Pavel Sheremet Vitaliy Holovin/Getty Images

Persvrijheid Oekraïne in gevaar

NEW YORK – 20 juli 2016 ging Pavel Sheremet, prominent Wit-Russisch journalist, naar zijn werk in de studio van Radio Vesti in Kiev toen de Subaru waar hij in reed op een druk kruispunt ontplofte. Ramen trilden in hun sponningen en vogels schrokken op. Sheremet, 44 jaar oud, stierf vrijwel onmiddellijk, en het openbaar ministerie van Oekraïne bevestigde al snel dat een bom de explosie had veroorzaakt. Maar een jaar later blijft de moord op Sheremet onopgelost.

Als dit een willekeurige autobom was geweest had mijn organisatie Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) niet het afgelopen jaar gespendeerd deze te onderzoeken of de Oekraïense regering tot een grootschalig onderzoek proberen te bewegen. Maar Sheremet was een onvermoeibaar activist voor transparantie en democratie, die eerst werkte als journalist in zijn thuisland Wit-Rusland, daarna in Rusland, en recenter in Oekraïne. Totdat zijn moord wordt opgelost zal de waarheid die hij tijdens zijn leven zocht door zijn landgenoten omtrent zijn dood niet gevonden worden.

Moord is de ultieme vorm van censuur. Wanneer journalisten worden afgeslacht sluipt zelfcensuur in het werk van anderen. En wanneer een land – vooral een land als Oekraïne, dat lid wil worden van de Europese Unie – er niet in slaagt de moordenaars voor het gerecht te brengen holt dit zijn uitgesproken engagement aan democratie en de rechtsstaat uit.

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