Kremlin's prisoners: Media tell of Ukrainians thrown into Russian dungeons
Nine political prisoners from Ukraine still remain in Russia. In addition, 18 Ukrainian citizens have been detained in the occupied territory of Crimea.
Charges against Ukrainians are typical – terrorism, extremism and espionage, according to Novoe Vremya.
A 39-year-old Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov was sentenced to 20 years in a penal colony.
"Sentsov was an activist of the Automaidan. He delivered food to Ukrainian military blocked at the Crimean bases. He was detained by Russians on May 11, 2014 after the occupation of the peninsula. He was accused of preparing attacks on strategic facilities," the newspaper said.
On May 16, 2014, after the occupation of the peninsula, the Russian authorities arrested a 25-year-old student Oleksandr Kolchenko: at that time, he studied at the Faculty of Geography of Taurida National University. In the spring of 2014, he participated in the protests against the Russian annexation of Crimea. Kolchenko was accused of setting fire to the office of the United Russia Party in Simferopol. On August 25, 2015, he was sentenced to 10 years in a penal colony.
In May 2015, the Russian occupiers detained a 34-year-old historian Oleksiy Chyrniy: he, along with other individuals, allegedly set fire to the headquarters of the NGO Russian Community of Crimea in Simferopol and the city branch of the United Russia Party, as well as plotted to blow up the monument to Lenin. On April 22, 2015, the Russian court sentenced Chyrniy to seven years in a penal colony.
A 24-year-old lawyer and photographer Hennadiy Afanasyev was also sentenced by the Russian court to seven years in a penal colony.
"In March-April 2014, Afanasyev attended rallies and meetings of supporters of a unified Ukraine, participated in the organization of first aid trainings. After the occupation of Crimea, he was detained by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), being accused of allegedly entering a terrorist cell organized by Oleh Sentsov, as well as of the participation in the arson of Simferopol offices of Russian Community of Crimea and the United Russia Party. He was also accused of allegedly coordinating Oleksiy Chyrniy in manufacturing explosives for the destruction of the monument to Lenin," the newspaper said.
On March 21, 2014, a 52-year-old Mykola Karpiuk, the leader of the UNA-UNSO and one of the founders of the Right Sector, was detained under unclear circumstances in Russia. Based only on the statements of a Crimean recidivist serving a sentence in the Russian colony, the Russians fabricated a criminal case against Karpiuk, claiming he allegedly fought against federal troops during the First Chechen War and even killed a number of Russian soldiers.
"He was kept in the detention center for a long time and he was tortured. Although Karpiuk has never been to Chechnya, the Russian authorities took him to a "crime scene." On May 19, 2016, a jury trial in the city of Grozny in Russia's Chechen Republic found Karpiuk guilty. In the near future, he will be sentenced – he could face 22.5 years in prison," the article says.
On August 11, 2014, a historian Stanislav Klykh was detained in the Russian city of Orel, where he had arrived to visit his girlfriend. The Russian authorities accused him along with Karpiuk of involvement in the murder of Russian soldiers during the First Chechen War. A jury trial in the city of Grozny in Russia's Chechen Republic found Klykh guilty. The prosecution requests a 22-year prison sentence for him.
In August 2014, the occupation authorities detained a 32-year-old Crimean businessman Valentyn Vyhovskiy and transeffered him to the Russian Federation.
"The citizen of Ukraine accused of espionage spent 15 months in Lefortovo prison, awaiting trial. For half of this time, the consuls unsuccessfully tried to get permission to meet with the detainee. As late as in December 2015, Vyhovskiy was sentenced in a closed trial on false charges to 11 years in a penal colony," the journalists said.
A 33-year-old villager from Luhansk region Serhiy Lytvynov was sentenced to eight years and six months in a penal colony for stealing a car.
According to the publication, on August 12, 2014, he felt a toothache. Since the Ukrainian clinics were cut off from his village by the front line, he went to the dentist in the neighboring Rostov region. He was diagnosed with inflammation of the periosteum that required the intervention of the surgeon, so he was left in the hospital. On August 21, several masked men abducted Lytvynov and took him to the Rostov office for combating organized crime. At first, he was charged with mass murder and rape. But later, his case was reclassified: he was convicted of theft of Opel Frontera and UAZ-452 vehicles from a Russian citizen in conspiracy with the Ukrainian law enforcers. Lytvynov was sentenced to eight years and six months in a penal colony.
On August 5, 2015, the Russian court sentenced a 73-year-old Ukrainian "spy" Yuriy Soloshenko to six years in a penal colony.
Former director of Ukraine's Poltava-based Znamya defense plant Yuriy Soloshenko was arrested in Moscow in August 2014. He arrived in Moscow on a business meeting. But the FSB decided that Soloshenko tried to illegally acquire secret components for S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems for the Ukrainian defense industry.
In March 2016, Soloshenko filed a petition for pardon to the President of the Russian Federation.
It is noted that as of today, the local "authorities" of the occupied peninsula have arrested or convicted more than 20 local residents – citizens of Ukraine. Most of them are the Crimean Tatars who were arrested for public criticism of the Russian annexation of the peninsula or on charges of extremism. Some prisoners were imprisoned for participating in the pro-Ukrainian protests, as well as for the criticism of Russian "authorities" in Crimea.
Full article is published in a new edition of Novoye Vremya magazine in Russian.