On March 24, 2021, the ‘Sevastopol City Court’ convicted Ms.Halyna Dovhopola, a 66-year-old citizen of Ukraine and a resident of Sevastopol, under Art. 275 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (high treason) to 12 years of imprisonment with serving of the punishment in the general regime penal colony, and a year’s supervised release. Ms.Dovhopola is accused of “secretly collaborating with the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine as a tasked agent” and said to have been collecting data on a separate aviation regiment of the Black Sea Navy, that constitute a state secret. According to the press office of the “court”, the criminal case was considered behind closed doors because ‘there was State Secret information in the case files’.
The sentence to Ms. Dovhopola was pronounced by “judge” Igor Kozhevnikov, a Russian citizen and a former judge of the Zadniprovsky District Court of Smolensk. Previously, he had chaired the panel of “judges”, that considered another politically motivated case of “Ukrainian commandos” Mr.Volodymyr Dudka and Mr.Oleksiy Bessarabov.
Halyna Dovhopola was detained in November 2019 by FSB men on suspicion of “high treason.” On November 27, 2019, the ‘Leninsky District Court’ of Sevastopol decided on a pre-trial detention for Ms. Dovhopola. All the time before the sentence was pronounced, Halyna had been in the pre-trial detention center. She was moved to the Lefortovo Pre-trial Detention Center in Moscow, and in early 2021 she was returned to the Simferopol Pre-trial Detention Center.
We think that an actual reason for detention of Ms. Dovhopola is her political views. Halyna publicly declaimed against the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and was in contact with volunteer Ukrainian organizations acting on the Ukraine controlled territory.
Ms.Halyna Dovhopola is the only known today woman from Crimea for whom human rights organizations have enough evidence to state surely that the case against her is politically motivated. At the age of 66, a 12-year sentence in the penal colony is in fact a death sentence.
We, the representatives of human rights organizations, are declaiming against the politically motivated detention of Ms.Halyna Dovhopola in the temporarily occupied Crimea due to her political views and civic position and demanding the Russian authorities:
– to release immediately Ms.Halyna Dovhopola and all political prisoners kept in places of unfreedom in the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol or in the Russian Federation;
– to stop persecuting the Crimeans for disagreeing with the occupation and expressing their views;
– to stop immediately the enforcement of Russian Federation criminal laws in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol pursuant to Article 64 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
We are calling the international organizations and governments of democratic states:
– to apply to the Russian Federation demanding to release immediately Ms.Halyna Dovhopola and dismiss all charges;
– to disclaim against the actions of the Russian Federation regarding the political persecution of Ukrainian nationals in the occupied Crimea;
– to increase pressure on the Russian government to secure the release of all political prisoners and stop the persecution of Ukrainian nationals in the occupied Crimea;
– to tighten sector sanctions against the Russian Federation for consistent gross human rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the occupied Crimea;
– to impose personal sanctions against officials of the occupying authorities of Crimea and the Russian Federation who are involved in politically motivated persecution of Ukrainian nationals for their views and civic position;
– to facilitate the monitoring of trials of Ukrainian nationals in Russian courts and Crimean “courts” controlled by the occupying power;
– to facilitate 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, which will act with the permission of the Ukrainian authorities and in consultation with Ukrainian and international non-governmental organizations.
We are calling President of Ukraine, Parliament of Ukraine, Ministry of Re-Integration of Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, Prosecutor’s Office of the ARC and Sevastopol City to:
– to ensure the effective investigation of the facts of illegal detention and persecution of Ms.Halyna Dovhopola and all other facts of gross violations of fundamental human rights in the temporarily occupied Crimea;
– to adopt a necessary framework law of Ukraine in order to ensure the protection and state support for persons who are illegally deprived of their liberty as a result of Russian aggression;
– to approve a bill on amending certain legal acts of Ukraine to implement the international criminal and humanitarian law norms, no 2689 dated 27 December 2019; and to introduce liability for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the occupied territories of Ukraine.
Crimean Human Rights Group
ZMINA Human Rights Center
Association of the Kremlin Political Prisoners’ Relatives
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Center of Civil Liberties
Crimean Tatar Resource Center
Media Initiative Group for Human Rights
ALMENDA Civil Education Center
Regional Human Rights Center
Human Rights House Crimea