Kyiv, January 20, 2016. Activists presented a report “28 prisoners of Kremlin “, which contains cases of Ukrainians imprisoned for political reasons in Russia and temporarily occupied Crimea, at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. A map, appended to the report, shows where these people are now. According to Oleksandra Matviychuk, Head of the Board at the Center for Civil Liberties, the Kremlin wages a planned campaign against Ukraine. All 28 Kremlin prisoners’ cases are grossly falsified, there are multiple human rights violations and there is no evidence base. “People are indicted on absurd accusations, such as the rape of eight women to deteriorate demographic situation among Russian-speaking population, aimed stone-throwing for reasons of ideological hatred for law enforcement officials or the arson of a window and a door with an area of five square centimeters, that according to the version of the investigation committee, had to disrupt the Russian occupation of Crimea,” specified Ms. Matviychuk. In addition, the cases have a clear political motive, which binds them all into a single planned campaign.
According to her, Russia is trying to create the image of a Ukrainian as an external enemy. That is why it calls people who are known for their active citizenship or happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, chasteners, saboteurs, spies, terrorists and murderers. “No citizen of Ukraine who lives or visits the Russian Federation or temporarily occupied Crimea is immune from this kind of political persecution, from being used as a tool for waging this war,” noted Ms. Matviychuk.
According to Andriy Osavoliuk, “Open Dialogue” Foundation, Project Manager, the report presents cases of 26 Ukrainian citizens, one Russian citizen who is Ukrainian by nationality – Victor Shura, and also the case of Estonian citizen Eston Kohver. The report consists of units, the first of them relating to the already known cases of Nadiya Savchenko, Stanislav Klykh and Mykola Karpyuk. A large unit describes cases of persecution in Crimea; in particular, the so-called case of “Crimean terrorists” Oleg Sentsov, Olexandr Kolchenko, Gennadiy Afanasyev, and Olexiy Chirniy, Yuri Ilchen, Crimean participant of Euromaidan Olexandr Kostenko and Mustafa Dzhemilev’s son. Particular attention is paid to the case of a religious organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is recognized as terroristic in Russia, but is legal in most countries, said Mr. Osavoliuk. Four Crimean Tatars are targeted in the investigation, but they deny any involvement in the organization. “This is the first precedent when Muslims from Crimea are persecuted for their religious beliefs. In fact, every Crimean Muslim can be accused of belonging to this organization,” said Mr. Osavoliuk. Another unit of the report is devoted to the case of Serhiy Lytvynov, whom Russian investigators try to present as “The Chastener”; cases of Yuri Yatsenko and Bohdan Yarychevskyi from Lviv; “Spy cases” of Valentyn Vyhovskyi, Yuri Soloshenko and Viktor Shura; also the case of Eston Kohver.
According to Andriy Osavoliuk, among major violations testifying that the cases are false are unexplained circumstances of detention, denial of qualified legal and diplomatic protection, isolation of detainees from communicating with relatives, classified criminal cases, unsatisfactory accusations. Besides, tortures under preliminary investigation were reported in a third of cases. Among the consequences of such violations are symptoms of mental illness, as in Stanislav Klykh’s case, who should undergo psychiatric examination. His lawyer Marina Dubrovina reported via Skype that during court sessions held on January 14-15, her defendant behaved very aggressively, which was recorded by automatic audio recording system. “If the examination results reveal that he is mentally healthy, the court will have to apply some measures because Stanislav has hampered two hearings. If he is considered mentally ill, then this part of the court records will be removed from the protocol,” predicts Marina Dubrovina. She also added that due to the examination the judicial review can be postponed for about two weeks. Besides, the lawyer said that the investigators are actively “working on” Stanislav in the pre-trial prison, promising him some “fantastic benefits”. “So there is every reason to fear that in connection with this the case may have unpredictable results,” said Marina Dubrovina.
Polina Brodnyk, #LetMyPeopleGo initiative activist, noted that the physical and psychological pressure on detainees is the reason why these people should be released as soon as possible. According to Ms. Brodnyk, the aim of the published report is to draw the world’s attention to the Kremlin prisoners for their release. There are some recommendations to the public at the end of the report “28 Kremlin prisoners”. The activist urged to organize an international campaign to protect these prisoners, in particular, to organize hearings in national parliaments of European countries and in the European Parliament.