August 14, 2023, 14:55

Gafarov-Shyrinh List: human rights activists publish cases of medical negligence failing to provide medical care to Crimean political prisoners

Russia repeatedly denies medical care and services to Ukrainian political prisoners, threatening their lives. Since the beginning of the year, two Ukrainian prisoners of the Kremlin, Kostiantyn Shyrinh and Dzhemil Gafarov, have died while in captivity. ZMINA has launched a project to help Ukrainian political prisoners suffering from lack of medical attention by collecting and processing details on Ukrainian prisoners suffering in prisons, colonies, and detention centers in Russia and in the temporarily occupied Crimea. One of the lists includes 21 people–these are people who need immediate medical care because their lives are in danger.

It was discussed during a briefing at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform. 

Thus, during the discussion, Viktoria Nesterenko, Project Manager at ZMINA Human Rights Center, said that Ukrainian political prisoners systematically face refusal by Russian healthcare providers to deliver medical care to those who require it. “They disregard requests from political prisoners seeking medical treatment. Russia also hinders them from receiving medicines handed over by inmates’ relatives. And also, if sometimes Russia finally allows conducting some medical checkups, these examination’s barely last for 5 minutes, leading to medical decision-making resulting in either drawing no conclusion at all or political prisoners not receiving medication or being prevented from having meds delivered by lawyers and relatives to them,” she said.

In turn, Igor Kotelianets, Head of the Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin, noted that many of those currently imprisoned by Russia were detainees with chronic diseases, some of them are persons with disabilities and serious medical issues whose poor health continue to deteriorate. 

According to him, the most common problems among political prisoners that are known today are the digestive system, kidney, dental, hypertension, and impaired or partial loss of vision and hearing.

“This is caused by poor nutrition and, in fact, deliberately inflicting situations and unbearable conditions of detention which Russia’s punitive system creates for these people,” he emphasized and cited the case of the Abdullayev brothers, who have been imprisoned since 2016.

“We now know, for example, that the Abdullayev brothers, who have been held under arrest since 2016, have been detained for months, sometimes for six months in ‘disciplinary cells’ as a punishment. Their mother describes these conditions as a concrete pit, where prisoners are forced to live, literally, sleep on concrete, and thus have huge problems with their kidneys and other organs. They are tortured by sleep deprivation and bad prison food. And it all resembles a slow death program without any active actions being performed, but the creation of conditions leading to death,” said Igor Kotelianets.

He noted that in Russia, they abuse Ukrainian political prisoners, for example, by taking them out at -14°C, having no clothes and shoes on, and waiting for the prisoner’s limbs to freeze. In addition, he stated, there is a lot of psychological pressure exerted. 

The full list of Kremlin prisoners needing immediate medical care is available via the link here.

Read more: