21 Kremlin political prisoners are suffering from health issues, and Russia is not treating these people. This number includes prisoners with significant diseases and disabilities who may die in captivity without medical care. The human rights defenders called upon the Russian Federation and the occupation authorities to provide urgently medical care to these Ukrainian citizens.
This was discussed on August 14, 2023, during the press-conference in Kyiv, where the human rights defenders presented a list of political prisoners who needed treatment.
This list includes names of Teymur Abdullayev, Arsen Abhayirov, Servet Gaziyev, Iryna Danylovych, Nariman Dzhelial, Volodymyr Dudka, Azamat Eyupov, Timur Ibrahimov, Igor Kiyashko, Emir-Useyin Kuku, Khalil Mambetov, Rustem Murasov, Zekirya Muratov, Ruslan Nagayev, Envyer Omerov, Oleh Prykhodko, Amet Suleymanov, Shaban Umyerov, Rustem Sheikhaliyev, Yashar Shykhametov, Ivan Yatskin.
The human rights defenders are calling this list the List of Hafarov – Shyrinh who died this February in the Russian prisones.
“Kostiantyn Shyring and Dzhemil Gafarov had severe chronic diseases, and they were denied medical care in the deprivation of liberty sites where they were held. Therefore, we have decided to check which political prisoners of the Kremlin are also suffering from health issues and need immediate medical care. These are 21 persons. We call on the occupying authorities of Crimea and officials of the Russian Federation to stop persecuting Crimean political prisoners and immediately provide medical care to those who need it,” Ms.Victoriya Nesterenko, manager of projects at the ZMINA Human Rights Center, said.
She stated that Russia failed to ensure the right of Crimean political prisoners to access to medical care, and the health of Ukrainian citizens was brought to the state when they died.
Mr. Ihor Kotelianets, Head of the Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin, said that most of the prisoners had chronic diseases, some had disabilities. “The most common issues that almost all prisoners suffer from,” Mr. Kotelianets said, “are toothache, the improperly functioning digestive system, hypertension, vision impairment and joint pain. This is caused by poor nutrition, staying in damp and dimly lit cells, and psychological overstrain.”
“People of mature age, such as Volodymyr Dudka, Zekirya Muratov and Oleр Prykhodko, are especially affected by this, as they risk never being released due to a large number of chronic diseases that they had even before imprisonment. The Russian Federation continues to grossly violate international humanitarian law, according to which not providing medical care is equivalent to torture,” Ihor Kotelianets continues.
As Crimean human rights defender and journalist Lutfiye Zudiyeva said, 60-year-old Azamat Eyupov from Bilohirsk suffered four ischemic strokes in the Russian detention center and his life is in danger. 38-year-old Amet Suleymanov from Bakhchisaray has been taken into custody, though the man needs a heart valve replacement and is constantly suffocating.
“Staying in the pre-trial detention center for Amet is tantamount to torture. Then, 58-year-old Volodymyr Dudka from Sevastopol suffers from stomach disease and hypertension. The court sentenced him to 14 years of imprisonment. They do not have the time and the energy for a bureaucratic struggle with the Russian penitentiary system. We can’t leave them alone with this, they shouldn’t be slowly dying in prison. The release of all political prisoners, as before, remains the main priority for human rights defenders,” Ms. Zudiyeva is convinced.
The human rights defenders are sure that the Ukrainian authorities should constantly focus on the health of Ukrainian citizens imprisoned by Russia.
Iryna Siedova, an expert of the Crimean Human Rights Group, voiced recommendations for the authorities, i.e., to investigate thoroughly such crimes, to do everything possible to bring the guilty to justice and to promote including them in international sanctions lists.
Siedova is convinced that the Ukrainian authorities should launch a dedicated activity which actors will deal specifically with the liberation of civilian hostages from captivity. In addition, Ukraine should develop a national program of physical and psychological rehabilitation for the sick people who have succeeded in recovering their liberty from the Russian captivity as well as for their family members.
The human rights defender also said that the State should budget sufficient funds at the national level for 2024 to support civilian hostages and their family members.