Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

Kyiv 16:58

Ukrainians Illegally Detained in Russia and in the occupied Crimea

The case of Nadiya Savchenko

Nadiya Savchenko - former soldier of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, participant of the protest rallies known as ‘Euromaidan’, Ukrainian MP, Ukrainian delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE).

Arrested- 18.06.2014

Released- 25.05.2016

Accusation - complicity in the murder of two or more persons (Article 33, section 5, subsections ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘zh’, ‘l’; Article 105, section 2 of the CC of the RF), aiding the attempted murder of two or more persons, committed in a dangerous way due to political hatred of a group of persons (Article 33, section 3, subsections ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘zh’ and ‘l’; Article 105, section 2 of the CC of the RF) and illegal crossing of the Russian border (Article 322, section 1 of the CC of the RF).

Nadiya Savchenko participated in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in the East of Ukraine as a volunteer in the territorial defence battalion ‘Aydar’ and on 17 June, 2014, she was captured by militants of the self-proclaimed ‘People’s Republic of Lugansk’ (PRL) near the village of Metalist (Lugansk Province). On the night of 23rd to 24th June 2014 as a consequence of joint illegal actions by terrorists of the "Lugansk People's Republic" and special services of the Russian Federation, with force and out of her will with flagrant disregard of international law and Ukrainian legislation was abducted from the territory of Ukraine with a bag over her head and delivered to the Voronezh region of the Russian Federation.

Later on June 30th 2014 Savchenko was unlawfully arrested on the territory of the Russian Federation under a charge of committing a "crime". Her imprisonment wasn’t reported to her family members or the Consular Division of the Ukrainian Embassy in the Russian Federation.

By July 16th 2014 Savchenko was left without any communication with the outside world, including the possibility to inform relatives of her whereabouts as well as the Ukrainian consular officer in Moscow and to contact a lawyer or file a complaint. The Ukrainian consul, who was in the city Voronizh from July 9th 2014, only after numerous failed attempts on July 16 was admitted to see Savchenko.

Nadiya Savchenko was initially charged with ‘complicity in the deaths of Russian journalists: Igor Korneliuk and Anton Voloshin’. Reporters who had travelled illegally to the territory of Ukraine with a group of pro-Russian militants in order to cover recent attacks on Ukrainian soldiers. Nadiya Savchenko allegedly ‘played the role of a fire spotter in the mortar attack during which the journalists were killed’. She has categorically denied her guilt from the moment of her arrest. Later, the charges were reclassified from ‘complicity’ to ‘aiding and abetting’ the murder of Russian journalists. Also, the Ukrainian woman was charged with ‘attempted murder of two or more persons’. On 24 April, 2015, Nadiya Savchenko was presented with another charge illegal crossing of the border of the Russian Federation’.

On September 22th 2015 Donetsk city court started to review the merits of the case. On March 22, 2016 Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years of prison.

On 13 October, 2015, Nadiya Savchenko’s sister, Vira, the only witness of the defense, was denied entry into the territory of Russia without any justification being given. Following a  reaction of the international community, Russia has now lifted the ban.

 

Evidence of innocence of all the criminal charges

In respect to the charge of aiding and abetting the murder of Russian journalists, Nadiya Savchenko’s counsels managed to obtain evidence substantiating their client’s alibi.

The main evidence supporting Savchenko’s innocence is the call history from her phone, which Russian lawyers received from the Ukrainian Security Service (SSU). This information indicates that, at the time of the deaths of the Russian journalists, Nadiya Savchenko had already been, for several hours, in central Lugansk, where she had been taken immediately following her capture. Therefore, Savchenko could not have taken part in the fire spotting of the mortar attack on journalists, as alleged by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (IC of the RF).

Also, the counsels questioned several witnesses who saw Nadiya on the day that she was taken into captivity, i. e. on 17 June, 2014. It follows from the statements of those questioned that Nadiya Savchenko had been captured prior to the time that the Russian journalists were killed. The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation refused to admit this evidence, citing that the witnesses were questioned on the territory of Ukraine, not Russia. Currently, it is impossible to question these witnesses (in the presence of Russian investigators) on the territory of Russia as it wouldn’t be safe for the witnesses — Russian law enforcement authorities could detain them and accuse of the same crimes as Nadiya Savchenko. In fact, all of the Ukrainians, who participated in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in the East of Ukraine (volunteer soldiers, soldiers of the AFU, volunteers), are at risk of criminal prosecution in Russia.

On May 25, 2016 after many months of intensive diplomatic efforts, enormous pressure of the international community on the Russian leadership, Nadiya Savchenko was released and returned back to Ukraine after 709 days of illegal Russian captivity. World leaders, politicians and friends of Ukraine all over the globe welcomed Nadiya Savchenko's release.

The prisoner of war has PACE immunity

On October 26th, 2014 during elections to the Parliament of Ukraine, Savchenko was elected a deputy of the Political Party “Batkivshchyna”. On November 27th Nadiya gained authority of the deputy of Ukraine of the VIII convocation, in December 2014 she was elected as a member of Ukrainian delegation to PACE.

On January 26th 2015 PACE affirmed her mandate as a member of the organization, on January 28th 2015 PACE adopted a resolution which calls on Russian officials to release Savchenko during 24 hour period and provide her with safe return or transfer to another state.

Savchenko’s parliamentary immunity and privileges granted to her according to the Opinion of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs (Committee) of the Council of Europe were repeatedly brought to the Russian Federation via official diplomatic channels. The committee’s conclusion was repeatedly presented by Savchenko’s attorneys during her case court sessions, however the Russian court completely ignored it.

Due to the rough, illegal actions and restriction measures of her freedom based on trumped up accusations which she did not commit, Savchenko held several hunger strikes as the only method to struggle for her rights.

Nadiya Savchenko on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nadiyasavchenko1

A joint project of the MFA of Ukraine and Channel 1+1 dedicated to Nadia Savchenko https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en1WLyHhwPE

Profile of Nadiya Savchenko on the PACE website: http://www.assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/AssemblyList/MP-Details-EN.asp?MemberID=7356

 

The case of Yuriy Ilchenko

 Yuriy Ilchenko - owner of a private school for foreign languages, blogger.

Arrested-  02.07.2015

Released – 12.06.2016

Accusation - it is not known exactly: either Art. 282 of the CC of the RF (‘inciting hatred or enmity’) or Art. 280 of the CC of the RF (public incitement to extremism’)

Legal penalty –up to 20 years in a general regime penal colony

 

Yuriy Ilchenko was detained on suspicion of extremism in Sevastopol on 2 July, 2015. He was accused of using inflammatory words to condemn the Russian occupation of Crimea and the war that the Kremlin is waging in the Donbas in an article on his blog. Since 3 July, 2015, Ilchenko has been held in a detention centre in Simferopol’s SIZO‑1. On 23 September, 2015, the period of his detention was extended for a further two months.

Initially, the media reported that the investigation was conducted by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. Based on this fact, it can be concluded that Ilchenko was presented with charges under Art. 282 of the CC of the RF (‘inciting hatred or enmity’). Later, it was stated that the case is run by the FSB. This suggests that the blogger is accused of offences under Art. 280 of the CC of the RF (‘public incitement to extremism’). The sanction for both articles is up to five years in prison. In addition, the FSB is striving to accuse Ilchenko of ‘pedophilia’. State security agencies have installed a hidden camera in the premises of his school, which supposedly recorded the moment when he kissed a 12-year-old girl on the cheek. Yuriy’s family members reported that he is friends with the girl’s mother. Later it became known that the security services forced the girl’s mother to write a denunciation of Yuriy.

Through provocations, security agencies also intended to bring charges of ‘terrorism’ against Ilchenko. A week before his arrest, in the street, he was approached by an unknown woman with a proposal to disseminate leaflets calling to repel the invaders and to arrange explosions in Sevastopol. Ilchenko bluntly refused to do so.

In August 2016 Ilchenko appeared in public in the territory of continental Ukraine. He said that he Crimea has escaped from June 12, but this fact was kept secret until the evacuation of his parents from the annexed peninsula. According to him, in early June, the court granted a motion for his transfer from prison to house arrest. Then, as told Ilchenko, he managed to escape from his apartments in Sevastopol, crossed the administrative border of Crimea and came to be on the territory controlled by Ukraine. Ilchenko is put on the wanted list in Russia.

