Joint Statement of human rights organizations on detainment of the Ukrainian activist Oleh Prykhodko in Crimea

Russian Federation continues practicing politically-motivated persecution of dissidents in the occupied Crimea. Representatives of the Federal Security Service (Rus. ФСБ) have arrested Oleh Prykhodko, a Ukrainian activist, in the village of Orikhove, Saky district, on October, 9th, 2019.

In the evening of October, 9th, Prykhodko was transferred to the Simferopol unit of the Federal Security Service. The following morning the occupant administration also arrested Liubov Prykhodko, Oleh’s wife, though she was released after an interrogation.

The Russian Federal Security Service accuses Oleh Prykhodko of illegal production of explosives (Art. 223-1 of the Criminal Code of RF) and of planning a terrorist attack (Art. 205 of the Criminal Code of RF). According to Prykhodko’s lawyer Nazim Sheikhmambetov, the activist is accused of planning to blow up an administrative building of the city of Saky: the representatives of the Federal Security Service claim to have found elements of an explosive in Prykhodko’s garage. Sheikhmambetov has also communicated that Prykhodko himself believes the case is fabricated and claims the explosive was intentionally planted in his garage.

We would like to stress that this is not the first occasion of Oleh Prykhodko being persecuted. Federal Security Service conducted a search of his house in the village of Orikhove, Saky district, on February 8th, 2019. They confiscated Ukrainian symbols, “Freedom” (Ukr. Свобода) political party flags, red-black flags, portrait of Stepan Bandera, electronic devices and CDs. Prykhodko was transferred to Simferopol for an interrogation after the search was over. At the interrogation he received questions about his activism as well as about his connections with the continental Ukraine. Prykhodko was arrested for using Ukrainian car plates in June, 2016.

Arrest of Oleh Prykhodko proves that Russian Federation continues to persecute dissidents and to abuse its anti-terrorism and anti-extremism legislation for the sake of repressing Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars. A very similar scenario was applied to persecute another Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh. He did not accept occupation and raised Ukrainian flag on the roof of his house in the village of Serebrianka, Rozdolne district. Later on the law-enforcement planted explosives and bullets and accused Balukh of illegal storage of weapons and of insult of a representative of administration.

Just like Volodymyr Balukh, Oleh Prykhodko never concealed his pro-Ukrainian views, he participated in the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 and raised a Ukrainian flag in his yard after the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Arrest of Oleh Prykhodko demonstrates that Russian Federation continues to ruthlessly ignore the principles of the international law, of human rights and the calls by international organizations. Prykhodko became the 87th political prisoner, being currently illegally detained by Russian Federation because of political motives.

We address the governments of member-states of the EU, of Norway, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Japan and Australia and ask to:

● demand from Russian Federation to immediately release Oleh Prykhodko, to end the persecution of other activists and independent journalists in the occupied Crimea;

● strengthen the sanctions against the representatives of government of Russian Federation as well as of the occupant administration of Crimea who are responsible for:

the politically-motivated persecution of Oleh Prykhodko and of the 86 other political prisoners-citizens of Ukraine, detained through politically-motivated criminal cases in Russia or occupied Crimea as well as other gross violations of human rights and war crimes in Crimea

We call on the international organizations , in particular the UN, OSCE, The Council of Europe to:

● address the Russian Federation requesting to immediately release Oleh Prykhodko and to stop repressing the dissidents in Crimea;

● demand the release of other Ukrainian political prisoners, at least 86 persons, illegally detained by Russian Federation;

● advocate for monitoring of the judicial processes over citizens of Ukraine in the Russian and occupied Crimea’s courts;

● advocate for an independent monitoring mission on human rights, in particular on protection of the freedom of expression to work on the territory of occupied Crimea.

We address the President of Ukraine, the Parliament of Ukraine, the Ministry of Veterans Affairs, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea with a demand to:

● ensure effective investigation of the criminal case on illegal detainment and persecution of Oleh Prykhodko, as well as on the other violations of human rights through repression of activists in the occupied Crimea for the sake of guarantying of the principle of inevitability of punishment for war crimes and other gross violations of human rights;

● prepare and adopt the relevant operational legislation, necessary for protection and state assistance for the persons being illegally detained and subjects to politically-motivated persecution by the occupant administration of Crimea as well as by the Russian Federation.

11 October 2019

  • Human Rights Centre ZMINA
  • The Association of Relatives of the Kremlin’s Political Prisoners
  • The Crimean Human Right Group
  • Center for Civil Liberties
  • Regional Center for Human Rights
  • Media Initiative for Human Rights
  • Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
  • Kharkiv Human Rights Group
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