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Abducted Volunteer Yaroslav Zhuk Reported Torture

Volunteer Yaroslav Zhuk abducted in Melitopol in June who is being kept in the Pre-Trial Detention Center of Simferopol, has reported torture.

As reported by Mr.Yaroslav Zhuk in the statement which text is available to the Crimean Human Rights Group, on June 17 he was driving along 50 years of Victory street in Melitopol. Near the ATB shop, he was blocked by a BMW car, then an armed man got out from it and, threatening with a gun, pulled Mr.Zhuk out of the car, began to beat him, put handcuffs and a bag over his head.

“After that, he and some unknown people brought me to the basement, where they kept me for about a week. I can’t say for sure, because I lost consciousness due to torture. All this week I was with a bag on my head, rewound with cellotape. Roughly every 30min unknown people came and tortured me: they shocked me with electric current, applying wires to my legs, arms, genitals, earlobes and nipples. They beat me with a blunt object all over my body. They set fire to the soles of my feet with a gas burner, mocking at me morally at the same time’, the volunteer writes.

According to Yaroslav Zhuk, the handcuffs were not removed for the first three days, his hands were chained behind his back. Later, the handcuffs were cut off by a cutting disk. During the week, the volunteer was given nothing to eat, just one sip of water per day.

“After that, sensitivity of my fingers of both hands has not recovered. I was also regularly beaten on the head, after which I partially lost my hearing. Under torture, I was forced to incriminate myself. When I agreed, unable to bear the torture, I was blindfolded and transferred to another room, without electricity and water, where they gave me to sign a printed confession on a fabricated case,” Yaroslav Zhuk said.

According to him, there were three versions of the confession, each of which he was forced to sign after being tortured. In addition, Mr.Zhuk was forced to learn the text of the “confession”, which he had to make in front of the camera after the marks of beatings disappeared on his face.

“I was also forced to sign some papers, presumably about a search in the car and my home… I was forced to leave fingerprints on various objects and substances. On one of the documents that I was forced to sign, I saw the rank and surname – FSB captain Ipatiev,” the activist writes.

So, as reported by Yaroslav Zhuk, he was kept in the basement from June 17 to August 8, then he was forcibly moved to Crimea, to Simferopol FSB Main Department.

To remind: in mid June, in occupied Melitopol’, the Russian military abducted two Ukrainian volunteers – Yaroslav Zhuk and Illia Yenin. Zhuk’s sister reported that ‘the armed people broke into his house, shot in the air, scared a kid.’

On July 12, Vladimir Rogov, the ‘mayor’ of Melitopol’ appointed by the occupiers, posted a video with alleged confessions: Yaroslav Zhuk is saying, hesitantly and brokenly, that ‘on June 17, 2022, I attempted to assassinate Yelena Shapurova, director of city’s department of education. I threw a blasting charge from the window of the car. I am a member of the resistance movement overseen by the SBU (Security Bureau of Ukraine).’

As stated on the ‘Supreme Court of Crimea’ website, Yaroslav Zhuk was accused of committing a crime under Russian Federation Criminal Code Article 361-1 (act of international terrorism), with penalties from ten to twenty years’ sentence or life imprisonment.

On August 11, 2022, the ‘Kievskiy District Court’ of Simferopol imposed Mr.Zhuk a detention in custody as pre-trial restriction, though the detention period remained unknown.

On August 26, 2022, the ‘Supreme Court’ of Crimea considered an appeal against this judgement and left the pre-trial restriction unchanged.

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