 

The case of Yuriy Yatsenko and Bohdan Yarichevckiy

In May 2014, Yuriy Yatsenko and Bohdan Yarychevskyi were detained by police officers in Kursk Province (Russia). Despite the court order to expel the young people from the country, Bohdan and Yuriy were held in custody for 4 and 12 months, respectively, in the absence of any grounds.  Currently, the case of Yuriy Yatsenko and Bohdan Yarychevskyi is unprecedented among a number of ‘Ukrainian cases’ due to its positive outcome.

Yuriy Yatsenko - a graduate of the National University of Lviv, participant in Euromaidan.

Arrested- 06.05.2014

Released – 08.05.2015

Accusation - smuggle explosives (Art. 222, section 1 of the CC of the RF

Legal penalty – 9 months

Over the years 2013‑2014, Yuriy Yatsenko repeatedly travelled to Russia in connection with petty trade (‘shuttle trade’) — he resold equipment, purchased in one country, at a higher price in the other country. During his last trip, he was joined by Bohdan Yarychevskyi. On May, 2014, they both arrived in the city of Oboyan (Kursk Province, Russia). When registering at the hotel reception, they handed over their passports. The next morning, the two Ukrainians were detained by the police in the hotel building.

During their interrogation at the police station, the young men were subjected to pressure, aimed at forcing them to confess to the involvement in the ‘Right Sector’ or the Security Service of Ukraine. They were pressured into confessing to their participation in anti-Russian activities on television and publicly renouncing their Ukrainian citizenship. Yuriy and Bohdan refused to do so, and, as a consequence, they were beaten for three days. Then, they were transferred to the district department of the FSB Directorate in Oboyan.

After several days of psychological and physical pressure, the young men appeared in court, where the case on violation of immigration legislation was considered. By the decision of the court of 8 May, 2014, they were obliged to pay a fine of 2,000 rubles (approx. 30 euros) and their forced expulsion from the country was to be carried out within 10 days. However, after this period of time had elapsed, the ruling had still not been executed. It should be noted that for all this time, Yuriy and Bohdan were systematically refused access to a laywer, they were also prohibited from making a phone call to their family members. In Ukraine, no one knew of their fate until Yuriy was successful in getting a message out the prison via a cellmate, who was released from prison. Information leakage allowed the launch of a campaign in support of Yuriy and Bohdan. The Russian side began to be subjected to informational pressure. On 6 June, 2014, during his first visit to the detention facility to visit the detainees, Consul of Ukraine Gennadiy Breskalenko confirmed the presence of external signs of violence on their bodies. On 9 June, 2014, another expulsion was appointed; however, once again, it was not executed.

The third attempted expulsion took place on 8 August, 2014. At the ‘Fudzha’ border checkpoint, the transfer of Yuriy and Bohdan to their parents was to be carried out. Both parties arrived at the site, but at the last moment, the car carrying the Ukrainians turned back under the pretext of forgotten documents. The car returned to the detention facility, where a criminal case was initiated against Yuriy Yatsenko on charges of smuggling explosives (Art. 222, section 1 of the CC of the RF). On 12 August, 2014, Bohdan Yarychevskyi was eventually expelled from the country.

Fabrication of charges

The failure of migration officials to execute the court decision regarding the expulsion of aliens within 10 days is a gross violation of Russian migration legislation, as was the denial of the right to make a phone call to family members and the right to allow the detainees to appoint an independent legal counsel.

All the accusations of illegal possession of explosives, brought against Yuriy Yatsenko by the investigative bodies, were based on the testimony of a taxi driver. According to his testimony, in November 2013, he allegedly received a bag, which Yuriy had left with him for safekeeping. According to the testimony of the taxi driver and his colleague, the primary inspection of the contents of Yuriy’s bag showed that there was nothing illegal inside. However, later, during the inspection of the bag by investigating authorities, 40 grams of gun powder in its original packaging having the inscription ‘gunpowder’ was revealed. Subsequently, the taxi driver recanted his previous testimony against Mr. Yatsenko.

The Belgorod Court of first instance distorted the contents of the expert conclusions in sentencing. In accordance with the examination, the hunting gunpowder was not considered an explosive in the form in which it was found — it was in its original packaging, which was opened for the first time by the expert in order to carry out the examination. In addition, according to the law of the Russian Federation, possession of hunting ammunition is not a criminal offence. Based on the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, citizens, previously tried under similar circumstances, were acquitted.

The use of torture

Despite the happy ending, the story of the two students was blighted by their ill-treatment. From the very first day, the young people were subjected to psychological pressure in a bid to coerce them into incriminating themselves They were blackmailed, threatened and attempts to bribe them to make a public statement on television were carried out. They

were tortured using starvation, strangulation, beatings to the head, abdomen and genitals whilst a bag was placed over their heads and they were bound with adhesive tape, as well as subjected to the close-range firing of empty rounds. In order to prevent further torture, Yuriy and Bohdan decided to take extreme measures — they cut themselves in the abdomen and slashed their wrists. Having carried out the plan, Yuriy refused to allow anyone to give him medical care until he was given the opportunity to make a phone call. Subsequently, he kept a blade, and in the case of every potential danger, he threatened to commit suicide. During the administration of first aid to Yuriy, the surgeon deliberately refused to use anaesthesia during the stitching up of the deadly wounds to his stomach and veins, commenting as follows: «You were brave enough to cut yourself, now be brave enough to suffer”.  

The case of the “Crimean terorrists”

In May of 2014, four citizens of Ukraine: Gennadiy Afanasyev, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Oleg Sentsov and Oleksiy Chyrniy, were detained in Crimea. Before their detention, each of them had an active pro-Ukrainian stance and openly opposed the Russian occupation of the peninsula. The detainees were accused of offences related to ‘terrorism’, namely: of the arson attack on the office door of the Russian Community of Crimea and the window of the office of the ‘United Russia’ party, as well as conspiracy to carry out an explosion at the Lenin monument and the Eternal Flame Memorial in Simferopol. Later, it became clear that Afanasyev, Chyrniy and Kolchenko, indeed, were involved in the arson attacks (the latter — only in one), but hardly can the nature and consequences of these offences be qualified as terrorism (they rather constitute hooliganism). The investigating authorities of the Russian Federation clearly qualified these offences wrongly in order to conduct a show trial of the pro-Ukrainian activists from Crimea, portraying them as an organised terrorist group.

 

Oleg Sentsov- Ukrainian film director, civil society activist.

Arrested- 10.05.2014

Accusation - establishing a terrorist association (Art. 205.4, section 2 of the CC of the RF), committing two acts of terrorism (Art. 205, section 2, subsection ‘a’ of the CC of the RF), conspiracy to commit the two terrorist attacks (Art. 30, section 1 and Art. 205, section 2, subsection ‘a’ of the CC of the RF), as well as two episodes of illicit trafficking in arms and explosives (Art. 222, section 3 of the CC of the RF).

Legal penalty –20 years in a strict regime penal colony

Mailing Address: 677004, Russia, Republic of Sakha, Yakutsk, 25 Ochichenko Str., penal colony #1

 

Oleksandr Kolchenko - activist of organisations with left-wing ideology.

Arrested- 18.05.2014

Accusation - involvement in a terrorist organisation (Art. 205.4, section 2 of the CC of the RF), and committing a terrorist act (Art. 205, section 2, subsection ‘a’ of the CC of the RF).

Legal penalty –10 years in a strict regime penal colony

Mailing Address: 456612, Russia, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Kopeisk, 20 Kemerovskaya Str., penal colony #6

 

Oleksiy Chyrniy - teacher of military history at the Simferopol Institute of Culture.

Arrested - 09.05.2014

Accusation - terrorism (Art. 205, section 2), preparation of a terrorist act (Art. 30, section 1, Art. 205, section 2 of the CC of the RF), as well as the acquisition of explosives (Art. 222, section 3 of the CC of the RF).

Legal penalty –7 years in a strict regime penal colony

Mailing Address: 346880, Russia, Rostov Oblast, Bataysk, 356 Gorkogo Str., penal colony #15

 

 

Gennadiy Afanasyev - photographer.

Arrested- 21.08.2014

Released- 14.06.2016

Accusation – participation in the activities of a terrorist group (Art. 205.4, section 2), committing two acts of terrorism (Art. 205, section 2, letter ‘a’), preparation of a terrorist act (Art. 30, section 1, Art. 205, section 2, letter ‘a’), as well as attempted illegal acquisition of weapons and explosives (Art. 30, section 3, Art. 222, section 3).

