MOSCOW, January 6 – RIA Novosti. The Human Rights Council under the President of Russia called the accusations against the editor-in-chief of Sputnik Lithuania Marat Kasem far-fetched.
“The accusations against Marat Kasem are formulated on far-fetched grounds, are absurd in their content and demonstrate the grossest disregard by the Latvian authorities of such concepts as freedom of speech and basic human rights,” the statement posted on the organization’s website reads.
Members of the HRC Standing Committee on International Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights protested about the situation with the rights of journalists in Latvia. They recalled that several years ago, the authorities of the republic already put pressure on journalists who collaborated with the Rossiya Segodnya media group and Sputnik information resources. At that time, this practice caused concern among the international non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders. The current situation shows that the persecution of Russian journalists in Latvia continues, the authors of the statement noted.
The Commission appealed to Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Nadia Al-Nashif, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeira, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović and urged them to intervene and secure the release of the journalist.
In addition, the HRC called on colleagues in international human rights structures and organizations to study the situation with the arrest of Kasem and give a clear and principled assessment of the actions of the Latvian authorities that violate its international obligations in the field of human rights and freedom of speech.
Senator Pushkov called Kasem’s arrest an attack on freedom of speech
Marat Kasem is a citizen of Latvia, has been living and working in Moscow for several years in the Rossiya Segodnya media group, which also includes Sputnik Lithuania. On December 30, he arrived in Latvia on family business and was detained. On January 5, the Riga court took the journalist into custody; he has already been transferred to the Central Prison of Riga.
According to the lawyer, Kasem can be accused of violating EU economic sanctions against Russia, as well as espionage.
Dmitry Kiselev, director general of the Rossiya Segodnya media group, called Kasem’s detention revenge for his work for the Russian media. He noted that the journalist himself felt political persecution by the Latvian regime and spoke about it often.
Kiselev said that journalist Kasem spoke about political persecution
Translation by RJ983
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