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Trial Of Crimean Journalist Set To Resume In Simferopol

Crimean journalist Mykola Semena
Crimean journalist Mykola Semena

Russia-appointed judges at a court in Ukraine's occupied Crimea region were scheduled on July 7 to resume the trial of Mykola Semena, an RFE/RL contributor who is fighting what he says is a politically motivated separatism charge.

The trial in the Crimean capital, Simferopol, has been delayed several times since it started in late March.

Semena faces up to five years in prison if convicted by the Russian-appointed judges, who previously have jailed several people from Crimea who opposed or criticized Moscow’s 2014 seizure of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine.

The charge against the 66-year-old Semena stems from an article he wrote for RFE/RL's Krym.Realii (Crimea Realities) website in 2015.

The Kremlin-installed prosecutor in Crimea charged that the article had called for the violation of Russia’s territorial integrity.

Semena denies the accusation as baseless and politically motivated, saying Russian authorities have based the case on an inaccurate Russian translation of his original Ukrainian text.

Activists say Semena's trial is part of a systemic Russian clampdown on independent media and dissent in Crimea since Moscow’s illegal annexation of the peninsula.