Moldovan journalist arrested in Ukraine over espionage claims
A Moldovan journalist has been detained in Ukraine. Semion Niculin, 38, was arrested in Odessa on April 13, 2012. He worked as reporter for the Moldpres state-owned news agency. At the time of his arrest he was a press officer at the Unified Control Commission, which is a three-party structure managing the peacekeeping actions in Transnistria.
According to the Kommersant-Ukraine newspaper, the man was detained on the grounds that he would have allegedly spied for Moldova. According to the Ukrainian law, Mr. Niculin could stay up to 15 years in prison.
The Moldovan Embassy in Kiev said they are currently carrying negotiations with the local authorities to free the journalist.
Mr. Niculin is accused of espionage trying to get secret information from a Ukrainian citizen.
Taras Chernovol, an official of the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs office said that the man could have worked for Moldova’s self-established Transnistria.
“The Moldovan side is very reserved in making comments whether he was doing espionage or not. I would not be surprised if he, as Moldovan citizen, would have been actually collecting information for the trade bodies of Transnistria,” Mr. Chernovol said, quoted by Novii Reghion newspaper.