Kyiv, February 5, 2016. Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation refuses to open criminal proceedings and consider Ukrainian prisoners Mykola Karpiuk and Stanislav Klykh’s claim on torture. “The principal investigator’s arguments are that Karpiuk himself admitted involvement in the commission of these crimes and did so in the presence of a lawyer, so that his procedural rights were not violated. At the same time [in accordance with the standards of international law], this decision should be based on investigation of what caused the bodily injury. The investigators had to refute that they were not the result of their actions or inactivity,” said Nadiya Volkova, Legal Expert at Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. In addition, she emphasizes, there is a mistiming in the interrogation protocol between the moment it was signed, as if in the presence of a lawyer, and the time the lawyer arrived to the detainee. “The lawyer could not be physically present there. Mykola asked for the lawyer in the morning of March 28, 2014. […] The lawyer came to see him in the evening of March 28, but the interrogation protocol, signed by the lawyer, is dated 9 am March 28, 2014,” explained Ms. Volkova.
Nadiya Volkova reminded that Mykola and Stanislav had officially filed complaints that they were tortured by electric current, but forensic medical examination indicated that the experts had not allegedly established a link between the use of electric current and the origin of scars on the body. “The only important part of this paper is that it really testifies that the bodies of both prisoners are damaged. Because in the beginning, when the two were arrested, some preliminary forensic examination was conducted and it showed that both in Mykola Karpiuk’s case, and in the case of Stanislav Klykh, no injuries were attested. That is, if we put forward this argument in the ECHR, we can claim that Karpiuk and Klykh received these injuries while they were under the control of law enforcement bodies,” said Ms. Volkova.
Human rights activists reported that court hearings were suspended for the period of the psychiatric examination of Stanislav Klykh. According to the result of the examination, he was declared sane, other details have not been disclosed. The lawyers will demand independent examination, but the hearings have to resume on Monday. “The hearings will take place every day. Whether this rush is an attempt to catch up with the schedule, or there any other reasons, we do not know,” said Maria Tomak, Center for Civil Liberties, #LetMyPeopleGo Campaign Coordinator.
According to Roman Oleksandruk, Ukrainian lawyer of Karpiuk and Klykh, the efforts of the defense and the Criminal Investigation Department of the National Police resulted in collecting a lot of evidence confirming the alibi of the accused. “The evidence was collected within the framework of two criminal proceedings against illegal imprisonments of Mykola Karpiuk and Stanislav Klykh, and in the framework of the international commission of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, which was granted within the investigation of the criminal case that is considered in Grozny. Now, these materials have been sent to the Russian Federation, and the responsibility for attaching them to the case rests exclusively with the Russian authorities,” he said. In addition, we are working on gathering evidence that during 1994-1995 Mykola and Stanislav really were in Ukraine. “The responsibility for gathering additional evidence to be submitted to the Russian party is on the Main Investigation Department of the National Police. That is why I appeal to the chief investigator to do everything possible to provide appropriate evidence to the Russian party and release our citizens from the Russian regime torture chamber,” emphasized Mr. Oleksandruk. He added that much depends on the investigators, because lawyers’ tools for gathering evidence are very limited. At the same time, notices Maria Tomak, expert of the Center for Civil Liberties, there is a risk that the Russian court will refuse to attach the above evidence to the case. In particular, lawyer Mark Feigin has already faced this problem. “We understand these risks, and are working to ensure submission of evidence,” she said.
According to human rights activists, there is a high chance that the case of Ukrainian political prisoners will be submitted to the European Court of Human Rights. “The process is absolutely absurd in terms of criminal justice, not only because it is the accusation based on fabricated evidence or evidence obtained through tortures, but also because most of incriminations are not supported by any evidence kept on file,” stressed Roman Oleksandruk.
Currently, the #LetMyPeopleGo list includes 21 Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars imprisoned for political reasons – 13 in Russia and 8 – in the occupied Crimea. Recently the activists presented the report on these cases at international venues. Maria Tomak also informed that 23 members of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic Parliament sent an open letter to the Russian Federation with an appeal to release Ukrainians imprisoned for political reasons. In particular, the letter stated that “the circumstances of detention, a form of accusations and lawsuits, as such, raise a number of issues that harm the Russian Federation reputation, damage its interests at home and abroad, evoke distrust between neighboring countries, and adversely affect the relations with the European Union.” Deputies emphasize, among other things, that the release of Ukrainian political prisoners “would be a gesture of goodwill, which would facilitate better relations between the two countries [Russia and Ukraine] and the European Union.” “We are very grateful to the Czech deputies and the entire international community expressing support to people who are illegally imprisoned not only in Russia but also in the occupied Crimea, – said Maria Tomak, – their release is impossible without this pressure.” “I appeal to all citizens of Ukraine, and the international community to help my son, Karpiuk, and all innocent people who are in the RF prisons, to return home. They are innocent of all charges,” appealed Tamara Klykh, Stanislav Klykh’s mother.