Sergei Ilchenko is a professional journalist who has reported for a number of Moldovan, Ukrainian and Russian media. He is currently being persecuted for his professional work by the secret services of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), commonly known as Transdniester or Transnistria.
Ilchenko was arrested by the PMR KGB on March 18, 2015, following his involvement in an opposition rally in Tiraspol, the PRM capital, and his refusal to delete the report and video footage he made at the rally.
The PMR Investigative Committee has brought criminal charges against Ilchenko under Article 276, Part 2 of the PMR Criminal Code (“Public Incitement to Extremist Activities”). If convicted, Ilchenko could face a term of up to five years in prison.
Ilchenko’s colleagues believe that in order to arrest and charge Ilchenko with incitement to overthrow the state the KGB resorted to a provocation by posting fabricated texts under Ilchenko’s name on various Internet forums and social media. Ilchenko denies having written these texts. Moreover, a day before his arrest he informed a number of his colleagues that his Facebook and Skype accounts had been hacked and the passwords changed, and that he had lost all control over the social media groups he was moderating.
Sergei Ilchenko is a left-wing political activist. He has been involved in the work of various trade union forums and has reported for the international trade union solidarity platform LabourStart.
What Can We Do to Help Sergei Ilchenko?
- Human rights organizations, journalists unions, and journalist communities in various countries should make statements of support of Sergei Ilchenko, denouncing Internet provocations as a means of persecuting dissidents.
- Write a letter to PMR President Yevgeny Shevchuk, demanding Sergei Ilchenko’s immediate release. Letters should be sent to the following address:
г.Тирасполь 3300, Горького, 53, Администрация Президента
Tiraspol 3300, Gorky Str., 53, Presidential Administration
You can also submit a letter to President Shevchuk on the presidential administration’s website. (Warning: all instructions are in Russian.)
- Contact your country’s ministry of foreign affairs, calling on it to put pressure on the PRM authorities to release Sergei Ilchenko immediately.
- NGOs and journalist organizations should send their representatives to Tiraspol to act as independent observers at Sergei Ilchenko’s trial and ensure it is covered objectively and fairly.
More Details on Sergei Ilchenko’s Case
“Journalist jailed on extremism charges in Moldova’s Transdniester region,” Committee to Protect Journalists, March 26, 2015
“[Moldovan] Government seeks release of journalist arrested in Tiraspol,” IPN, March 28, 2015
“Journalist Sergei Ilchenko jailed on extremism charges in Moldova’s Transdniester region,” Council of Europe, April 2, 2015
Sergei Ilchenko’s LiveJournal blog (including letters from prison, photographs, and reports on the case)
“Odessa journalists demand PMR cease its persecution of Sergei Ilchenko,” Comments.ua, March 20, 2015
“Roman Konoplev on the Ilchenko case: Rogozin will sing praises, Moldova will provide cover,” Regnum, March 23, 2015
“The Republic of Moldova demands journalist Sergei Ilchenko’s release,” Teleradio Moldova, March 28, 2015
“’Free’ Transnistria: the setup and arrest of opposition journalist Sergei Ilchenko,” April 6, 2015, politcom.org.ua
“An appeal from political prisoner Sergei Ilchenko,” Antikor.com.ua, April 14, 2015
“Dill Tomatovich’s notes from a Transdniestrian prison,” [a letter by Sergei Ilchenko from Tiraspol Remand Prison No. 3], Ava.md, April 15, 2015
“Ukrainian journalists join demand for Sergei Ilchenko’s release,” Novyi Region 2, June 11, 2015.