January 23, 2024, 15:37

At least 193 Ukrainians imprisoned due to russia’s persecution in occupied Crimea

At present, 193 Ukrainian citizens are detained in Crimea under politically motivated criminal prosecution.

Olha Skrypnyk, Head of the Crimean Human Rights Group, made this statement during the discussion at Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform.

“They are either in Crimea or on the territory of the russian federation. For the most part, if they are in russia, then already in colonies, or they are at the stage of the so-called court hearings for their cases. Others, those who remain in Crimea, are under the so-called investigation,” the human rights activist explained.

According to Olha Skrypnyk, some of the most serious cases of persecution of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea are “cases against Crimean Muslims,” as citizens are accused of being members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, despite the lack of evidence supporting these allegations by the occupation authorities.

“According to our data, at least 99 people, almost all of them Crimean Tatars, are currently behind bars. And during 2023, at least 17 sentences were handed down against Crimean Tatars. These are sentences ranging from 4 to 20 years of imprisonment. And 20 years is, as far as we know, the maximum sentence that the occupiers passed in these cases against the Crimean Tatars,” she said.

Another large group of citizens under persecution in the temporarily occupied Crimea are those accused of allegedly being “Ukrainian saboteurs and spies.” A minimum of 35 citizens of Ukraine are in prison for these cases falsified by the russians, including at least 25 Crimeans who lived in Crimea, and at least 10 people abducted from the South of Ukraine.

Another large group of citizens persecuted by russia are individuals whom the occupiers accuse of participating in the Noman Çelebicihan Battalion. At least 31 Ukrainian citizens were imprisoned and at least 9 prison sentences were handed down in these cases fabricated by the russian federation.

In addition, russia persecutes Jehovah’s Witnesses in occupied Crimea because of their religious beliefs. As part of such persecution, the russians deprived at least 11 people of their freedom and passed at least 4 sentences of imprisonment for terms of up to 6.5 years.

Olha Skrypnyk explained that after the russian-falsified verdicts, Ukrainian citizens are held in high-security colonies, which are very far from Crimea. People live there in harsh conditions with no heating in winter, in unsanitary conditions.

According to Olha Skrypnyk, these and other improper conditions of detention lead to the death of political prisoners in the russian captivity. In 2023, two such cases were already recorded: Kostiantyn Shyring died in a colony, and Dzhemil Gafarov – in a pre-trial detention center, in particular due to the failure to provide proper medical care despite the fact that the occupiers were aware of the prisoners’ health.

Additionally, Olha Skrypnyk noted that only two Crimean political prisoners returned to Ukraine in 2023. However, their return was not part of any exchanges; they came back after serving the entire period of their unjust detention.

Read more: https://mediacenter.org.ua/news