Legal penalty – 7 years in a strict regime penal colony; .5 years of restriction of liberty following his release

 

According to the fabricated claims of the investigation, a ‘terrorist group’, consisting of a few people, operated in Crimea. In addition to the above-mentioned persons, the group also included Nikita Borkin, Ilya Zuykov, Enver Asanov and Stepan Tsiril, who are now being pursued. The group was allegedly led by Oleg Sentsov, who gave the order to carry out arson attacks and bombings in Simferopol.

According to investigators, by its actions, the ‘terrorist group’ pursued the goal of ‘destabilising the situation on the peninsula and exerting influence on the authorities to ensure that they issue a decision to withdraw the ‘republic’ from the Russian Federation’.

On 23 May, 2014, the detained Ukrainians were moved to Moscow for further ‘investigation’. The detainees were subjected to torture which was aimed at prompting confessions; also, Ukrainian diplomats were denied the opportunity to visit them, as the Russian side stated that it considers the Crimeans to be Russian citizens.

Gennadiy Afanasyev and Oleksiy Chyrniy, having been subjected to torture, agreed to cooperate with the investigative bodies and confessed to all their alleged crimes. At the same time, they gave false testimonies against Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko. Their criminal cases were divided into separate proceedings and considered in an accelerated mode — without the cross-examination of witnesses or analysis of evidence.

Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko did not plead guilty to the alleged offences, and so, they were tried within the same proceedings, which began on 21 July, 2015, in the North Caucasus Military District Court of Voronezh.

As follows from the arguments presented by the prosecution at the trial, as well as the testimonies of witnesses, the group of ‘Crimean terrorists’ wasn’t stable, hierarchically structured and didn’t operate under a single management. None of the witnesses, cross-examined in court, could state anything about the composition or the structure of the group. Gennadiy Afanasyev stated in court that he was not acquainted with Kolchenko, and he only knows Sentsov because he is a famous film director.

During the disclosure of details of the criminal case file, it was revealed that as early as on 11 April, 2014, workers of the security bodies were aware that Chyrniy intended to carry out arson attacks at the office of the Russian Community of Crimea and the office of the ‘United Russia’ party on 14 April, 2015 and 18 April, 2015, respectively, but they did nothing to prevent the acts. And so, it was a clear provocation by the security bodies, which did not prevent the acts in that they wished to obtain an excuse to seek criminal prosecutions.

European directors like Agnieszka Holland, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, and Pedro Almodóvar have co-signed a June 10, 2014 letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin calling for Sentsov's release. On June 26, 2014 Russia's presidential council for human rights appealed to Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin to review the circumstances surrounding the arrests of Sentsov and a fellow Ukrainian activist, ecologist and anti-fascist Oleksandr Kolchenko. A reply, posted on the council's website, says prosecutors found "no grounds" for altering the detention of either suspect. Ukrainian authorities are being prevented by their Russian counterparts to contact or help Sentsov, Kolchenko and other activists, as they are considered citizens of Russia (at least in the eyes of Moscow). The European Union and the United States have condemned their detention and have called for their release.

On June 14, 2016 Gennadiy Afanasyev was released and returned back to Ukraine after 767 days of illegal Russian captivity.

 

The use of torture

The exertion of torture on Oleg Sentsov was reported by his counsel as early as in June 2014. On 6 August, 2015, during the trial, Oleg Sentsov spoke in more detail about the torture which he had been subjected to. “On 10 May, I was arrested near the entrance to my house. I was thrown in a bus, hooded, handcuffed and taken to the building of the Security Service of Ukraine; at that time, it was already the FSB building. They pushed me into a chair and began to interrogate me in a brutal way. They asked if I knew Chyrniy and Afanasyev. They began to beat me, kick me, beat me using special tools, while I was standing, lying, sitting. It’s hard to sit on a chair while they beat you with a baton. They tried to suffocate me with a plastic bag. When I saw this in the movies, I did not understand why people broke. What they did to me was terrible. I went through it four times. They threatened to rape me with a baton in a perverted act. This went on for three or four hours. When they got tired, I was taken for a search, and only there did I learn that they were FSB workers”, Sentsov testified in court. In October 2014, Russia’s Investigative Committee refused to open a criminal case with regard to the use of torture. The materials of the judgement stated that Sentsov “was fond of sadomasochism, and that the injuries to his back were inflicted on him by a female sex partner shortly before his arrest”.

 

Also, Oleksandr Kolchenko spoke about the exertion of torture on him: “After the arrest, during the preliminary interrogation, which was not recorded in the reportI was beaten about the face and body… I cannot confirm the testimony The counsel misled me at that time as regards the articles that I was charged under. I did not report the violence, because then, I found out what measures were used against Oleg, and I saw the pressure exerted on me as insignificant and unworthy of declaring.” On 31 July, 2015, one of the main witnesses in the case of Sentsov-Kolchenko, Gennadiy Afanasyev, whose testimony served to support the line of the prosecution, refused to testify against the accused. He also recanted his previous testimony, stating that he had incriminated Sentsov and Kolchenko under the pressure of torture. 

 

Gennadiy Afanasyev disclosed the details of the torture he suffered in the FSB building in Simferopol.

“They put a gas mask on his head, and pressed the hose; as a result, he began to choke. When he began to lose consciousness, investigators let go of the hose, pulled the mask away from his face and sprayed some gas into the space under the gas mask. As a result, Afanasyev started vomiting; he began to choke on his vomit. They would not let him breathe and they kept beating him. He was threatened with rape, stripped naked; they turned on a soldering iron and drove it around his body, explaining what will happen when they insert the soldering iron into his anus.” Afanasyev was also tortured with electric shocks. Exposed wires were put on his genitals. As a result, Afanasyev began to testify, slandering Sentsov and Kolchenko. Then, investigators began to make up more and more new episodes to which he confessed, incriminating Sentsov and Kolchenko. Also, under torture, he incriminated a few other people whose names he does not remember.

Shortly after Afanasyev recanted his testimony in the court and made a statement of torture, he was once again beaten by a Russian FSB investigator, who also threatened Afanasyev with ‘harsh conditions of detention’ during his prison term. On 20 October, 2015, Gennady Afanasyev’s mother reported that her son had been taken to a strict regime penal colony in the city of Syktyvkar (northwest Russia). Shortly after his arrival at the colony, he was placed in solitary confinement (punishment cell) under the pretense that, allegedly, the search had revealed that he was carrying a blade. Gennadiy Afanasyev’s mother believes that the blade was deliberately planted by the prison staff. After leaving the solitary confinement cell, Afanasyev was transferred to strict conditions of detention (stringent conditions include detention in a locked room and increased surveillance of his behaviour, restriction of his contact with other inmates, limits on the number of visits he could receive from relatives, as well as on the number of letters and packages he could receive).

Torture was also used against another key witness in the case of ‘Crimean terrorists‘, Oleksiy Chyrniy. In August 2014, Chyrniy was held in a psychiatric hospital wing of the detention facility ‘Butyrka’ (Moscow). The exact time of his stay there is unknown because the Russian side keeps it confidential. Chyrniy is the only one of the accused who was held in a psychiatric hospital. Unlawful methods of influence, including the administration of medicines, could have been applied to him there.

On 3 February, 2015, Oleksiy Chyrniy met with Ukrainian consul Gennadiy Breskalenko in the detention facility ‘Lefortovo’ (this was Chyrniy's first meeting with a Ukrainian diplomat since his arrest in May 2014). During the meeting, Chyrniy informed the Ukrainian consul that during In particular, he suffered blows to the head and other body parts, measures of psychological pressure and intimidation were used against him in order to compel him to give false testimony regarding the charges brought against him.

 

Espionage cases

The so-called ‘espionage cases’ of a citizen of the Russian Federation Viktor Shur, having а residence permit in Ukraine, and two citizens of Ukraine: Valentyn Vyhivskyi and Yuriy Soloshenko, have gained publicity. All three were secretly detained while travelling outside continental Ukraine and taken to the Lefortovo detention centre in Moscow (which, in fact, is the detention facility of the FSB). Their case is characterised by the same charges of ‘spying for Ukraine’. In the initial stages of the prosecution, they were deprived of the right to an independent counsel and consular protection. According to the results of the investigation, all three pleaded guilty to all counts. The analyses of these cases are greatly complicated by a lack of information, i. e. they all are classified as ‘secret’ and the case file is confidential even to close relatives. However, despite the fragmentation of data, there is reason to doubt the legality of the criminal prosecution.

