russians in temporarily occupied Berdyansk want to convict two Ukrainian teenagers – Anastasiia Pantelieieva brings to light cases of russian crimes against Ukrainian children
On May 24, 2023, the Investigative Committee of the russian federation charged two teenagers, Tihran Ohannisian and Mykyta Khanhanov, both born in 2006, with allegedly planning sabotage on the railway in the temporarily occupied Berdyansk. They are facing arrest and 10 to 20 years in prison.
The case of teenagers from the temporarily occupied part of Zaporizhia region was made public during a briefing at Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform by Anastasiia Pantelieieva, Head of the Documentation Department at the Media Initiative for Human Rights.
According to Pantelieieva, at the end of September, the russian military came to the family of one of these teenagers. They took the boy, put a bag on his head and took him to an undisclosed location. His grandmother was looking for the boy, she walked around the city, asking where he might be. Five days later, they learnt that he was being held in a captured administrative building that belonged to the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine. After the occupation, civilian prisoners were held there at that time.
“That is, this child was kept with adult civilian prisoners. Later, it became known that this boy was taken to the so-called interrogations that involved simulation of execution. He was tortured with electric current. And when his mother, who was abroad, drew attention to this, he was released,” explained Anastasiia Pantelieieva.
She added that the boy’s classmate got into an almost identical situation. He was not kept with the civilian prisoners, but he was also taken out for interrogations, and subjected to moral and psychological pressure. And on May 24, it became known that these children received a notice of suspicion, and they were probably going to be tried.
“We have to understand that these children cannot receive proper legal help in the occupation. Prior to this, my colleagues had already researched the judicial system in the previously occupied territories and came to the conclusion that this judicial system is quasi-legal. Therefore, we don’t have high hopes that there are independent justice agencies in recently occupied Zaporizhia region that could either help the children, or pronounce them innocent, or pass reasonable judgment,” she noted.
Anastasiia Pantelieieva pointed out that two teenagers have been under house arrest since the fall of last year. They can move around the city, but every day they must report that they have not left the occupied territory.
“They cannot leave the occupied territory. One of the boys’ parents tried to evacuate him, but they were detained in the territory of the russian federation. They – their adult parents by the way – were taken prisoner for a day, and they were escorted back to the city. Then the parents were allowed to evacuate, but not the child,” she added.
Anastasiia Pantelieieva explained that children are effectively held prisoners. In addition to all other crimes, Ukrainian children are subjected to torture, just like civilian prisoners. And in the same way the rights of our prisoners of war are violated as well.
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