The Crimeans Andrei Lugin and Yury Mikhailov were convicted in criminal cases even before the occupation and were serving their sentence in Crimea for several years. The Crimean human rights group was informed about the hunger strike by the wives of the prisoners. Now the prisoners are in Simferopol Remand Prison, but they were informed that on April 26th they will be convoyed to colonies at the territory of the Russian Federation. Mr. Lugin and Mr. Mikhailov stated that the main claim of their hunger strike was to return to the mainland Ukraine and to serve their sentence on the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities.
They did not accept the Russian citizenship and they don’t have passports of the Russian Federation, – say the wives of the prisoners.
Irina, the wife of Andrei Lugin, said that a dry hunger strike is the only remaining chance to attract the world’s attention to the problem of the Ukrainian prisoners in Crimea.
According to Irina Lugina, the Russian Federation has been illegally keeping her husband in custody for three years, as the verdict and all materials of Mr. Lugin’s criminal case are in Kiev.
“He was convicted in 2010, the judgment was passed by the Court of Appeal of Crimea. The verdict came into force in 2012, and in 2013 we filed a cassation appeal and the criminal case, along with the verdict, were sent to Kiev. Now my husband is completely deprived of the opportunity to appeal from the judgment in the court of cassation. That means that he is deprived of the opportunity to protect his rights. The Russian court had no right to bring the judgment in line with the laws of the Russian Federation, since they did not have the judgment and the materials of the criminal case” — said the prisoner’s wife.
According to Irina Lugina, she received an official response from so-called “Court of Appeal of the Republic of Crimea” that the case was sent to the mainland Ukraine in 2013 and did not return back to Crimea.
“How can we achieve a fair judgment? We want to obtain an acquittal judgment, because we are sure that my husband is completely innocent. His criminal case has no a single direct proof of his guilt. All evidences are only indirect. 12 years of endless struggle and attempts to prove his innocence. But it’s impossible to achieve any revision of the case, or some changes in this situation”— said the Crimean woman.
According to her story, in 2016 her husband was sent to serve his sentence in the territory of the Russian Federation in Mordovia. However, after he spent 9 months there, he was brought back to the Simferopol Remand Prison, — says Irina Lugina.
“Now, on April 26th, they want to take him back to Mordovia. Therefore, his demands — before the resolution of the current situation of transfer to Ukraine and his citizenship, to avoid his convoying from the territory of Crimea to the Russian Federation” —Mrs. Lugina said.
According to her information, the incarceration conditions in the Russian colony threaten the life and health of her husband.
“I visited these Stalinist Gulags, which were built in the 1930s, and I saw the conditions under which people were kept there, and what a horror was happening there. During 9 months my husband was not provided with any medical support, he is completely sick with severe chronic diseases associated with lesions of the central nervous system. Plus, after serving his sentence in Mordovia, he got a partial loss of vision on the right eye, optic neuritis appeared, feet swelled, thrombophlebitis appeared and a microinfarction occurred. Although he is only 45 years old” — said the prisoner’s wife.
Oksana Mikhailova is also afraid for her husband’s life and health.
“He (Yuri Mikhailov, – Ed.) has been imprisoned for 12 years already. The judgment was passed in Simferopol, he had served his sentence for 11 years in Simferopol Remand Prison, and on July 25th, 2016 he was transferred to the Ognenny island. It’s the most terrible colony in Russia. Vologda region, Belozersky district. In January 2017 they brought him back to Simferopol, but soon they are going to take him away to this island again. But wherever we write to, there are only excerpts and no one really explains anything. If he now leaves, he will not return alive. While he was here, he wrote appeals in order to be transferred to Ukraine, but there are no shifts; he is sick, coughs with blood. He is named in the same case as Mr. Lugin. We addressed this problem to the Ukrainian Ombudsman, but the first batch of prisoners has already been returned to mainland Ukraine, and our husbands are not even going to. And they are going to transfer them to the Russian Federation” — said Oksana Mikhailova.
Wives of the prisoners reported that Mr. Lugin’s and Mr. Mikhailov’s lawyers will appeal against their illegal convoying to the Russian Federation, including the European Court of Human Rights.
“We have filed an appeal on their transfer to Ukraine to various authorities of Ukraine and the Russian Federation, international organizations, but there are no results yet,” — said Irina Lugina.
Crimean lawyer Edem Semedlyaev has posted in Facebook an appeal by Andrei Lugin, in which the prisoner claims that his rights have been violated in Crimea for the past three years. He sent applications with a notification of the start of a dry hunger strike to the President of Russia, so-called “Prosecutor” of Crimea and the Russian Prosecutor, and to the head of so-called “Crimean Administration” of the Federal Penitentiary Service, Crimean and Russian ombudsmen.
Experts of the Crimean Human Rights Group explained earlier that the transfer of Crimean residents to serve sentence outside the peninsula is a gross violation of Article 49 Part 1 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War dated 12 August 1949.
The Crimean Human Rights Group also reported that on March 17th, thanks to the efforts of Valery Lutkovskaya, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Commissioner for Human Rights, 12 prisoners were transferred from the penitentiary institutions of Crimea to the mainland of Ukraine. In April, the Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea recognized four persons convicted by Ukrainian courts, who after the beginning of Crimea occupation have been transferred to serve their sentence to the Russian territory, as victims. The prosecutor’s office noted that the Russian Federation violated the requirement of international law, in particular Art. 15 of the Rome Statute (a war crime in the form of the transfer of convicts from the occupied territory to the territory of the occupying state).