 

Yuriy Soloshenko - the former head of the Poltava production plant ‘Znamya’.

Arrested- august 2014

Released – 14.06.2016

Accusation - Art. 276 of the CC RF (espionage)

Legal penalty –6 years in a strict regime penal colony

Yuriy Soloshenko is the oldest prisoner of all the currently known Ukrainians being persecuted for political reasons in Russia. In the detention centre, he turned 73. This was probably the reason why his prison term was ‘only’ 6 years in a strict regime colony, which is one year less than the minimum term for charges related to espionage.

For two decades, Yuriy worked in the military industry and headed the Poltava factory ‘Znamya’, which, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, existed solely thanks to orders from the Russian defence industry. In 2010, he retired, and the plant was closed. However, Yuriy continued to maintain contact with his former business partners. According to Yuriy’s son, Aleksandr Soloshenko, his father was lured into the territory of the Russian Federation under false pretences by his long time partner Gennadiy Kollegov, who maintained contact with General of the Defence Ministry, Oleg Morozov.

In August 2014, Yuriy Soloshenko was detained at the Kyiv railway station in Moscow during a business trip. Yuriy’s family members were not aware of his arrest until the moment they received a phone call from his counsel. They hurriedly began to seek a qualified independent counsel for Yuriy, but, according to them, one by one, the attorneys refused to take on the case due to the pressure exerted on them by the FSB; also, for 10 months, the Ukrainian consul was systematically denied permission to visit Yuriy. Relatives appealed to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, after which a note was sent to Russia with a request that that detainee, suffering from tachycardia and coronary heart disease, be provided with proper medical care. Soloshenko was permitted to make his first phone call home only 4 months after his arrest.

Yuriy Soloshenko  three times wrote a letter to General Prosecutor Yuriy Chayka and a petition for clemency to the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. On 10 December, 2015, Yuriy Soloshenko was transferred to Nizhniy Novgorod in order to serve his sentence.

In April 2016 Yuri Soloshenko was listed among Ukrainian prisoners (including Kolchenko, Sentsov, Afanasiev), with regard to which the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine directed an inquiry to Russia requesting to transfer Soloshenko to complete his sentence in Ukraine.

On June 14, 2016 Yuriy Soloshenko and Gennadiy Afanasyev were pardoned and exchanged for Olena Hlishchinska and Vitaliy Didenko (Ukrainian journalists accused of separatism).

 

Valentyn Vyhivskyi - small businessman, participant of Euromaidan.

Arrested-  17.09.2014

Accusation - ‘commercial espionage’ (Article 183 of the CC of the RF), but later the case  was reclassified to ‘espionage’ (Art. 276 of the CC of the RF)

Legal penalty – 11 years in a strict regime penal colony

Mailing Address: 613040, Russia, Kirov Oblast, Utrobino village, penal colony #11

Valentyn Vyhivskyi graduated from the Kyiv Polytechnic University, had a private business, and participated in Euromaidan. On 17 September, 2014, Valentyn went on personal business to Simferopol, where he was detained by the so-called ‘Crimean Self-Defence forces’ and transferred to the building of the former Main Directorate of the State Security Service of Ukraine of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in Simferopol. He was subjected to torture there (stripped naked and beaten, with a bag placed over his head) and compelled to confess to espionage. Later, he was transferred to the Lefortovo detention facility in Moscow.  The contents of the indictment act are classified.

For nearly 9 months, the Ukrainian consul was not permitted to visit Vyhivskyi. When the diplomatic representative finally received permission to visit the detainee, the meetings were held in the presence of the detention facility officers, which had previously exerted psychological pressure on the accused. A spokeswoman for the Moscow Public Oversight Commission Zoya Svietova was the first to be granted the opportunity to visit Vyhivskyi. According to her, he kept repeating: “I’m all right. The investigation is underway”. When asked about the change of counsel, he said: “Why would I need a counsel? Here, in Russia, it is useless. I do not need a counsel.”

It was only after the verdict had been handed down that it became known that, according to investigators, Vyhivskyi allegedly used the Internet to “recruit employees of the enterprises of the Russian aerospace military-industrial complex to collect and transfer to him, in exchange for money, secret technical documentation on the ongoing prospective developments”. On 15 December, 2015, the Moscow Regional Court sentenced Valentyn Vyhivskyi to 11 years’ imprisonment in a strict regime penal colony, having convicted him of military and economic espionage in the Russian aerospace industry (Art.276 of the CC of the RF). The defendant’s counsel announced her intention to appeal against the verdict on the grounds that the punishment is excessively severe.

 

Viktor Shur - owner of a jewellery business, collector

Arrested- .09.12.2014

Accusation - treason and collaboration with the secret services of a foreign state (Art. 275 of the CC of the RF)

Legal penalty – 12 years in a strict regime penal colony

Mailing Address: 22500, Russia, Republic of Tatarstan, Zelenodolsk District, township of Nizhniye Vyazovye, 1 Komsomolskaya Str., penal colony #5

On 9 December, 2014, while crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border in Bryansk Province, Viktor Shur was detained by the FSB. De jure, he is a citizen of the Russian Federation, despite the fact that he was born on the territory of the USSR and all of his relatives still live in Ukraine. Following the collapse of the USSR, he gave preference to Russian citizenship, as his professional activities required him to constantly travel to the territory of Russia. In recent years, he has lived in Chernigov. He supported Ukrainian volunteers and Euromaidan.

According to Viktor’s son, Valeriy Shur, his father was officially arrested for insulting police officers and sentenced to 15 days’ incarceration; later, he was accused of violating the rules of a sensitive facility, but, subsequently, the charges were reclassified to ‘treason and collaboration with the secret services of a foreign state’. (Art. 275 of the CC of the RF). The relatives learned of the whereabouts of Viktor at the end of December 2014.

According to the prosecution, Viktor Shur was sent to the Bryansk Province of Ukraine by intelligence services in order to gather information about a Russian military enterprise, which is, in fact, a deserted airport with silos for launching ballistic missiles and which was flooded back in the 1980s. Viktor’s son claims that the FSB administered psychotropic substances to his father.

Viktor Shur pleaded guilty and on 7 October, 2015, was sentenced to 12 years in a strict regime penal colony — the minimum possible time for the incriminated article (‘high treason’). He is not going to file an appeal as he considers it useless. Viktor’s relatives addressed the President, requesting that Viktor be granted Ukrainian citizenship with the hope of placing him on the ‘list of prisoners of war subject to exchange’.

Relatives of Victor Shur appealed to the President of Ukraine to give him the Ukrainian citizenship with the hope to include him in the “listings on exchange of prisoners”. Petro Poroshenko granted the request.

The facts which cast doubt on the charges

In the cases of Viktor Shur and Yuriy Soloshenko, there is a great number of unambiguous circumstances which cast doubt on the validity of the charges. As regards the

case of Valentyn Vyhivskyi, there is practically no information available, and his family members are puzzled over what could have led to his criminal prosecution and the accusation of spying. It should be noted that the criminal prosecution of the Ukrainians was marred by the following irregularities:

-       All three defendants were completely deprived of the right to legal and consular protection. Numerous attempts to hire independent lawyers, undertaken by their family members, were unsuccessful, as the detained, under obvious pressure from the intelligence services, declined he offer of defence, or the attorneys themselves subsequently denied the rendering of legal services. Consul General of Ukraine was permitted to visit Valentyn Vyhivskyi and Yuriy Soloshenko only after 8 and 10 months, respectively, after their arrest. Unfortunately, Viktor Shur was not eligible for this provision by virtue of his Russian citizenship.

-       The information on the detention and whereabouts of the accused was kept secret even from close relatives for a long time. Information got to the press only after the formal extension of the detention, which in some cases was up to 6 months. The relatives were not informed about the whereabouts of their loved ones.

-       During the visits, all prisoners showed extreme agitation. Shur and Vyhivskyi refused to comment on the details of the case. During the meeting with Ms. Svietova, Vyhivskyi even refused to indicate the number of the article under which he was accused. All three have pleaded guilty. It is highly probable that Ukrainians were intimidated with long prison terms, which is why they chose to cooperate with the investigative bodies.

-       According to Vyhivskyi’s statements, brute force was applied during his arrest: he was stripped and beaten and a bag was placed over his head. According to Viktor Shur’s son, psychotropic drugs were administered to his father.

