the man is unknown, which raises our deepest concerns, in particular, because it is not the first case, when journalists end up in such situation,” Lokshina said.
The human rights activist underlined that if Stenin was detained by the Ukrainian military on suspicion of committing a crime, he must be charged and be allowed access to a lawyer.
“It is definitely one of the issues that Human Rights Watch will discuss with Ukrainian authorities,” Lokshina added.
Earlier on Monday, the Russian Civic Chamber addressed international human rights organizations such as HRW, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders with a call to help find the missing photographer and demand that Ukrainian authorities uphold the rights of journalists. The Russian Embassy in Kiev had also filed a diplomatic note to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry over Stenin’s disappearance.
Stenin, who had been working in Donetsk, Slaviansk and other eastern Ukrainian cities went missing on August 5. According to the militia commander of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Igor Strelkov, the photographer could have left for the city of Shakhtarsk with the militia’s press corps, where Right Sector militants could have detained him.
On August 8, an informed source told RIA Novosti that the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) in the Zaporizhia Region had detained Stenin in southern Ukraine. A spokesman for the local SBU office denied the allegations.
On August 9, Rossiya Segodnya submitted an application to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, requesting it to take urgent measures to find Stenin.