I feel like Osama bin Laden, says SA-based Russian journalist

2015-09-17 17:00
File: AP

File: AP

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Johannesburg - A Russian journalist based in South Africa, who was banned from entering the Ukraine this week, says he now feels like Osama bin Laden. 

Alexander Necheav, the South Africa correspondent for Russian news agency TASS, told News24 on Thursday he had no idea why he was on a list containing the names of 388 people, an expansion of sanctions adopted earlier in September.

He was banned amid a new raft of sanctions approved by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

According to The Guardian, the sanctions affect over 400 people and 90 organisations. 

"Actually I sent an email to the Ukrainian embassy in Pretoria to ask what they think of it, because I believe it comes from them," Necheav said.

"I'm not sure, that's what I think. I've got no answer. I read that decree of President Poroshenko and I'm actually accused of horrible things."

Necheav said he was accused of violating territorial integrity, infringing on the rights and freedoms of the Ukrainian people, injuring economic development and supporting terrorist activities.

Reported on FW de Klerk statement

"I feel like Osama bin Laden now. I have no idea actually. The only thing which I reported on, on Ukraine, was a public statement by [former South African] President [FW] De Klerk, who said that the Ukrainian government was anti-Russian. It was a big story, it was his public lecture. That's it," he said.

"I'm at a complete loss. I've been here for over three years and all of a sudden I'm sanctioned and I don't know what for.

"I can't get an explanation from nowhere. The director general of my agency made a statement, specifically mentioning 'Alexander Necheav did not report on Ukraine at all'. So I don't know; I got in that list somehow."

Necheav, number 64 on the list, was in the company of the Russian defence minister, top Russian officials from the lower house of Parliament and editors, among others. 

"I cannot understand the sanction of journalists, which a country that is dreaming of joining the European Union should not do. You can sanction officials, government members... It's out of the blue for me," he said.

"I never thought I would enjoy Ukrainian sanctions. I can't go to Ukraine. It said in that decree. Actually I didn't plan it. Anyway, I will survive. It's kind of stupid for me, it actually doesn't affect me."

Read more on:    osama bin laden  |  ukraine  |  media

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