-       Photos of the ‘military production plant’, allegedly taken by Viktor Shur, were nothing more than images of an abandoned airfield, the operation of which had been suspended back in the era of the Soviet Union. The airstrip was destroyed and completely overgrown with grass. By itself, the object constitutes no military secret.

-       The Poltava factory ‘Znamya’, headed by Yuriy Soloshenko until 2010, produced components for air defence systems ‘Osa’, ‘Buk’, ‘Tor’, ‘Tunguska’. The Russian Defence Ministry placed orders with the company until 2010. It is likely that this information was not a secret to the competent authorities of Ukraine, on whose territory the plant is located

 

The case of Castigator

Serhiy Lytvynov lived in the Komyshnoye-Stanichno village in Lugansk Province, along with his common-law wife and 14-year-old daughter; he worked for a local businessman, doing odd jobs. He completed 7 years of primary education and, according to villagers, barely mastered the ability to read and write; he suffered from diseases related to malformations, and for this reason, was not liable for military service.

Sergiy Lytvynov - a resident of Lugansk Province.

Arrested-  21.08.2014

Accusation -  the murder of two or more people (Art. 105, section 2 of the CC of the RF), and the use of prohibited means and methods of warfare (Art. 356, section 1 of the CC of the RF),

Legal penalty – 8.5 years in a strict regime penal colony

Mailing Address: 346880, Russia, Rostov Oblast, Bataysk, 356 Gorkogo Str., penal colony #15

On 12 August, 2014, according to the testimony of the village paramedic, Serhiy Lytvynov went to the hospital of Rostov Province in order to seek dental assistance, as all the nearby medical institutions on the territory of Ukraine were inaccessible due to military operations. At the hospital, he was diagnosed with periostitis, consequently, he needed surgery. Lytvynov was admitted to hospital and spent several days there. On 21 August, 2014. Serhiy Lytvynov was taken by unknown masked men from the hospital and transferred to the Rostov Regional Directorate for Combating Organised Crime (RDCOC). On 29 September, 2014, the Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case on charges of ‘genocide’ of the Russian-speaking population in south-eastern Ukraine, and a day later, Lytvynov was formally arrested. He was accused of committing dozens of assassinations and rapes in the south-east of Ukraine, which he had, allegedly, committed on the orders of the management of the Ukrainian battalion ‘Dnipro‑1’ and Igor Kolomoysky personally. As soon as on 14 October, 2014, he was transferred to Moscow for a comprehensive psychological and psychiatric examination; based on the results of the examination, he was deemed sane.

During the investigation, Serhiy Lytvynov incriminated himself, ‘confessed’ to committing a number of grave crimes in Lugansk Province, namely: the assassination of 39 men, the rape and murder of eight women and the assassination of a 12-year-old girl. Lytvynov also reported that the orders, given to him by the leadership of the battalion ‘Dnipro‑1’ were aimed “exclusively at deteriorating the demographic situation among the Russian-speaking population”. As an incentive, battalion soldiers were allegedly paid cash rewards “calculated depending on the number of people killed by each of them during mopping-up operations”. According to the case file, Igor Kolomoyskiy “personally delivered the money to soldiers”

On 10 November, 2014, after a meeting with Ukrainian consul, Lytvynov recanted his previous testimony, claiming that he had been subjected to torture. He also refuted the allegations about his involvement in the battalion ‘Dnipro‑1’, which was confirmed by the statement of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation itself admitted the unjustifiability of the charges, and, on 30 November, 2015, it handed down to counsel Viktor Parshutkin, a decision to discontinue the criminal proceedings against Lytvynov, justifying it with the following wording: “…the investigative bodies concluded that the charges of committing a crime, punishable under Article 105, section 2, letters ‘a’, ‘zh’, ‘l’, and Article 356, section 1 of the CC of the RF, brought against S. N. Lytvynov, have not been substantiated with sufficient evidence, while the evidence obtained do not suggest S. N. Lytvynov’s involvement in the alleged crime, and opportunities for generating new evidence have been exhausted.”

Fabrication of the charges

The defence puts into question the authenticity of the protocols of interrogation of the accused. Serhiy Lytvynov, who only completed 7 years of primary school and is barely able to provide his personal data, suddenly begins to employ complex grammatical structures with the use of specific criminological lexicon in the interrogation protocol.

Serhiy Lytvynov’s counsel, Viktor Parshutkin managed to obtain information indicating that the persons and a number of addresses, indicated in the case file, in fact, never existed on the territory of Stanichno Lugansk district of Lugansk Province. People listed in the indictment by name had never lived there and had never been registered there. Their corpses were never taken to the morgue. Accordingly, in reality, no victims exist in this case.

According to the adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko, the battalion ‘Dnipro‑1’ was deployed solely within the territory of the Western Donbass and never carried out military operations on the territory of Lugansk Province, as was stated in the case file.

In accordance with the results of the comprehensive psychological and psychophysiological forensics (including a polygraph test), initiated directly by the investigation department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, “72 % of the mental and physical reactions of the accused indicate that he did not participate on orders in executions, committed either independently or as part of a group, he did not receive orders to kill women and children, he did not take part in the assassinations or rapes of women and children, he did not receive orders to take part in mopping-up operations in residential areas; he was not trained in the battalion ‘Dnipro1’ and he did not receive offers to join it

The use of torture

During the meeting with the Consul General of Ukraine, Serhiy Lytvynov stated that he had incriminated himself under torture; in this connection, the Embassy of Ukraine in the Russian Federation sent an official notice of protest. As reported by Serhiy Lytvynov to Elena Masuk, a member of the Public Oversight Commission of Moscow and a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights, after his arrest, the FSB workers transported him to a wooded area, where he was subjected to severe violence: he was tied to a tree upside down, tortured with electric shocks, beaten on various parts of his body, a gun was fired close to his ear and he was stabbed in the ribs.

The polygraph test confirmed that prohibited methods of physical and psychological pressure were used on Lytvynov.

 

The Chechen case

Citizens of Ukraine Stanislav Klykh and Mykola Karpyuk are involved as defendants in the so-called Chechen case’ — a fabricated criminal case against senior officials of Ukraine (including the current Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk) for crimes committed on the territory of the Russian Federation during the First Chechen War of the mid‑1990s. Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh are simultaneously defendants and witnesses in the criminal case. They gave their testimonies under torture. Karpyuk and Klykh were arrested under different circumstances for alleged administrative offences. Later, they were accused of forming a gang and participating in it, as well as the assassinations of Russian soldiers during the First Chechen War.

Stanislav Klykh – a history lecturer at a Kyiv university

Arrested- 11.08.2014

Accusation – leadership of and participation in a gang (Art. 209, sections 1 and 2 of the CC of the RF), the murder of two or more persons in connection with the performance of their official duties (Art. 102, letters ‘v’, ‘z’ and ‘n’ of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR), as well as the attempted murder of two or more persons in connection with the performance of their official duties  (Art. 15, section 2, Art. 102, subsections ‘v’, ‘z’ and ‘n’ of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR).

Legal penalty – 20 years in a strict regime penal colony

Mailing Address: 64037, Russia, Chechen Republic, Grozny, 2 Sunzhenskaya Str., remand prison #1

Stanislav Klykh was detained on 11 August, 2014 on the territory of Russia in the city of Orel (Orel Province) during a private visit to a girl whom he had met earlier in Crimea. Stanislav’s parents learned about the incident through a phone call from an unknown man, who told them that their son had been arrested for 15 days for ‘disobeying a police order’. Stanislav’s parents immediately went to the city of Orel in order to meet their son in person, but they did not find him there, as Stanislav had been transferred to Yessentuki (North Caucasian Federal District, Russia). On 24 August, 2014, at 2 a. m., Tamara Ivanovna, the 71-year-old mother of Stanislav, received a phone call from her son. He confirmed that he was in Yessentuki and reported that he was being accused of crimes committed in the mid‑90s. The next day, she received a text message stating that he was about to be transported to Pyatigorsk (Stavropol Krai, Russia). That was the last time she had any contact with her son and for many months after, she received no information about him.

 

Mykola Karpyuk – a deputy head of the Ukrainian nationalist organization UNA-UNSO, deputy head of the political party ‘Pravyi sektor’ [‘The Right Sector’], a participant of Euromaidan

Arrested- 11.03.2014

Accusation - leadership of and participation in a gang (Art. 209, sections 1 and 2 of the CC of the RF), the murder of two or more persons in connection with the performance of their official duties (Art. 102, letters ‘v’, ‘z’ and ‘n’ of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR), as well as the attempted murder of two or more persons in connection with the performance of their official duties  (Art. 15, section 2, Art. 102, subsections ‘v’, ‘z’ and ‘n’ of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR).

