~20,000 Kremlin prisoners illegally detained by Russia

~20,000 Kremlin prisoners illegally detained by Russia

According to the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, this is the number of civilians abducted by the Russian Federation. This estimate is based on the number of appeals received by the Commissioner from relatives of the abductees.

The Media Initiative for Human Rights has identified about one hundred places of abducted civilians' detention.

The Mission of the President of Ukraine in ARC confirms 182 illegally detained Ukrainian citizens, 60% of whom are Qırımtatarlar.

Kremlin prisoner Nariman Dzhelial's health deteriorates 

Kremlin prisoner Nariman Dzhelial's health has deteriorated due to three intervertebral hernias. In addition, due to the harsh confinement in the detention centre, hernias cause him pain, and it is difficult for him to sit and stand — his wife, Leviza Dzhelial.

As a reminder, Nariman Dzhelial is a deputy of the Qırımtatar Milliy Meclisi, who the Russians illegally detained in September 2021. Charges of sabotage were fabricated against him, and in September 2022, he was illegally sentenced to 17 years in prison. However, the defence filed an appeal against this decision, so Dzhelial remains in pre-trial detention.

On May 11, he was transferred from Detention Centre No.1 to Detention Centre No.2 in the temporarily occupied Simferopol. After that, Leviza Dzhelial visited him. Despite his health condition, she noted that the Kremlin prisoner was "calm and morally steadfast". 

While in detention, Dzhelial did not stop his human rights activities. In his letters from the detention centre, he reports that the Russians are torturing other abducted Ukrainians whom Dzhelial had met.

Ukrainian citizen arrested in Russia for the first time 

On May 11, the "Kyiv District Court" of the temporarily occupied Simferopol officially arrested Ukrainian citizen Serhii Kotov for the first time. However, he had been in Russian captivity for a year.

He was charged with espionage. 

The information was reported to Svidomi by his daughter Viktoriia Barabash. 

Russians abducted Kotov in April 2022 in the temporarily occupied Oleshky. He was held for a year in the temporarily occupied Crimea and tortured. Finally, they imitated the execution of Kotov: they put a bag on his head and fired a machine gun over his ear. 

During his illegal detention, the man lost 20 kilograms. He has chronic diseases — pancreatitis and osteomyelitis. His leg is rotting because of the latter.

An independent lawyer is now representing Kotov. However, earlier, his interests were represented by a lawyer controlled by the security forces, which they took advantage of.

During this time, espionage charges were fabricated against him. Finally, however, the FSS officially brought them forward on May 16.

 A 'court' in the temporarily occupied Crimea convicted a Ukrainian in the case of the Noman Çelebicihan Batalyonı 

On May 12, Russian propagandists claimed that a ‘court’ in the temporarily occupied Armiansk in Crimea sent a Ukrainian citizen to prison for five years on charges of membership in the Çelebicihan Batalyonı. The prisoner's name has not been disclosed. But, probably, it was Vitalii Riazanov who received five years in prison — the data of the Russian court register.

However, the Russian court registry shows that the last time this 'court' considered a case on such charges was on April 28 against Vitalii Riazanov.

Earlier, the Centre for Investigative Journalism reported that Riazanov was a veteran of the Russian-Ukrainian war. In 2017-2019, he participated in the ATO/JFO.

The Russians abducted him from the temporarily occupied Kalanchak in September 2022 and then took him to Crimea, where he was held in Detention Centre No. 2 in the temporarily occupied Simferopol. In November 2022, the police declared him missing.

Russians detain Crimean resident for allegedly passing information about Russian troops

On May 12, Russian security forces announced that they had detained a resident of the temporarily occupied Crimea on charges of allegedly passing information about the Russian army.

The man allegedly recorded the movement of trains with military equipment in the temporarily occupied Crimea and transmitted them via Telegram — propaganda resources. 

In the video published by the propagandists, security forces enter a private house and arrest the man, but it is currently impossible to establish the location of the incident.

Russian court extends the arrest of Andrii Zakhtei 

On May 15, a Russian court extended the arrest of Andrii Zakhtei until July 10.

Zakhtei is a prisoner of the Kremlin who spent 6.5 years behind bars and was released in February 2023. However, the Russians immediately arrested him for extradition to Ukraine through third countries — the Graty media outlet.

To recap, in 2016, Zakhtei lived in the temporarily occupied Kezlev. Then the Russians kidnapped and accused him of allegedly planning to transport ‘Ukrainian saboteurs’ across the peninsula. The Russian security forces tortured the illegally detained man and forced him to defame himself. At the same time, he did not accuse other people. For this, the Russians sentenced him to 6.5 years in prison. 

In February 2023, his sentence expired. Then Russian security forces detained him again and sent him to a temporary detention centre for foreign nationals. 

His expired passport complicated Zakhtei's return to Ukraine. Instead of a passport, Ukrainians abroad without documents can receive a temporary document. However, the State Migration Service of Ukraine refused to issue him such a document, unable to confirm his data. In addition, the Commission for establishing the deprivation of personal liberty due to armed aggression against Ukraine under the Ministry of Reintegration only recognised him as a prisoner of the Kremlin on the second attempt.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Latvijas Republika asked the Latvian Border Guard Service to allow Zakhtei to cross the Latvian-Russian border without a valid passport. Latvijas confirmed that was possible. However, this is yet to happen. 

On May 15, a Russian court extended the period of Zakhtei's detention in a centre for foreign nationals. During the court session, the Russian law enforcement officer stated that Zakhtei's extradition to Latvijas Republika is scheduled for June 3.

Russian court sentences three Crimean Muslims to a total of 41 years in prison

On 17 May, a Russian court sentenced Oleksandr Sizikov, who lost his sight in 2009, to 17 years in prison, and Seiran Khairedinov and Alim Sufianov to 12 years each — Crimean Solidarity. 

To recap, Russian security forces have been persecuting Sizikov, Khairedinov and Sufianov since 2020. They were charged with membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir.  This organisation is recognised as a terrorist organisation in the Russian Federation, although it is legal in most European countries and Ukraine.

Oleksandr Sizikov has a first-grade disability, having lost his eyesight in an accident. Despite this, the Russians refused to print the materials of the fabricated case against him in Braille. During the investigation, Sizikov was placed under house arrest, as he needed assistance in his daily life. His lawyer Safie Shabanova states that, given his health condition, the court's decision to impose a long prison sentence contradicts Russian law.

The defence of the illegally convicted trio will appeal against this court decision.