Yevhen Panov, Accused by Russia of “Sabotage,” was Probably Tortured

Дата: 16 August 2016
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Yevhen Panov, who was accused by Russia of sabotage, was probably tortured. This is stated in the declaration of Euromaidan SOS, human rights initiative.

“On August 10th, Russian television aired a story where people in FSB balaclavas take Yevhen Panov down a corridor while showing easily distinguishable traces of injuries. This footage clearly demonstrates the use of physical violence towards him and possibly torture,” say human rights activists.

On August 11th, the FSB released a video of an interrogation where Panov already had new injuries.

 “The nature of these injuries (swollen face, swollen lips, and shortness of breath) gives reason to believe that he was asphyxiated by a bag on his head. It is also evident that he is reciting scripted text, which is also indirectly confirmed by the number of spliced edits within the several minutes of video (most likely, the answers had to be reshot),” believes Euromaidan SOS. 

“The mysterious circumstances of his disappearance, clear traces of violence, and the prevalence of torture as a method used by Russian law enforcement agencies indicate the likelihood that Panov was subjected to physical violence to obtain ‘confessions.”

According to his relatives, on August 6th Yevhen, who worked as a bus driver, went on holiday with friends within the Zaporizhia region. He was going to return no later than the morning of August 8th.

Relatives say that Yevhen was well aware of the threats associated with being in the occupied territories, and would not have risked it because he and his wife were planning a baby in the near future.

Panov served more than a year as a volunteer in the ATO, and, upon his return, performed volunteer activities and worked in the executive committee of the local council.

“His relatives believe that Panov could have been abducted and illegally taken by the FSB into the occupied territories. Ukrainian police opened criminal proceedings regarding illegal imprisonment and kidnapping”

They note that scenarios involving the abduction of Ukrainians and trumped-up charges of terrorist activities have repeatedly been used by Russian special services for propaganda purposes.

“It is necessary to recall the kidnapping of Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko, the imprisonment of Ukrainian producer Oleg Sentsov in a forced labor colony for a term of 20 years on fabricated charges of terrorism, the absurd accusations of the use of prohibited means and methods of warfare against tractor driver Serhiy Litvinov, regarding which the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office subsequently ‘expressed their apologies’, and others.”

According to Euromaidan SOS, wide publicity and monitoring by the international community can become a sort of preventive measure against torture and ill-treatment.

Euromaidan SOS draws attention of the international community to the need for control over Yevhen Panov’s case, including unhindered access to an independent lawyer who can provide expert legal assistance. Human rights activists also consider it necessary to provide access to international organizations and human rights activists to verify Panov’s health and his living conditions.

Yevhen Panov, as well as Andriy Zakhtiy and Rydvan Suleymanov, are the only people who have been publicly presented by Russian special forces out of all the accused who allegedly belonged to the eliminated “sabotage intelligence group.”

Euromaidan SOS demands that the Russian Federation publicly announce the names of the other people arrested in order to prevent their torture and ill-treatment during the investigation.

On August 10th, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) accused the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine of preparing terrorist acts in the annexed Crimea.

The Ukrainian Joint Staff called these statements a provocation, and President Petro Poroshenko considers them to be Russian fantasies.

On August 15th, it was reported that the number of detainees “in the case on the preparation of acts of sabotage” in the Russian-occupied Crimea increased to nine people.

According to the Ukrainian human rights activists, after the release of Nadia Savchenko, Hennadiy Afanasyev, and Yuriy Soloshenko, at least 29 Ukrainians continued to be held behind bars in Russia. Of these, 15 are Crimean Tatars.

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