Legal penalty – 22.5 years in a strict regime penal colony

Mailing Address: 64037, Russia, Chechen Republic, Grozny, 2 Sunzhenskaya Str., remand prison #1

Mykola Karpyuk was detained under even more mysterious circumstances. For a long time, there was no information about his whereabouts, which prompted fear for his life and safety. It was only 14 months later that the first information about his whereabouts came to light. At the beginning of March 2014, the leadership of the ‘Right Sector’ sent Mykola Karpyuk to a meeting with ‘the leadership of the Russian Federation’, organized by another party member Vyacheslav Fursa. On 17 March, 2014, Mykola, along with Vyacheslav, went to a meeting in Moscow. On the Russian border, they were arrested and charged with an administrative offence, and, subsequently, sent to the Bryansk department of the FSB. On 20 March, 2014, the FSB accused Mykola of involvement in the Chechen events and transferred him to the unit of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in Yessentuki. Vyacheslav Fursa was released. The aforementioned chronology of events raises suspicions that in this case, there was a pre-planned operation aimed at luring the leaders of the ‘Right Sector’ to the territory of the Russian Federation under false pretences.

The trial

On 15 September, 2015, during the preliminary hearing in the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic, the defendants’ counsels filed a motion for the consideration of the case by the jury; following the admission of the motion, 12 primary jurors and 8 tales men were appointed. The jury trial began on 26 October, 2015. On the same day, in addition to Marina Dubrovna and Dokka Itslayev, the interests of the prisoners were represented by Ilya Novikov.

At the first hearing, the judge, without any justification, prohibited video recording by journalists present in the courtroom. The counsel’s comments on the inadmissibility of the reading out of Karpyuk’s testimony given under torture, in the presence of the jury, met with a refusal from the judge; as a response, Karpyuk, claiming that he didn’t “want to have anything to do with this lie”, demanded that he be removed from the courtroom. As a result, the court granted the request for examination of the allegations of torture, this time filed by the prosecutor’s office.

The court hearings are scheduled to take place until the end of January 2016. However, given the relatively small number of tales men, it is likely that the case will be reconsidered from the very beginning, if the number of potential tales men is exhausted (in accordance with Russian legislation, the juror must be replaced after the first missed meeting).

The case of Ukrainians Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh is different from similar cases, which may be linked to de facto armed aggression of Russia against Ukraine and the temporary occupation of Crimea, due to the statute of limitations for the alleged crimes. This fact greatly complicates the process of gathering evidence of innocence. However, the lack of clarification regarding the circumstances of the detention of the accused, the complete isolation of the two men during the time of the investigation and, most importantly, the evidence of torture — all these factors serve to cast doubt over the legitimacy and validity of the charges.

Also, the circumstances of the disappearance of Mykola Karpyuk and accusations, subsequently presented against Yatsenyuk, Yarosh and the Tyagnibok brothers, lead to a logical conclusion that the case was initiated in order to discredit the ruling circles of ‘post-Maidan’ Ukraine, countering the policies of the current leadership of the Russian Federation. Stanislav Klykh and Mykola Karpyuk have become hostages of the criminal proceedings, directed against the highest senior officials of Ukraine. Indirect proof of this exists in the fact that, in the indictment act of the case, the name of the current Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk appears 228 times.

In May 2016 the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic sentenced Stanislav Klykh and Mykola Karpyuk to 20 and 22.5 years in a high-security prison, respectively.

International Human Rights Center "Memorial" declared Stanislav Klykh and Mykola Karpyuk to be political prisoners. United States Mission to the OSCE called on Russia for their immediate release.

The use of torture

The exertion of torture on Stanislav KlykhDuring the first two months, following the refusal to admit his presence in Chechnya, Stanislav Klykh was subjected to torture, which he later described in his letter to the ECHR. In particular, he reported the use of electric shocks, strangulation, battery, deprivation of sleep, food and water and the use of alcohol and psychotropic substances. During his time in the detention facility, Stanislav lost 15 kg and suffered from dystrophy. His feet are covered with numerous scars from prolonged kneeling.

His hands are twisted due to handcuffing to bars. Before every torture session, a plastic bag, sealed with tape, was put over his head, and after the procedures, unknown masked men “spread green disinfectant and iodine on the wounds on his arms and legs, as in some places, the lesions in his skin almost went down to the bone”.

The exertion of torture on Mykola Karpyuk. According to the same statement, sent by Mykola Karpyuk to the ECHR, he was also subjected to torture with the use of electric shocks (to the genitals and limbs), strangulation, battery and deprivation of sleep. In addition, he stated that at the time when needles were driven under his fingernails, he felt no pain, as his fingers were almost completely numb after the application of an electric current. However, the most severe torture for him were threats that his wife and son would be abducted and subjected to the same procedures. Following those threats, Mykola agreed to incriminate himself.

 

The case of Hostage

Hayser Dzhemilev did commit a criminal offence, but his pursuit by the law enforcement bodies of Russia is politically motivated and linked to his father’s status as a figurehead. His father is the leader of the Crimean Tatars, Mustafa Dzhemilev, who openly opposes Russia’s occupation of the peninsula.

Hayser Dzemilev - the youngest son of the leader of the Crimean Tatar people, Mustafa Dzhemilev.

Arrested-  September 2014

Released –25.11.2016

Accusation - theft and illegal possession of weapons (Art. 226 and Art. 222 of the CC of the RF).

Legal penalty – 3.5 years in a general regime penal colony

On 27 May, 2013, Hayser Dzhemilev, with his father’s rifle, shot and killed 43-year-old Fevzi Edemov, who worked in the Dzhemilevs’ house and was considered a friend of the family. According to Hayser’s family members, he had previously suffered from mental illness which could have contributed to the tragedy’s occurrence. A psychiatric examination, carried out prior to the judicial proceedings, recognised Hayser Dzhemilev as mentally sane. In November 2013, the Crimean Bakhchisarai District Court began to examine the merits of the criminal case against Hayser Dzhemilev. The public prosecutor accused him of murder, the theft of a firearm and illegal possession and storage of a firearm. Dzhemilev himself pleaded guilty to one only count — illegal possession of a weapon.

Hayser Dzhemilev was held in a Bakhchisarai detention centre in Crimea and, following the occupation of the peninsula by Russia, he found himself under the jurisdiction of law enforcement and prison authorities of the Russian Federation. In April 2014, an ‘investigation’ into the case of Dzhemilev began anew under Russian law. At the same time, the court extended his detention. In September 2014, Hayser Dzhemilev was transferred to the Krasnodar Krai of the Russian Federation.

On 17 February, 2015, the trial of Hayser Dzhemilev was launched in the Krasnodar Regional Court.  According to the case file, Dzhemilev was presented with charges of embezzlement, illegal possession and carrying of a firearm and ammunition, as well as the premeditated murder of a man, committed through hooliganism.

On 10 June, 2015, the Krasnodar Regional Court, on the basis of the verdict of the jury, sentenced Hayser Dzhemilev to 5 years in prison on charges of negligent homicide (Art. 109 of the CC of the RF), as well as theft and illegal possession of weapons (Art. 226 and Art. 222 of the CC of the RF). The term of his punishment will be counted from the day of his actual arrest, i. e. 27 May, 2013.

On 21 May, 2015, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, in accordance with the European Convention on Extradition of 1957, appealed to the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation with a request that Hayser Dzhemilev be subjected to extradition in order to serve the sentence, handed down by the district court. The Russian side has not yet responded to the request.

On 2 September, 2015, the jury of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation changed the decision of the Krasnodar court in respect of Hayser Dzhemilev and reduced the sentence from 5 to 3.5 years’ imprisonment.

Hayser Dzhemilev is a citizen of Ukraine, as he previously filed a statement renouncing his Russian citizenship. At the moment, he is registered as a resident of Kyiv. According to the legislation of the Russian Federation (Art. 12, section 3 of the CC of the RF), foreign nationals who have committed a crime outside the Russian Federation, shall be subject to criminal liability under Russian law only if: the crime was directed against the interests of the Russian Federation or a citizen of the Russian Federation. As at the time of the offence, the Crimean Peninsula was de facto and de jure, a part of Ukraine, and the victim, Fevzi Edemov, had Ukrainian citizenship, Hayser Dzhemilev falls under criminal liability in the framework of the Ukrainian legislation, and cannot fall under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation. Thus, the trial of Dzhemilev in Russia is illegal. After the annexation of Crimea by Russia, judicial examination of the case of Hayser Dzhemilev continued in Kyiv’s courts.

