On June 6, 2023, the Southern Area Military Court of Rostov-na-Donu sentenced Mr.Bohdan Ziza, a Ukrainian citizen and a Crimean Activist, to 15 years in custody on charges that included, inter alia, committing a terrorist act, vandalism, and intentionally destroying or damaging someone else’s property by arson. Making his last statement before being sentenced, Mr.Ziza announced a hunger strike and quoted the lyrics “KRYLA” (Wings) song by Artem Loik: “I am not red! I’m a Bahrianyy! I don’t rhyme for parterre! And these are not rhymes, these are wounds! But I’m not a Mel’nyk! I’m a Bandera!”
Bohdan Ziza was arrested on May 17, 2022, for having spilled yellow and blue paint on the entrance to the Yevpatoriya ‘occupational administration’ building on the night of May 16, 2022, as an expression of his anti-war civil position. After his arrest, a video was disseminated on the Internet, with the detained confessing to the crime committed. However, he was then subjected to physical and psychological violence, and his lawyer’s activity was hindered. Bohdan Ziza mentioned that Aleksandr Lavrov, an investigator of the FSB Crimean Department, beat him during the investigation, threatened him with unbearable conditions in the pre-trial detention center and described what would happen to the artist when he was placed in custody. Since May 18, Mr.Ziza had been kept in detention in Crimea, and then, in violation of international humanitarian law, he was convoyed to Rostov-na-Donu in the Russian Federation.
We, representatives of human rights organizations, condemn criminal actions of representatives of the Crimean occupational administration and the Russian authorities, and demand:
- to release immediately political prisoner Mr.Bohdan Ziza, citizen of Ukraine;
- to release immediately all other political prisoners and civilian hostages who are being held in places of unfreedom in the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, other occupied territories of Ukraine or in the territory of the Russian Federation;
- to stop persecuting the Crimeans for their disagreement with the occupation, expression of their views, religion, and other non-violent activity;
- to stop immediately enforcing the criminal laws of the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine in accordance with the international humanitarian law.
We call on the competent bodies of the Ukrainian power:
– to investigate effectively the circumstances of the unlawful confinement and deprivation of Mr.Bohdan Ziza, citizen of Ukraine, of the right of fair trial, and launch criminal proceedings due to the crime committed against him as stated in Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine;
– to investigate effectively facts of unlawful confinement and other gross breaches of the fundamental human rights in the temporarily occupied Crimea;
– to report timely gross breaches of the human rights in the occupied Crimea both nationally and internationally.
We address governments of international powers and international organizations, including the International Crimea Platform members, with the request:
- to hold international consultations aimed at finding instruments to release unlawfully confined and to monitor their health condition in the territory of the Russian Federation and occupied territories of Ukraine;
- to impose personal sanctions on the persons involved in the unlawful confinement and deprivation of Mr.Bohdan Ziza, citizen of Ukraine, of the right of fair trial;
- to strengthen diplomatic, sanction, and other types of pressure on Russia to prevent new atrocities in the occupied Crimea and other occupied territories of Ukraine, and to accelerate the de-occupation of all territories of Ukraine;
- to support the Government of Ukraine in investigating war crimes, crimes against humanity and gross violations of human rights in the occupied Crimea and other occupied territories;
- to maximize the use of International Crimea Platform, the procedures of the UN, Council of Europe, OSCE, other international organizations aimed at speeding up the release of the Crimean political prisoners, civilian hostages in the occupied territories, responding effectively on human rights violations in the occupied Crimea, and promoting the de-occupation of all territories of Ukraine;
- to further increase comprehensive, including military, support of Ukraine aimed at de-occupation of all territories of Ukraine including the AR of Crimea and City of Sevastopol as a must condition to protect human rights and to stop politically reasoned persecutions of Ukrainian citizens.
Crimean Human Rights Group
PLATFORM FOR RELEASING POLITICAL PRISONERS
Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of Kremlin
CRIMEAN PROCESS Human Rights Organization
ZMINA Center for Human Rights
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
ALMENDA Center for Civil Education
Regional Center for Human Rights
Human Rights House CRIMEA
Fund for Support of Fundamental Research
DIYA Human Rights Center
Ukrainian Legal Advisory Group
Kharkiv Anti-Corruption Center
Media Initiative for Human Rights