On March 3, 2021, the Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don (the Russian Federation) convicted a Ukrainian activist from Crimea Oleh Prykhodko and sentenced the Ukrainian to five years of imprisonment in a maximum security penal colony with the first year in prison. In addition, a penalty amounting to RUB 110,000 was set for him.
The Ukrainian citizen Oleh Prykhodko was convicted on a fabricated case, he was accused of possession of an explosive and preparation of a terrorist attack, but no factual evidence of carrying out of a “crime” was provided by the investigators, which corresponds to the FSB’s practice of persecuting Crimean people on political grounds.
The real reason for the persecution of the Ukrainian is his public disagreement with the occupation of Crimea, which he has repeatedly expressed in the media and in communication with representatives of the Russian Federation occupation authorities in Crimea. Oleh Prykhodko took part in the EuroMaidan and, after the occupation of the peninsula in 2014, he hung the Ukrainian flag out in the yard of his house. The Ukrainian’s detention was preceded by a search in his apartment, during which Ukrainian symbols, flags of Svoboda Party, red and black flags, a portrait of Stepan Bandera etc. were confiscated from Prykhodko.
Oleh Prykhodko’s sentence clearly shows that the Russian Federation continues to persecute Ukrainian citizens who, while living in Crimea, oppose the Russian occupation and stand up for the peninsula as part of Ukraine.
It is important to note that Oleh Prykhodko was detained on October 9, 2019, a month after the release of 11 Kremlin prisoners, including Oleg Sentsov and Volodymyr Balukh, as part of the “big exchange”. While releasing some political prisoners, the Russian Federation authorities immediately take new Ukrainian citizens as hostages using their own “anti-terrorism” and “anti-extremism” legislation and ignoring international standards.
We, the representatives of human rights organizations, strongly condemn the persecution of Oleh Prykhodko and other Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar activists in the temporarily occupied Crimea in politically motivated cases and demand that the Russian authorities:
- immediately release Oleh Prykhodko and all political prisoners held in places of detention and imprisonment in the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol or the Russian Federation;
- stop persecuting Crimean people for disagreeing with the occupation and expressing their views;
- immediately stop the use of the so-called anti-terrorism and anti-extremism legislation of the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
We make an appeal to international organizations and governments of democratic states to:
- condemn the actions of the Russian Federation regarding the political persecution of Ukrainian activists in the occupied Crimea;
- increase pressure on the Russian government to ensure the release of all political prisoners and end the persecution of Ukrainian citizens in the occupied Crimea;
- strengthen sectoral sanctions against the Russian Federation for systematic major human rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the occupied Crimea;
- impose personal sanctions against officials of the occupying authorities of Crimea and the Russian Federation involved in the politically motivated persecution of Oleh Prykhodko and other political prisoners, as well as those involved in other major violations of human rights and rules of international humanitarian law in Crimea;
- facilitate the monitoring of trials of Ukrainian citizens in Russian courts and Crimean “courts” controlled by the occupying authorities;
- promote the work of independent monitoring missions of the UN, OSCE and Council of Europe with a mandate to monitor the human rights situation in Crimea, the activity of which will be carried out with the permission of the Ukrainian authorities and consultations with Ukrainian and international non-governmental organizations.
We make an appeal to the President of Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to:
- ensure an effective investigation of the facts of illegal imprisonment and persecution of Oleh Prykhodko and all other facts of major violations of fundamental human rights in the temporarily occupied Crimea;
- adopt the necessary omnibus act of Ukraine in order to provide the protection and state support of the persons illegally imprisoned as a result of the aggression by the Russian Federation;
- endorse the bill under Reg. No. 2689 to harmonize criminal legislation with the provisions of international law and set the liability for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the occupied territories of Ukraine.
Crimean Human Rights Group
Human Rights Center ZMINA
Association of Relatives of the Kremlin Political Prisoners
Media initiative for Human Rights
Center for Civic Liberties
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
Crimean Tatar Resource Center
Center of Civic Education “Almenda”
Civil holding “GROUP OF INFLUENCE”
Regional Center for Human Rights
Human Rights House Crimea
CF Stabilization Support Services in Ukraine