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Sentsov Case Highlights Plight of Ukrainian Prisoners in Russian Jails

Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film executive indicted of masterminding militant attacks in Crimea, is approaching to be condemned to a prolonged jail tenure Tuesday after a high-profile and controversial trial — though the case has focused courtesy on an whole organisation of Ukrainians grieving in Russian prisons.

Alongside Sentsov, at least 12 other Ukrainians have been incarcerated in Russia — on charges trimming from terrorism to espionage — given travel demonstrations defeated Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych final year, sparking a standoff between Kiev and Moscow.

Ukraine has pronounced it has problem receiving entrance to its incarcerated citizens, who embody an eastern Ukrainian cowherd, an antique silver gourmet and 23-year aged pledge photographer.

Most are confronting sentences of more than 20 years, and many explain to have been tortured. Public sum on several of the cases are really meagre given they engage espionage charges.

The number of such prisoners is unfit to know though could run into dozens, according to Mark Feigin, a lawyer representing Nadezhda Savchenko, a Ukrainian commander confronting murder charges. “It’s certain that they exist though to give an exact figure is difficult,” he said.

Savchenko’s case, like that of Sentsov, has garnered general courtesy though many of the other names are comparatively unknown — even inside of Russian tellurian rights and legal circles.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin pronounced on Aug. 4 that there were 11 Ukrainians in Russian jails that Kiev considers to be “political prisoners,” according to the Ukrainian UNIAN news agency.

Most of the prisoners have been hold in Moscow, mostly in the Lefortovo jail run by Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, though are confronting trials in different regions opposite the country — a move that counsel Feigin pronounced was designed to reduce open attention.

Savchenko will face hearing in the tiny city of Donetsk, in Russia’s Rostov segment nearby the Ukrainian border — where investigators lay she illegally crossed into Russia. Other cases are approaching to take place in the North Caucasus commonwealth of Chechnya and the Russian cities of Bryansk and Yekaterinburg.

Sentsov and others being attempted as partial of cases opposite a group of alleged terrorists in the Black Sea segment of Crimea, annexed by Russia final year, have seemed before a military justice in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. New legislation means that terrorism charges in Russia are attempted in military courts of which there are two: in Moscow or Rostov-on-Don..

Many kin of the Ukrainians in Russian apprehension fear that they could be arrested if they revisit their desired ones, according to Zoya Svetova, a journalist and human rights romantic who has tracked many of the cases and met with many of the jailed Ukrainians.

“They were all tortured detached from Savchenko and [Yuri] Soloshenko,” Svetova told The Moscow Times. Many are auxiliary with investigators in the wish of getting lighter sentences, she added.

The Kremlin denies Russia has domestic prisoners. Vladimir Markin, a spokesperson for Russia’s absolute Investigative Committee, told Izvestia journal Monday that conjunction the Savchenko nor Sentsov cases were domestic and labelled such accusations as “propaganda” peddled by the United States.

Russian courts really frequency give non-guilty verdicts, and experts advise the only possibility that many of the Ukrainians have of freedom is being substituted for Russian adults restrained by troops constant to Kiev while fighting for Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The imprisonment of Ukrainians, and their treatment, is related to the decrease in relations between Moscow and Kiev, according to Svetova. “There is a hunt on at the moment for Ukrainians,” she said.

The Moscow Times has used open source information and interviews to compile a list of 13 Ukrainians hold in Russian prisons given Yanukovych’s fall. One man, Yury Yatsenko, is now free — though all the others sojourn behind bars.

They are grouped according to the form of charges they face.

‘War Crimes’

Sergei Litvinov

Arrested: Aug 2014

Stage: Pre-trial detention

Accusations: Murder, fight crimes

Russian investigators lay that Sergei Litvinov, 32, a cowherd from Ukraine’s Luhansk segment who left propagandize at the age of 14 and has problem reading and writing, is indicted of raping several women and killing 37 Ukrainian civilians when he was a member of a far-right Ukrainian company unit. Litvinov, now in a Moscow prison, primarily cooperated with investigators, though now denies his guilt, Kommersant journal reported final week. Litvinov, who has a wife and a teenage daughter, confirmed he was seized by Russian confidence officials from a sanatorium in Rostov-on-Don after an operation for a badly putrescent tooth. During initial questioning, Litvinov pronounced he badly beaten by men in black masks, given electric shocks and had a pistol discharged by his head, according to testimony he gave to Novaya Gazeta journal progressing this year. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has denied that Litvinov ever served in the Ukrainian military.