A number of violations in the case of Hayser Dzhemilev indicate the political nature of his prosecution. Hayser Dzhemilev has become a hostage, whom Russia tried to use in order to exert pressure on his father Mustafa Dzhemilev.

On 26 September, 2015, it was announced that Hayser Dzhemilev had been transferred to Astrakhan Province in the south-west of the Russian Federation and the term of his sentence was cut in year and a half in connection with the expiry of periods of limitations under the Article on murder. His relatives were not officially notified about the place to which Dzhemilev was transferred. According to Russian law, he must serve his sentence in a prison near his place of residence (in Crimea), or near the place of sentencing (Krasnodar Krai). According to Counsel Nikolay Polozov, the illegal transfer of Dhzemilev to another region is a politically motivated decision of the Russian authorities prompted by Mustafa Dzhemilev’s principled position regarding the occupation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia. Hayser Dzhemilev was held in penal colony № 10 in the city of Astrakhan. It should be noted that Mustafa Dzhemilev is prohibited from entering the territory of the Russian Federation.

On November 2, 2016, Hayser Dzhemilev was  recognized to be citizen of Ukraine by Astrakhan Regional Court and he was released as far as term for serving punishment expired and there were no legal grounds to stay on the territory of Russian Federation.

 

Crimean Moslems’ case

The self-proclaimed authorities of annexed Crimea have begun to persecute people on religious grounds. On 23 January, 2015, near Sevastopol, members of the Islamic organisation ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, Crimean Muslims: Ruslan Zeytullayev, Nuri Primov and Rustem Vaitov were detained. On 2 April, 2015, another member of this organisation, Feram Sayfullayev, was detained.

 

Ferat Sayfullayev

Arrested- 02.04.2015

Accusation -organising and participating  in the organisation of the group ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, recognised in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organisation by decision of the Supreme Court as of 14 February, 2003.

Legal penalty – 5 years  general regime penal colony

Mailing Address: 344010, Russia, Rostov-na-Donu, 219 Gorkogo Str., remand prison #1

 

Nuri Primov

Arrested- 23.01.2015

Accusation - participation in the organisation of the group ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, recognised in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organisation by decision of the Supreme Court as of 14 February, 2003.

Legal penalty –5 years  general regime penal colony

Mailing Address: 344010, Russia, Rostov-na-Donu, 219 Gorkogo Str., remand prison #1

 

Rustem Vaitov -construction worker

Arrested- 23.01.2015

Accusation - participation in the organisation of the group ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, recognised in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organisation by decision of the Supreme Court as of 14 February, 2003.

Legal penalty – 5 years general regime penal colony

Mailing Address: 344010, Russia, Rostov-na-Donu, 219 Gorkogo Str., remand prison #1

 

Ruslan Zeytullayev - activist

Arrested- 23.01.2015

Accusation - participation in the organisation of the group ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, recognised in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organisation by decision of the Supreme Court as of 14 February, 2003.

Legal penalty –7 years  general regime penal colony

Mailing Address: 344010, Russia, Rostov-na-Donu, 219 Gorkogo Str., remand prison #1

The investigation into the case is being carried out by the Federal Security Service of Crimea. It should be noted that in Ukraine, the organisation ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, engaged in religious, political and educational activities, acts freely. According to the general ideas of Western democratic countries, the organisation is not extremist. However, following the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, the organisation ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’ has been banned, and thousands of its supporters face criminal prosecution. At the same time, Counsel Emil Kurbedinov, who is the defender of Ruslan Zeytullayev, insists on the absence of corpus delicti in his client’s actions. Moreover, according to counsels and relatives, the investigative authorities have no evidence linking any of the four suspects to the activities of ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, and searches, carried out within the criminal proceedings, revealed no evidence linking the detainees to the said organisation. Thus, there is a dangerous trend of systematic persecution of Crimean Muslims on religious grounds. According to some observers, any inconvenient Crimean Muslim can be included in the case now; this practice has also been adopted by the special services of the Russian Federation in the Caucasus previously, when representatives of some nations were portrayed by the media as terrorist/extremist.

 

Zevri Abseitov-. dentist

Arrested- 12.05.2016

Accusation - participation in the organisation of the group ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, recognised in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organisation by decision of the Supreme Court as of 14 February, 2003.

Legal penalty –from 5 up to 10 years

Mailing Address: 01014, Ukraine, Kyiv, 22/14 Sedovtsiv Str., Crimean Tatar Mejlis Office

 

Memetov Remzi - chef

Arrested- 12.05.2016

Accusation - participation in the organisation of the group ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, recognised in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organisation by decision of the Supreme Court as of 14 February, 2003.

Legal penalty – from 5 up to 10 years

Mailing Address: 01014, Ukraine, Kyiv, 22/14 Sedovtsiv Str., Crimean Tatar Mejlis Office

 

Enver Mamutov - construction worker

Arrested- 12.05.2016

Accusation - participation in the organisation of the group ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, recognised in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organisation by decision of the Supreme Court as of 14 February, 2003.

Legal penalty –20 years 

Mailing Address: 01014, Ukraine, Kyiv, 22/14 Sedovtsiv Str., Crimean Tatar Mejlis Office

 

Refat Alimov - manager

Arrested- 18.04.2016

Accusation - participation in the organisation of the group ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, recognised in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organisation by decision of the Supreme Court as of 14 February, 2003.

Legal penalty – from 5 up to 10 years

Mailing Address: 01014, Ukraine, Kyiv, 22/14 Sedovtsiv Str., Crimean Tatar Mejlis Office

 

Arsen Dzhepparov

Arrested- 18.04.2016

Accusation - participation in the organisation of the group ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, recognised in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organisation by decision of the Supreme Court as of 14 February, 2003.

Legal penalty – from 5 up to 10 years

Mailing Address: 01014, Ukraine, Kyiv, 22/14 Sedovtsiv Str., Crimean Tatar Mejlis Office

 

Vadym Siruk - activist

Arrested- 11.02.2016

Accusation - participation in the organisation of the group ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, recognised in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organisation by decision of the Supreme Court as of 14 February, 2003.

Legal penalty – from 5 up to 10 years

Mailing Address: 01014, Ukraine, Kyiv, 22/14 Sedovtsiv Str., Crimean Tatar Mejlis Office

 

Emir-Usein Kuku - human rights activist

Arrested - 11.02.2016

Accusation - participation in the organisation of the group ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, recognised in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organisation by decision of the Supreme Court as of 14 February, 2003.

Legal penalty – 15 years

Mailing Address: 01014, Ukraine, Kyiv, 22/14 Sedovtsiv Str., Crimean Tatar Mejlis Office

 

Muslim Aliyev - activist

Arrested- 11.02.2016

Accusation - participation in the organisation of the group ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, recognised in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organisation by decision of the Supreme Court as of 14 February, 2003.

Legal penalty –10 years 

Mailing Address:01014, Ukraine, Kyiv, 22/14 Sedovtsiv Str., Crimean Tatar Mejlis Office

 

Enver Bekirov - guard, head of the local Muslim community

Arrested - 11.02.2016

Accusation - participation in the organisation of the group ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, recognised in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organisation by decision of the Supreme Court as of 14 February, 2003.

Legal penalty –from 5 up to10 years 

Mailing Address: 01014, Ukraine, Kyiv, 22/14 Sedovtsiv Str., Crimean Tatar Mejlis Office

 

Rustem Abiltarov 

Arrested- 12.05.2016

Accusation - participation in the organisation of the group ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’, recognised in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organisation by decision of the Supreme Court as of 14 February, 2003.

Legal penalty – from 5 up to10 years 

Mailing Address: 01014, Ukraine, Kyiv, 22/14 Sedovtsiv Str., Crimean Tatar Mejlis Office

 

February 26 case

At the beginning of 2015, i. e. nearly a year after the events occurred under the government of the Supreme Council of Crimea, three Crimean Tatars, namely: Akhtem Chiyhoz, Ali Asanov, Mustafa Dehermendzhi were arrested and, as of today, they remain in custody.

