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Russian authorities are using illegal methods of investigation in the case of “Ukrainian saboteurs”

img_7832Ukrainian citizens that were detained in Crimea in the period from August to November 2016 in so-called case of “Ukrainian saboteurs”, are being imprisoned for political reasons, in violation of fundamental rights and freedoms. This makes it possible to consider them as political prisoners on the basis of international legal norms.

That is the conclusion that was reached by the experts of the Crimean Human Rights Group (CHRG). Since August 2016, they record and analyse information on the case of the so-called “Ukrainian saboteurs.” Today, the names of 10 detainees in this case are known.

However, we can assume with a high degree of probability that there are more detained, as Russian media reported with reference to the FSS the arrest of 9 people in August.

According to information gathered by the CHRG, citizens of Ukraine Evgeniy Panov, Andrey Zahtey, Redvan Suleymanov, Vladimir Prisich were arrested in August 2016. Dmitry Shtyblikov, Alexei Bessarabov, Vladimir Dudka, Gleb Shabliy, Alexey Stogniy and Leonid Parkhomenko were arrested in November.

Russian media have published videos – fragments of operational filming of the FSS, in which some of the “Ukrainian saboteurs” give “confessions” against themselves.

Candidate of Legal Sciences, Associate Professor, lawyer Yury Grishin analyzed the content of these videos and pointed out a number of gross violations of criminal procedural legislation of the Russian Federation de facto acting in Crimea. “During the interrogation the “saboteurs” were repeatedly asked leading questions that already have the answer. Interrogations are carried out without the defenders. Produced video does not contain any video capture of all the participants of the investigative action, although it is one of the compulsory conditions of its creation, “- said Grishin.

“That means, the investigators are going to use inadmissible evidence. The foregoing circumstances, with high probability, suggests that “the Ukrainian saboteurs” give false testimony, perjure themselves as a result of the application of illegal methods of investigation to them”, – said the expert.

Pavel Lakiychuk, the expert at the Centre of Global Studies “Strategy XXI”, a former head of the Information Programs of the NOMOS Center, who personally knows Alexey Bessarabov and Dmitry Shtyblikov, provided biographical information about the defendants in the case of “Ukrainian saboteurs.” The expert pointed out an interesting detail in the biography of Gleb Chablis and suggested that the target of the FSS can be rear-admiral of the Ukrainian Navy Vladimir Anisimovich Kolpakov as Shabliy is his close relative.

Lakiychuk is fully convinced of the innocence of his former colleagues. “New Crimean saboteurs” are united only by the year of birth and training time in the military educational institutions of Ukraine. Maybe they knew each other, but to unite them in the “Ukrainian subversive and terrorist group” – is absurd, “- stated the former head of the NOMOS.

The head of the Crimean Human Rights Group Olga Skripnik reported about numerous violations that were recorded by experts and lawyers of the CHRG regarding “Crimean saboteurs”:

– Falsification of evidence, the absence of direct evidence, spreading of the staged interrogation videos;

– Forced confessions, the absence of the defence in legal proceedings, staging character of interrogation;

– Obstruction of the work of lawyers: illegal refusal to visit clients, forcing detainees to the withdrawal of the lawyers on the invitation; involvement of court-appointed lawyers, which operate formally, without providing actual protection of detainees; creation of barriers in access of lawyers at the invitation to the defendant (detainees are kept in those pre-detention centres or prisons, which are contrary to the decisions of the court for arrest);

– Positioning of the detainees still at the investigation stage in the information field of Russia and Crimea as perpetrators, which violates the presumption of innocence;

– The inability to study the case by a competent, independent and impartial court, acting on the basis of the law;

– The use of torture, physical and psychological pressure.

“The so-called “saboteurs case” has become widespread since the persecution is carried out not against one person but against a group of people, and not only regarding those who constantly live in Crimea, but also regarding Ukrainians, temporarily being there.

With regard to persons detained according to the “cases of Crimean saboteurs” fundamental human rights have been violated: the prohibition of torture, the right to liberty and security of person, the right to a fair trial, the right to an effective remedy “, – summed up Olga Skrypnyk.

Igor Kotelyanets brother of Evgeniy Panov, urged all who are not indifferent to the fate of the Ukrainians, deprived of their liberty by the Russian Federation, not to forget them and try to morally support them. In particular, he proposed to send a letter or postcard to his brother at PO BOX 201 5 Lefortovo shaft, Moscow 111020, Russian Federation to Panov Evgeny, DOB 06.06.1977.



Crimean citizens are recruited into the Russian army in violation of the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of WarOn 30 July, 2017 another action was held in Sevastopol calling to serve under the contract in the Russian army. The citizens of Sevastopol again were recruited for military service. At the so-called “point of selection for military service on a contract basis” they distributed booklets with agitation to serve in separate coastal defence brigade 126 and in landing ships brigade 197 of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation. Agitation was held in Sevastopol during the celebration of the day of the Navy on Nakhimov Square. According to the Crimea.Realii website, an exhibition of land military equipment was held on the same square; The exhibition included: a mobile coastal anti-ship missile system “Bastion” with a unified homing missile “Yakhont”, a mobile command and staff radio station, a floating wheeled armoured personnel carrier, an anti-aircraft missile system S-300 “Favorit” for the destruction of modern and prospective aircraft, a 122 mm missile-antiaircraft complex Grad, a multiple launch rocket system “Uragan”, an anti-aircraft missile system “Pantsir”, an air defence missile system “Osa”, a charging car, a self-propelled artillery “Gvozdika”. According to Russian media, the occupation authorities held a naval parade in the city, where military a demonstration fire was organized. The event began with the entrance of the three-masted sailing frigate “Khersones” to the Sevastopol Bay, at which students of the Ukrainian University (Kerch State Maritime Technological University) earlier had a maritime practice. According to local and Russian media, the training ship “Perekop”, missile cruiser “Moscow” and the diesel-electric submarine “Stary Oskol”, as well as the naval aviation Ka-27 helicopters and Su-30SM fighters, also took part in the military parade. Such actions of the Russian Federation in the territory of Ukraine, which was occupied by it, grossly violate international humanitarian law and are prohibited by international conventions. The Crimean Human Rights Group (CHRG) earlier recorded the holding of similar agitation events for military service in the Russian army in the occupied peninsula. We remind you that Article 51 of the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War explicitly prohibits the invocation of an occupying power in the occupied territory. The head of the CHRG, Olga Skrypnik, noted that among other things the Convention prohibits propaganda of the military conscription in the occupied territories, including all the advertising posters, various “patriotic” events in schools and universities where people are called to go to the Russian army. Both contractual and regular service are under the ban. Photos of the mobile point of military drafting and promotional booklets were made on 30 July in Sevastopol.

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