Lawyer Novikov unoptimistic about Ukraine’s political prisoner in Russia, yet suggests ways of attempting the extradition.
Kyiv, August 3, 2016. The likelihood that Valentyn Vygivskyi will be released from Russian detention is quite low. This was stated by Illya Novikov, lawyer of Valentyn Vygivskyi, at a press briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Unfortunately, I have to admit that there are no good chances of Valentyn’s political release, because he pleaded guilty. […] We have no hope to go through the European Court [of Human Rights],” he explained. Novikov explained that too much time has passed – two years, to have a chance to prove something in court, adding that an “appeal will not change anything.”
Illya Novikov insists that the only appropriate way to achieve positive resolution of Valentyn Vygivskyi’s case is through an exchange and agreement, as it was the case with Yuri Soloshenko, Gennadiy Afanasyev and Nadia Savchenko.
Valentyn Vygivskyi was illegally detained by Russian authorities in September 2014 in the temporarily occupied Crimea. He was kept as a prisoner in the former Office of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in Simferopol, and then convoyed to Lefortovo in Moscow. “There they scoffed at him, interrogated, the first beating started (…) and more than a year later, in December 2015, he was sentenced to 11 years in strict-regime colony and convoyed to Kirov region, where he is serving the sentence,” said Maria Tomak, coordinator of the campaign “Let My People Go” (“Euromaidan SOS” initiative).
Currently, it is impossible to visit Valentyn in prison. Roman Tytykalo, lawyer of Valentyn Vygivskyi in Ukraine, reported his client’s refusal to cooperate with the Russian authorities. “The problem is that court proceedings lack publicity. But anyhow, government officials should make every effort to release not only Valentyn, but all political prisoners of the Kremlin,” added Roman Tytykalo.
Lawyers and human rights activists explain that Valentyn Vygivskyi’s case is not as well-known as other cases forged by the Kremlin, because the materials are classified in the Federal Security Service of Russian Federation (FSB) as “for spying”. Despite the fact that there is no access to the file, you can determine apparent human rights violations, namely -illegal abduction of Valentyn Vygivskyi on the territory of Crimea, beatings and torture, as well as non-admission of Ukrainian official representatives over 9 months.
Valentyn Vygivskyi turns 33 on August 3. His father, Petro Vygivskyi, noted that this is the second birthday his son has spent behind the bars. Since May 2016, the illegally convicted Valentyn has been kept in solitary confinement. “It’s very hard psychologically. Of course, those conditions made him agree with the charges,” noted Petro Vygivskyi. After that Valentyn was allowed to call his relatives. He has a son in Kyiv. His mother Galyna Vygivska said that her son’s eyesight is deteriorating in prison.
Address of the colony at which you can send messages and greetings on Valentyn Vygivskyi’s birthday (preferably in Russian).