Lawyer commented on the detention of Sputnik editor-in-chief Lithuania Kasem in Riga

MOSCOW, January 8 – RIA Novosti. The accusation of espionage of the editor-in-chief of Sputnik Lithuania Marat Kasem is a “cover” for Latvia’s actions to restrict the freedom of journalistic activity, Anatoly Kapustin, president and member of the executive committee of the Russian Association of International Law, told RIA Novosti.
Marat Kasem is a citizen of Latvia, has lived and worked in Moscow for several years in the Russia Today media group, which also includes Sputnik Lithuania. On December 30, the journalist arrived in Latvia for family reasons. According to Sputnik Lithuania, he was detained, and on January 5, the Riga court took him into custody, the journalist has already been transferred to the Riga Central Prison.

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“This is a provocation, illegal activity, our country must come out sharply in defense of the rights of a journalist. If a journalist is detained for espionage, then, as a rule, everyone immediately understands that this is a clearly provoked and far-fetched accusation in order to cover up the unseemliness, illegality of these actions on restricting the freedom of journalistic activity. This cannot be justified by anything,” the lawyer said, commenting on the detention of Kasem.
“The absurdity is so obvious that a person comes to his country, and on charges of espionage they try to interfere with his main activities as a journalist – you can’t imagine anything funnier. This can only happen in countries that are trying in every possible way to spoil relations with Russia. One can only feel sorry for Latvia, that they understand freedom of information, expression of opinion in this way, that a far-fetched pretext of espionage is enough to restrict them,” Kapustin added.
He recalled that the Latvian courts, especially in recent decades, make politically motivated decisions, in this regard, Russia needs to support Kasem. “I think that we need to support our colleague in every possible way. Including, as a citizen of Latvia, he can apply to the European Court of Human Rights. The Russian Federation needs to openly declare that this provocation is aimed at restricting freedom of expression, freedom of speech and other freedoms that are elements of the professional activity of a journalist,” the international lawyer emphasized.

Senator Pushkov called Kasem’s arrest an attack on freedom of speech

“We can salute and bow our heads to this person who understands that his activities anger the authorities (of Latvia – ed.), but nevertheless continues to do so. If we have a journalistic award, he should be nominated for courage in carrying out their professional affairs. If there is no such award, then it should have been established a long time ago, it would be a beautiful step against all the attacks that Russian journalists have been subjected to over the past decade,” the expert concluded.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier that the detention of Kasem in Latvia is the revenge of the dictatorial regimes for his adherence to principles and constitutes terror against dissent. Russian Ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova called the detention of the editor-in-chief of Sputnik Lithuania an attack on freedom of speech and appealed to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The head of the Union of Journalists of Russia, Vladimir Solovyov, commenting on the situation, told RIA Novosti that the UJR considers this one of the most serious violations and will send information about what is happening to all international journalistic human rights organizations.

Kiselev said that journalist Kasem spoke about political persecution

Translation by RJ983

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