Nadezhda Savchenko

Arrested: Jul 2014

Stage: Preliminary hearings

Accusations: Murder

Perhaps Russia’s many famous prisoner, Nadezhda Savchenko, 34, has turn a hero in Ukraine after she purported she was kidnapped, taken to Russia and accused of murder. Since her arrest, she has spent a total of 83 days on hunger strike. Russian investigators have pronounced Savchenko was incarcerated after she illegally crossed the border, while she claims she was abducted inside Ukraine and spirited opposite the border underneath the personal organisation of top rebels in the self-declared separatist governments of eastern Ukraine. Accused of spotting for a Ukrainian trebuchet organisation that allegedly killed dual Russian journalists, Savchenko faces a sentence of up to 25 years behind bars. A date for the start of her hearing is expected to be bound within days.

Nadezhda Savchenko

‘Crimean Terrorists’

Gennady Afanasiev

Arrested: May 2014

Stage: Serving 7 year sentence

Accusations: Terrorism

Gennady Afanasiev, 23, was condemned to seven years in prison in December by a Moscow justice for carrying out militant attacks in Crimea underneath Sentsov’s leadership. Afanasiev, a pro-Ukraine romantic and keen photographer, cooperated with Russian investigators after his detain on May 9 and admitted his guilt, providing most of the justification on which Sentsov and his co-defendant Alexander Kolchenko were tried. But, in a thespian twist, on Aug. 5 he told his counsel that he wished to withdraw his testimony given it was given underneath torture. His lawyer, Alexander Popkov, told radio hire Ekho Moskvy on Aug. 8 that Afanasiev pronounced he was exceedingly beaten by Russian FSB officers during questioning, drugged, forced to wear a gas facade that was pumped full of smoke, nude naked, deprived of sleep and threatened with rape.

Gennady Afanasiev


Alexei Chirny

Arrested: May 2014

Stage: Serving 7 year sentence

Accusations: Terrorism

Detained on May 9 like Afanasiev, Crimean historian Alexei Chirny was also indicted of belonging to a militant dungeon led by Sentsov and carrying out attacks on the Black Sea peninsula. After revelation his shame and cooperating with investigators, he was condemned in April to seven years in prison by a infantry justice in Rostov-on-Don. Evidence supposing by Chirny was used extensively by prosecutors opposite Sentsov and Kolchenko. Chirny pronounced in court that his testimony was given willingly though one of his lawyers, Ilya Novikov, confirmed his customer was tortured.



Alexander Kolchenko

Arrested: May 2014

Stage: On trial

Accusations: Terrorism

Alexander Kolchenko, 26, is indicted of carrying out militant attacks in Crimea as partial of an classification headed by Sentsov shortly after the Black Sea segment was seized by Russia. Kolchenko, a left-wing activist, certified environment glow to the offices of the statute United Russia in early 2014 though deserted terrorism charges. Prosecutors have requested 12 years in prison for the activist, who will be condemned Tuesday alongside Sentsov. In his shutting difference final week, Kolchenko denied being concerned in terrorism, revelation the court his box was “fabricated and politically motivated.”

Alexander Kolchenko


Oleg Sentsov

Arrested: May 2014

Stage: On trial

Accusations: Terrorism

Film executive and Ukrainian activist, Oleg Sentsov, 39, is indicted of being the mastermind behind a terrorist dungeon related to Ukrainian jingoist classification Right Sector and organizing the fire-bombing of several pro-Russian organizations in Crimea final year. Despite dozens of European and Russian film directors job for his release, prosecutors have requested a 23-year jail term. In a pierce that caused widespread disbelief, prosecutors discharged Sentsov’s claims of torture, alleging that his injuries — that they did not deny — were the result of a masochistic passionate diversion before to his arrest. In his shutting difference final week, Sentsov, who denies all the charges opposite him, discharged the court as a “court of occupiers” and urged Russians “not to be afraid.”

‘Spies and Saboteurs’

Viktor Shur

Arrested: Dec 2014

Stage: Pre-trial detention

Accusations: Espionage

The nature of the charges meant that small is famous about Viktor Shur, 58, an amateur silver gourmet and former oil worker, reportedly indicted of spying. A Russian citizen, Shur had a Ukrainian chateau assent and lived in the northeastern Ukrainian segment of Chernigov. He was incarcerated during a trip to the western Russian city of Bryansk, according to Svetova, and is expected to be attempted there in closed proceedings. It is misleading of what accurately he is accused. Shur’s son, Valery Shur, has pronounced that his father is not a spy and is auxiliary with Russian investigators in a bid to avoid a longer sentence, according to Ukrainian media reports.


