Ukrainian journalist convicted on spying charges in Russia

Ukrainian journalists hold placards depicting their colleague Roman Sushchenko during a protest to call for the release of a Ukrainian journalist detained in Moscow for spying, on October 6, 2016 in front of Russian embassy in Kiev. Journalist Roman Sushchenko -- who has worked for Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform since 2002 -- was detained in Moscow "while conducting espionage activities", the FSB told Interfax news agency on October 3, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Sergei Supinsky

MOSCOW- A court in the Russian capital has convicted a Ukrainian journalist of spying and sentenced him to 12 years in prison.

Roman Sushchenko was a correspondent  for Ukrinform, Ukraine’s state news agency and has been in custody since his arrest in October 2016 by Russia’s top domestic security agency, the FSB.

In the court proceedings FSB claimed that Sushchenko was a Ukrainian military intelligence officer collecting sensitive information about the Russian armed forces. Sushchenko rejected  all the charges.

On Monday Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko rejected the verdict by the Moscow City Court as a show of “unprecedented cynicism”.

Harlem Desir from a top security and rights group and media freedom representative, at Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the sentence was deplorable and called for Sushchenko’s release.

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