First group of prison inmates transferred from uncontrolled territories of Donbas

Дата: 09 July 2015
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July 8, the first group consisting of nine Ukrainian prison inmates was transferred from the territory of Donetsk region, not controlled by the Government of Ukraine.

The inmate transfer was carried out at the initiative of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Valeria Lutkovska.

Commissioner’s representative for national preventive mechanism implementation Yuri Belousov told the Human Rights Information Center about how the prison inmate transfer process had occurred, and what the inmates would further face.

The inmate transfer was held with participation of Belousov, as well as Commissioner’s representative for public relations Mykhailo Chaplyha and executive director of the Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement (Association UMDPL) Vadym Pyvovarov.

There were many months of negotiations and thorough preparations. Now it seems it has happened quickly, simply and smoothly. But in fact, the Commissioner Office was carrying out the preparatory work for several months. The attempts were made to establish contacts with the other side. We didn’t establish the contacts by ourselves, we asked the UN monitoring mission to visit the “DPR” and “LPR” and talk with the leaders of these so-called republics. The mission succeeded. The UN mission representatives reported that the other side has a desire to transfer inmates. We informed the relevant bodies on our part. Nothing happened in secret. The Ministry of Justice took no measures since November last year, when the President had signed the decree to take immediate evacuation procedures. So we started to solve this problem independently,” Yuri Belousov says.

As the Commissioner’s representative notes, he sees no interest in solving this problem at the state level.

This was the first step. I hope we will gather further pace and be able to transfer more people from that territory,” Belousov notes.

Ten people were planned to be transferred yesterday, but later it turned out that one person had been released just before the transfer. All of them are people falling under the extradition. This category was chosen for the first evacuation as the most neutral one. Later, having mastered the mechanism, the other categories of inmates will be dealt with, Belousov mentions. In general, about 13,000 people still remain in custody in the uncontrolled territories.

According to Yuri Belousov, there was a problem for prisoner inmates, who wanted to get to the government-controlled territory after their release. “When they are released, they receive a certificate, issued by the so-called “DPR” and “LPR”, which isn’t valid at our checkpoints. That’s why they were not let pass long. Now the leadership of the State Penitentiary Service is trying to solve this problem by making agreement with the checkpoints and the National Guard for the inmates not to be returned if they come. This information will also be transmitted to the other side for them to know it and not be afraid to come here.”

The Commissioner’s representative notes that there have been about one hundred such cases when people with the certificates, issued by the so-called republics, were not let pass. The State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine has already assured that such people will not be returned from now on, they will be just checked and their identity will be established.

Talking about future of these people, Belousov says that a person, who has moved to the Ukrainian territory and hasn’t stayed on that side, deserves release on parole. For this purpose, the State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine will prepare the relevant proposals to the court. It is also possible to partially restore the documents, and to make a decision about the future of a person on their basis.

Photos taken from Facebook page of Yuri Belousov

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