Sergei Skirda

Arrested: Feb 2015

Stage: Pre-trial detention

Accusations: Revealing blurb secrets

Little information is also accessible about Sergei Skirda, a Ukrainian citizen arrested by the FSB progressing this year nearby the Urals city of Yekaterinburg. Skirda was reportedly an employee of a turbine bureau owned by Ukraine’s UkrRosMetall. Russian confidence services told news organisation TASS in March that Skirda was incarcerated as he was handing over money in exchange for secret technical information.


Yury Soloshenko

Arrested: Aug 2014

Stage: Pre-trial detention

Accusations: Espionage

Pensioner Yury Soloshenko has been hold in Moscow’s Lefortovo jail for over a year after his detain on suspicion of spying while on a outing to the Russian capital. Court hearings involving Soloshenko are sealed given of the inlet of the charges, though state-owned RIA Novosti news organisation reported progressing this month that his pre-trial apprehension had been extended to Oct. 5. Svetova, who has oral with Soloshenko, pronounced a trial could start as shortly as subsequent month. Soloshenko was the director of the Ukrainian Znamya factory, creation tools for the Russian barb industry, for about 20 years before timid in 2010. His son, Alexander Soloshenko, told Russian news organisation Interfax progressing this year he was on a business outing when he was arrested. “If he is [sentenced] on espionage charges afterwards it’s most a death penalty. He’s 72. He will never get out,” Soloshenko said.



Valentin Vygovsky

Arrested: Fall 2014

Stage: Pre-trial detention

Accusations: Illegal banking activity/espionage

There are few sum about the case of Ukrainian Valentin Vygovsky, 32, who is reportedly being hold in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison. According to a Facebook post by Pavel Shelkoviy, a Ukrainian romantic in Moscow, Vygovsky, who is from Kiev, was arrested in Crimea and “was re-directed to Rostov-on-Don with a bag on his conduct and then to Moscow.” Human rights romantic and journalist Zoya Svetova said, after a meeting with him in January, that he was really fearful and that his box was set to be re-qualified from illegal banking activity to espionage.


Yury Yatsenko

Arrested: May 2014

Stage: Freed in May 2015

Accusation: Smuggling explosives

Ukrainian law tyro Yury Yatsenko was arrested in his hotel room in the Russian city of Oboyan in the southwestern Kursk segment while on a outing offered electrical goods. After a year in different Russian jails, Yatsenko was convicted of smuggling 40 grams of hunting gunpowder though was let out on appeal for time served, and returned to his hometown of Lviv in western Ukraine. In an talk with Open Russia after his release, Yatsenko pronounced Russian confidence services officers attempted to force him to appear on television and say he was in the nation to carry out “anti-Russian activities.” He pronounced he was also beaten adult by FSB officers and ended adult slicing his wrists and stomach with prison-issue razors to avoid being subjected to further earthy abuse.

Yury Yatsenko

‘Chechen Separatist Backers’

Nikolai Karpyukh

Arrested: March, 2014

Stage: Pre-trial detention

Accusations: Unknown

Neither lawyers nor Ukrainian diplomats in Russia have been authorised to see Nikolai Karpyukh given he was arrested roughly 18 months ago and it misleading what accusations he is facing. Nobody knows where he is being held, pronounced Svetova, who combined that he will expected face charges over allegedly fighting alongside Chechen rebels opposite Russian army in 1994. In May, counsel Ilya Novikov, who attempted and failed to gain entrance to Karpyukh in prison, wrote on Facebook that he competence be dead. Ukrainian media has reported that Karpyukh was kidnapped by Russian confidence army from the country’s northeastern Chernigov region. In March, Russian publication Moskovsky Komsomolets wrote that Karpyukh was a member of Ukraine’s jingoist Right Sector organisation and commanded a group of Ukrainian mercenaries fighting with Georgian infantry opposite Russian-backed Abkhaz separatists in the early 1990s.



Stanislav Krikh

Arrested: Aug 2014

Stage: Pre-trial detention

Accusations: Unknown

Lawyers and Ukrainian diplomats have also had problem receiving entrance to Stanislav Krikh, 40, a Kiev-based publisher and historian whose mom told Ukrainian media he was incarcerated final year during a trip to see his profound partner in the Russian city of Oryol, to the south of Moscow. Earlier this month, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released an official criticism at the preference of a justice in the city of Yessentuki, in Russia’s southern Stavropol segment only outward the city of Pyatigorsk, to extend Krikh’s apprehension to Oct. 21. It is not transparent what accusations Krikh is facing, though Svetova pronounced that he could be charged with fighting with Chechen separatists in the 1990s and tried in Chechnya itself — alongside Nikolai Karpyukh.

Contact the author at h.amos@imedia.ru

Article source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/528590.html

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