Human rights defenders have developed recommendations on the return of things seized during a search in Crimea

The Russian authorities constantly conduct searches in Crimea, during which they seize the belongings of people. First of all, this applies to computers and electronics. Usually the owners are not being explained regarding the grounds for the seizure of their belongings, their status and the place where these belongings are stored. Lawyers of the CHRG, on the basis of analysis of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation (which acts de facto in the territory of Crimea) described the actions necessary to return the seized belongings.

According to the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation, seized property is subject to inspection and according to the results its status is decided.

If belongings are recognized as material evidence, then it is attached to the case file and a corresponding decision is taken (part 2, article 81 of the Code of Criminal Procedure). But if the property is not recognized as evidence, then it must be returned to the owner (part 4 of Article 81 of the Code of Criminal Procedure). The problem is that the return of property has not been determined, and notification of the person regarding the decision that was taken as a result of the inspection is not assigned.

In order to return the seized items, it is necessary to file a request for return, a sample of which is drawn up by the lawyers of the CHRG.

You can download the application form by following this link

You can file a petition at any time during the preliminary investigation. The decision on the application must be made no later than 3 days after the date of its submission. The results of the decision must be announced to the applicant (Articles 121 and 122 of the Code of Criminal Procedure).


Even if the application is refused, it is possible to file a new one, for example, on clarifying the status of seized items or on acquaintance with a decision in which seized items are recognized as material evidence. After that, you can write a second application for the return of seized items taking into account the information received.

You can also appeal to the court or the prosecutor’s office about the decision of the investigator about the non-return of the things seized during the search (Article 122 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation).

More details on legal advice may be found at the analytical note published on the CHRG website

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