‘Empty Chair’ for Imprisoned Journalist Aseyev
An event in support of Ukrainian journalist Stanislav Aseyev - illegally held by Russian-led militants - was timed to the Empty Chair Day, which symbolizes imprisoned journalists and writers.
Photo from Ukrinform
KYIV — Writers, actors, musicians and human rights activists gathered at an event in support of Ukrainian journalist Stanislav Aseyev. Russian-led forces captured him in the summer of 2017 in Donetsk. He remains behind bars.
Under a pseudonym, Stanislav Aseyev worked in Donetsk as a freelance correspondent for the Ukrainian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, as well as several other media outlets. Human rights activists say Aseyev was captured because of his work.
One such radio broadcast was played at the event, “The biggest absurdity was the display by activists of the movement Russian Bears, who, in the middle of a city square, on a rain-soaked wrestling mat, demonstrated self-defence and martial arts moves.”
At the event, people could listen to the excerpts from Aseev’s books: “After Russia began actively funding the … militants, and due to the completely disorganized nature of the … entire system, illegal arms are now present in practically unlimited quantities on the territory of the Donbas.”
Religious scholar Ihor Kozlovsky was also imprisoned in occupied Donbas, remembers how he learned about Stanislav’s detention. Initially through prison mail, then later he was given a newspaper.
“I opened it and read that Stanislav Aseyev had been arrested. … I know what it’s like and how important it is to show a person you haven’t forgotten them. It gives them hope,” Kozlovsky said.
Film director Oleh Sentsov, who yesterday accepted an award in person after being freed from Russia himself, showed his support in London:
The event was dedicated not only to Stanislav Aseyev, but to the other several hundred Ukrainians held captive in either Russia, Russian-controlled Crimea and occupied Donbas. Head of Center for Civil Liberties, Oleksandra Matviychuk, pointed out blogger from Donetsk, Oleh Galaziuk (Галазюк) and Crimean journalist Mykola Semena.
The event was timed to coincide with the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, which has been observed by ‘PEN International’ since the 1980s.