Ukrainian citizen Oleksandr Shumkov, who has been in illegal detention in Russia since August 2017, has returned to Ukraine.
Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada Ombudsperson Liudmyla Denisova announced this on Telegram on December 24.
"Ukrainian political prisoner and serviceman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksandr Shumkov is now free! For more than three years, he has been in illegal detention in a correctional colony in the town of Torzhok, Tver region [in Russia]. Almost during the entire term of his imprisonment, he was kept in a punishment cell and a detachment with strict conditions of detention," she said.
According to Denisova, Shumkov was released from the colony on December 23 and transferred to a temporary detention center for foreigners in Tver region.
"He has just crossed the Ukrainian-Russian border and arrived at the Bachivsk automobile checkpoint, where he has been met by his family, a representative of the [Human Rights] Commissioner's Office and representatives of the territorial departments of the Ukrainian Armed Forces' military administration," she said.
Shumkov's abduction and Russian captivity
- The Ukrainian organization Right Sector in August 2017 reported that Shumkov, a serviceman of Chornobai military unit No. 4067, was abducted by Russian special services on the administrative border between Ukraine's Kherson region and Russia-occupied Crimea.
- On August 24, 2017, a court in Russia's Bryansk region ruled to arrest Shumkov for 15 days for allegedly failing to comply with a policeman's request to provide personal belongings for examination.
- In early September 2017, the Shumkov case was re-categorized. He was charged with the fact that "for a long period of time" he was allegedly a bodyguard of the then Right Sector leader, Dmytro Yarosh.
- In December 2018, Shumkov was sentenced to four years in a medium-security prison on charges of committing crime under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation ("Participation in an extremist organization's activities") over allegedly being a member of Right Sector, which is outlawed in in Russia.
- Shumkov was imprisoned in penitentiary facility colony No. 4 in the town of Torzhok, Russia's Tver region.
- On October 14, 2019, Shumkov went on hunger strike over systematic violations by the prison's administration of his rights and increased psychological pressure on him. He also demanded that Russia stop "blackmailing with political prisoners' involvement" at Minsk negotiations within the Trilateral Contact Group and Normandy talks. In addition, Shumkov demanded that Russian Commissioner for Human Rights Tatyana Moskalkova respond to his inquiries about the violation of rights in a pretrial detention center.
- On October 22, Shumkov was hospitalized after his condition had deteriorated as a result of the hunger strike.
- In November 2019, relatives of the political prisoner and human rights activists reported that during his stay in the prison hospital in Torzhok, Shumkov got a shot with an unknown substance, possibly psychotropic, because after that his mental state changed dramatically.
- On December 11, Shumkov said in a letter that Russian FSB officers tried to force him to become a secret witness in a case against another Ukrainian citizen, Ihor Pirozhok, also known as "Roman Chirka." The latter was detained in April for alleged preparations for "a guerrilla war against Russia."
- In February and March 2020, Shumkov repeatedly stated that Russian law enforcement officers had been threatening him with murder.