Kidnapped Ukrainians are subjected to torture both by the Russian military and FSB – Crimean human rights defenders

Дата: 16 January 2023
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When the full-scale invasion  started, monitors of the Crimean Human Rights Group (CHRG) have begun to get information from the occupied settlements of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions that Ukrainian civilians abducted in these territories by the Russian military, the Rosguard, or the FSB are being transported to places of detention in Crimea.

The CHRG revealed some cases of kidnappings in its report “Human rights situation in Crimea and 250 days of full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine”.

More than 110 Ukrainians from the occupied territories are kept in this Pre-Trial Detention Center No 2 in Simferopol, according to the CHRG

According to the CHRG, kidnapped people are subjected to torture both by the Russian military in the newly occupied territories and by the Russian FSB in Crimea.

The Crimean human rights organization reports that a new detention center was opened in Simferopol.

As the CHRG reports, this pre-trial detention center is for 458 persons, and is controlled by the FSB of the Russian Federation. Currently, according to the CHRG data, there are more than 110 persons in this detention center, most of whom are civilians of the Ukrainian territories occupied after February 24, 2022, in particular, from Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Regions. Among those illegally detained are public activists, volunteers, and representatives of local authorities.

The Crimean Human Rights Group has information on at least 34 persons held in this pre-trial detention center, including abducted Kherson region residents.

For instance, Mr. Sergiy Tsyhipa, a public activist from the city of Nova Kakhovka, Kherson Region, head of the “Kakhovsky platsdarm” (Kakhovka Bridgehead) NGO, a civic journalist, abducted on March 12, 2022, is being held in the new Pre-Trial Detention Center No 2 in Simferopol.

Mr. Appaz Kurtamet, a 20-yearold Crimean Tatar, a teacher of the Crimean Tatar language from the village of Novooleksiyivka, Kherson Region, left on July 23 Novooleksiyivka for Crimea to visit his relatives. His communication with the relatives was interrupted at the Russian-controlled checkpoint between the occupied Crimea and the Kherson region.

On October 10, the illegal “Kyivskiy District Court” of Simferopol imposed a pre-trial restriction on Kurtamet. He is accused of financing “Crimea” battalion, which Russia forbids according to article 208-1 Criminal Code (‘establishment of an illegal armed formation or service in it’.)

Mr. Kurtamet has been transferred to the newly established Pre-trial Detention Center no 2 in Simferopol.

The Crimean Human Rights Group points out the story of Iryna Horobtsova, a resident of Kherson, and a Senior QA at one of the leading IT companies in Ukraine.

On May 13, she was abducted in Kherson. After February 24, the woman volunteered in the city. In social networks, she published posts in support of Ukraine and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, openly condemned the Russian invasion and occupation of Kherson, collected funds for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and called for saving Azovstal.

On May 13, she was abducted by armed men who arrived at two black “Z” letter-marked jeeps. Later the RF FSB confirmed to her parents that the woman was held in Simferopol. Now Ms. Horobtsova is being held in Pre-trial Detention Center no 2 in Simferopol. According to her lawyer, she has been held there at least since May 25 because it was the day when she was fingerprinted in the Pre-trial Detention Center.

Pavlo Zaporozhets’, a 32-year-old resident of Kherson, an ATO participant, was abducted in May. On August 12, after three months of capture and torture, the Russian military moved him to the temporarily occupied Crimea.

A case was initiated against Mr. Zaporozhets’ under RF Criminal Code Article 30-3 (attempt) and Article 361-1 (act of international terrorism), and he was taken into custody.

On September 28, Denys Didenko, a so-called “judge” of the illegal “Kyivskiy District Court of Sevastopol” extended a detention period for Mr. Zaporozhets’ for 3 months, and Yuriy Latynin, a “judge” of  so-called “Supreme Court” of Crimea, upheld this decision.

According to the CHRG, Pavlo Zaporozhets’ is now undergoing a compulsory mental health assessment at the psychoneurological dispensary.

The human rights organization also reports of Mariano Cala Tayud Garcia, a volunteer, who acted in Kherson after the full-scale invasion. He helped children who remained without their parents’ care and attended anti-occupation rallies.

On July 26, 2022, Mariano’s fiancée reported that he had been captive since March 19. According to the CHRG information, Mariano is being held in the Pre-Trial Detention Center No 2.

The NGO added that representatives of the local authorities are also being kept in Crimea. For instance, Ihor Prokotovylo, a member of Novokakhovka City Council, a head of summer cottage settlement community, was abducted on April 19.

The Russian military men were looking for his brother — an ATOі ATO – Anti-Terrorist Operation on the occupied part of Donets’k and Luhan’sk region during the first years of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. participant. On April 28 the wife was informed that Ihor Prokotovylo had been moved to the temporarily occupied Crimea.

Oleksandr Babych, Mayor of town of Hola Prystan’, Skadovs’k District, Kherson Region, was abducted by the Russian military men on March 28, 2022, according to the data of the Office of Prosecutor General of Ukraine.

His house was searched. In November the CHRG was informed that Mr. Babych was being held in the Pre-Trial Detention Center of the City of Simferopol. 

Some residents of Zaporizhzhia region, when abducted, were also moved to Crimea. For instance, in June, in temporarily occupied Melitopol’, the Russian military abducted two Ukrainian volunteers – Yaroslav Zhuk and Illia Yenin.

On July 12, Vladimir Rogov, the illegal “mayor” of Melitopol’ appointed by the Russian power, posted a video with staged confession of Yaroslav Zhuk: he was saying that on June 17, 2022, he attempted to assassinate Yelena Shapurova, director of city’s department of education.

Yaroslav was moved to Crimea, accused of committing a crime under Russian Federation Criminal Code Article 361-1 (act of international terrorism), and taken into custody. On August 26, 2022, the illegal “Supreme Court” in Crimea upheld this decision, and then extended a detention period.

As reported later by Yaroslav Zhuk in the statement that the Crimean Human Rights Group has at disposal, he was tortured with electric current, forced to learn and record a video with confessions, kept in the basement from June 17 to August 8.

It’s also known that a resident of Zaporizhzhia Dmytro Holubiev was abducted by the Russian military and moved to Crimea. The CHRG is informed that he is being held in the Pre-Trial Detention Center of the City of Simferopol and accused of terrorism.

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