 

Ali Asanov - farmer

Arrested - 15.04.2015

Accusation - participation in the riots (Art. 212, section 2 of the CC of the RF)

Legal penalty –8 years

Mailing Address: 01014, Ukraine, Kyiv, 22/14 Sedovtsiv Str., Crimean Tatar Mejlis Office

Ali Asanov, a Crimean Tatar, resident of the village of Urozhayneye, was detained on 16 April, 2015. Prior to his arrest, he worked as a farmer and supported three children (his fourth child was born following his arrest), his wife and his disabled father. He was not engaged in social activism, the entirety of his work was aimed at supporting his family. The defence argues that Ali Asanov’s actions bear no legal components of the alleged crime. At the same time, Ali admits to participating in the peace rally of 26 February, 2014, but he denies any wrongdoing.

 

Mustafa Dehermendzhi- entrepreneur

Arrested - 07.05.2015

Accusation - participation in the riots (Art. 212, section 2 of the CC of the RF)

Legal penalty – 8 years

Mailing Address: 01014, Ukraine, Kyiv, 22/14 Sedovtsiv Str., Crimean Tatar Mejlis Office

Mustafa Dehermendzhi, a Crimean Tatar, was detained on 7 May, 2015The main evidence, cited by the so called investigative authorities, takes the form of video footage which allegedly features Mustafa. The defence insists that the video, presented as evidence in the criminal proceedings, does not prove that the suspect participated in the riots, as the acts it depicts, occurred well in advance of the time that the scuffle between the participants of both rallies broke out.

 

Akhtem Chiyhoz - Deputy Chairman of the Majlis of the Crimean Tatar People

Arrested- 29.01.2015

Accusation - organisation of mass riots (Art. 212, section 1 of the CC of the RF).

Legal penalty – 15 years

Mailing Address: 01014, Ukraine, Kyiv, 22/14 Sedovtsiv Str., Crimean Tatar Mejlis Office

Akhtem Chiyhoz, a Crimean Tatar, was detained on 29 January, 2015. He was engaged in public activity, which distinguishes him from other defendants in the case, and which, to some extent, explains the increased interest of law enforcement bodies in him. Akhtem Chiyhoz doesn’t deny his participation in a peace rally near the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on 26 February, 2014. At the same time, the video, presented by the Investigative Committee, which constituted a major part of the evidence base used to establish his guilt, does not show Akhtem Chiyhoz committing any violent acts. Nevertheless, he is accused of committing a serious crime, namely: the organisation of mass riots.

 

Persecution for Euromaidan

Oleksandr Kostenko participated in protest rallies known as Euromaidan. Following the annexation of Crimea by Russia, Kostenko, fearing persecution, remained in mainland Ukraine. According to Counsel Dmitryi Sotnikov, Kostenko was kidnapped from the territory of Ukraine and transferred to the Bryansk Province of the RF. He managed to flee from his kidnappers in December 2014, and he returned to Crimea via the territory of Russia. A few days later, a man named V. Poliyenko, a former employee of the Crimean Special Police ‘Berkut’, who crossed over to the law enforcement bodies of the occupant, filed a claim against Kostenko, accusing him of allegedly throwing a stone at him during Euromaidan in Kyiv, when Poliyenko, as a police officer, was fulfilling his duties of ‘maintaining public order’.

 

Oleksandr Kostenko - a former employee of the Ukrainian police, participant in Euromaidan civil society activist.

Arrested - 15.02.2015

Accusation - causing minor bodily harm, resulting in a short-term health disorder, for reasons of ideological hatred or hostility (Art. 115, section 2, subsection ‘b’ of the CC of the RF); and illegal possession and carrying of firearms and ammunition (Art. 222, section 1 of the CC of the RF).

Legal penalty – 3 years and 11 months in a general regime penal colony

Mailing Address: 613049, Russia, Kirovo-Chepetsk, 16 Ovrazhnaya Str., penal colony #5

Kostenko was accused, on 18 February, 2014, of “being aware of mass riots in Kyiv, conspired to bring about an illegal overthrow of the constitutional order (…), cast a stone at a policeman out of a sense of ideological hatred and hostility towards employees of the internal affairs bodies.”

On 8 February, 2015, the Kyiv District Court of Simferopol imposed a measure of restraint with regards to Kostenko in the form of detention, although he was charged with a minor offence, and he had health problems (a broken arm).

On the day of Kostenko’s detention, his apartment was searched, and as a result, the barrel of an unregistered weapon was allegedly found. It is noteworthy that the report from the object examination (of the part of the weapon found — Ed.) indicates that it was discovered on 5 February, 2015, i. e. on the day of Kostenko’s actual detention. However, the protocol of inspection of the apartment contains a different date, namely 6 February, 2015, which was supposed to confirm the fabricated version that Kostenko was detained on 6 February, 2015. The discovery of parts of the weapon in Kostenko’s apartment resulted in the bringing of an additional charge of illegally possessing a firearm and its basic parts.

It should also be noted that, if it hadn’t been for the timely intervention of the counsel, Oleksandr Kostenko would have had every chance of being convicted on charges of terrorism. Immediately after his arrest, the Russian media reported that a group of Ukrainian nationalists, which was preparing to assassinate several people, including Sergey Aksyonov, had been exposed. Kostenko was also allegedly a member of the said group.

At the moment, Oleksandr Kostenko is being held in penal colony № 5 of the city of Kirovo- Chepetsk of Kirov Province, Russia. It is noteworthy that according to the laws of the Russian Federation, the convicted person must serve his sentence in a colony near his place of residence or the place of his sentencing. In the case of Oleksandr Kostenko, this would be the territory of Crimea.

The case against Oleksandr Kostenko is part of a campaign to persecute pro-Ukrainian activists in Crimea. The dangerous trend of extending the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation for crimes committed in another state and against the citizens of that state continued. According to the criminal case file, the offence began and ended on 18 February, 2014, in Kyiv, at the time when the accused and the victim were citizens of Ukraine. Bringing Kostenko to criminal liability constitutes a gross violation of the norms of the Russian legislature. Also, according to the legislation of the Russian Federation, foreign citizens who have committed a crime outside the Russian Federation shall be subject to criminal liability under Russian law only if crime was directed against the interests of the Russian Federation or a citizen of the Russian Federation.

It is worth noting that members of Oleksandr Kostenko’s family have been subjected to persecution as well. Criminal proceedings were initiated against his brother for contempt of court,  and his father, Fedor Kostenko, disappeared while crossing the border between Ukraine and Crimea under mysterious circumstances on 3 March, 2015. Counsel Dmitriy Sotnikov was also subjected to pressure through absurd complaints against him, addressed by people such as Natalia Poklonska (General Prosecutor of annexed Crimea, appointed by the Russian authorities). However, complaints were not granted.

The use of torture

Following the arrest, Tishenin and Shambazov drove Kostenko to an unknown location where he was subjected to torture: a plastic bag was placed on his head, which prevented him from breathing, they put an unloaded gun to his head and pulled the trigger, threatened to cut off his finger and send it to relatives, beat him on the head and passed an electric current through his body. FSB officers demanded that he confessed to committing offences during Euromaidan in Kyiv. 33 The day following the actual arrest, on 6 February, 2015, Kostenko was forced to drink 200 grams of vodka, and then taken to the FSB, which was recorded as his voluntary surrender.

 

Andriy Kolomiets

Arrested- 15.05.2015

Accusation - possession of drugs, (Art.228 of the CC of the RF) attempt to commit crime (Article 30 - of the CC of the RF)

Legal penalty – 10 years in a strict regime penal colony 

Mailing Address: 01014, Ukraine, Kyiv, 22/14 Sedovtsiv Str., Crimean Tatar Mejlis Office

May 15, 2015, he was arrested in Kabardino-Balkaria in violation of the rules of procedure of the Russian Federation. He has been staying in the remand prison in Simferopol since August 13, 2015. Previously, Andriy Kolomiets reported to the Crimean Human Rights Group that he had been tortured in the North Caucasus immediately after the arrest. In particular, he said, it was also made in order to force him to give testimony against Oleksandr Kostenko. Kostenko was also sentenced in Crimea for the attack on the Berkut officer during the Maidan protests.

According to the Russian investigation, Kolomiets, as a member of the «extremist organization «Ukrainian insurgent army» (UPA), during the mass unrest in Kiev in January 2014 made an attempt on the life of two employees of the Crimean special forces «Berkut», throwing their Molotov cocktails.

According to human rights activists at the hearing, counsel indicated to the court the use of torture to Him after the arrest, but also pointed to the facts that indicate fraud in this case. Witness for the defence also pointed to the fact that Kolomiets had traces of torture on his body.

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