A popular YouTuber and critic of President Zelensky was arrested in Spain at the behest of the Ukrainian government on charges of treason and faces extradition, despite publicly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Anatoly Shariy, who has almost 3 million YouTuber subscribers, was detained on an international arrest warrant in a joint operation by Spanish and Ukrainian police, as well as international “partners,” according to the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU).
They claim that Shariy has been acting on behalf of “foreign” forces by infringing Ukraine’s national security via his media commentary on the war and engaging in “incitement of hatred.”
Shariy’s arrest “is more proof that every traitor of Ukraine will sooner or later receive his well-deserved punishment. It is inevitable,” the SBU asserted.
The blogger had previously been granted asylum by the EU in 2012 after fleeing persecution by the government of Viktor Yanukovich, who was pro-Russian.
Despite condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Shariy’s criticism of Zelensky’s response was apparently enough for him to be targeted by Ukrainian authorities.
Having had his passport seized, Shariy is now in Barcelona under a travel ban until a decision on his extradition to Ukraine is made. President Zelensky’s representative at the Constitutional Court said Shariy will “face a Ukrainian court and will be held liable in line with Ukrainian laws.”
Shariy’s arrest once again puts to bed the idea that Ukraine is some kind of beacon of democracy, when its authorities treat dissidents exactly the same way dissidents are treated in Russia.
Last month, footage was released of Associated Press accompanying armed men from the Ukraine Security Service as they kidnapped and arrested dissidents from their own homes.
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