BREAKING NEWS: From Ukrainian jails to freedom in Moscow/ List of 35 released prisoners

– List of the 35 prisoners released from Ukrainian jails

HRWF (08.09.2019) – Moscow has not yet published the list of 35 people released from Ukrainian jails and transferred to Russia but Human Rights Without Frontiersmanaged to get such a list from Ukrainska Pravda with some additional corrections from other sources.

Twelve are Russians and twenty-three are citizens of Ukraine.

Eleven of them were pardoned, two refused to leave Ukraine and one had been transferred to Russia earlier.

Victor Ageev, 09/13/1995

Alexander Baranov, 08/11/1983

Aslan Baskhanov, 04/06/1966

Elena Bobovaya, 04/26/1972

Pavel Chernykh, 08/04/1975

Anna Dubenko, 08/18/1982

Stanislav Ezhov, 06/22/1978

Victor Fedorov, 07/18/1969

Ruslan Gadzhiev, 02/10/1973

Vladimir Galich, 01/18/1948

Sergey Gnatiev, 04/13/1988

Denis Khitrov, 04/28/1977

Igor Kimakovsky, 04/28/1972

Olga Kovalis, 08/07/1968

Sergey Kovernik, 02.16.1978

Dmitry Korenovsky, 03/18/1972

Andrey Kostenko, 09/18/1984

Alexey Lazarenko, 10/13/1985

Sergey Lazarev, 05/07/1957

Yuri Lomako, 02/04/1961

Petr Melnichuk, 07/12/1972

Evgeny Mefedov, 05/22/1983

Maxim Odintsov, 04/25/1983

Julia Prosolova, 07/13/1988

Alexander Rakushchin, 03/19/1963

Antonina Rodionova, 09/06/1969

Alexander Sattarov, 12/28/1980

Alexey Sedikov, 10/10/1979

Taras Sinichak, 06.24.1977

Alexander Tarasenko, 07/10/1970

Andrey Tretyakov, 10/18/1973

Vladimir Tsemakh, 04/07/1961

Andrey Vaskovsky, 12/25/1991

Kirill Vyshinsky, 19/02/1967

Arkady Zhidkikh, 11/19/1967

Two prisoners (Ruslan Gadzhiev and Taras Sinichak) refused to be part of the swap and were replaced.

Ruslan Gadzhiev, who is listed as being exchanged, refused to leave Ukraine, considering himself innocent, according to Valentin Rybin, a lawyer for Russian citizens who were held in Ukraine. Gadzhiev had been arrested in the Donbass in January 2015.

Taras Sinichakis now in Ivano-Frankivsk, where he is being held under house arrest, according to his lawyer Yaroslav Zeykan. On August 19, SBU officers offered to take him to Koncha-Zaspa where other exchange participants were waiting for their departure to Moscow. However, Sinichak refused because he considers himself a citizen of Ukraine, does not admit any guilt and does not want to be extradited to Russia.

Taras Sinichak worked in the military sanatorium “Sudak” in Crimea. After the annexation of Crimea, the institution became subordinate to the Ministry of Defense of Russia. Sinichak did not leave Crimea and went on working in the sanatorium. He was arrested in February 2016 when he moved to mainland Ukraine to attend the funeral of a relative. The prosecutor’s office regarded this as desertion and high treason.




BREAKING NEWS: Ukraine-Russia prisoner swap: 70 prisoners released in all

– HRWF (07.09.2019) – The prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia has finally taken place this Saturday afternoon but Ukrainian media and “our” media in the West almost only focus on the 35 prisoners arriving in Ukraine and fail to investigate properly about the background of the 35 prisoners claimed by Moscow.

The swap has two sides. Who are those 35 people who were in Ukrainian jails? Were they political prisoners? What were they charged with? What is their background?

This article will try to bring some light on a number of people who will find a safe haven in Russia. Western journalists are encouraged to further investigate this side of the exchange of prisoners.

35 prisoners in Russia recover their freedom in Ukraine

The press service of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has posted a full list of Ukrainians who returned home on September 7, 2019 as part of a prisoner swap between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. See
https://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/ukrayinci-yaki-povernulisya-na-batkivshinu-7-veresnya-u-ramk-57137

The list includes 11 political prisoners:

Roman Sushchenko, Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Volodymyr Balukh, Stanislav Klykh, Mykola Karpiuk, Oleksiy Syzonovych, Pavlo Hryb, Edem Bekirov, Yevhen Panov, and Artur Panov.

In addition, 24 Ukrainians sailors captured by the Russian Federation in the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018 were freed today:

– Roman Mokriak, commander of the Berdyansk armored naval boat;
– Yuriy Bezyazychny, motorist-electrician;
– Andriy Artemenko, senior seaman gunner;
– Andriy Eyder, alarm seaman gunner;
– Bohdan Holovash, graduate of the Institute of Naval Forces;
– Denys Hrytsenko, commander of the 1st Division of the Naval Command Raid Guard Ships;
– Vasyl Soroka, captain, was on board of the Berdyansk armored naval boat;
– Bohdan Nebylytsia, commander of the Nikopol armored naval boat;
– Viacheslav Zinchenko, alarm seaman gunner;
– Serhiy Tsybizov, alarm seaman gunner;
– Serhiy Popov, deputy commander of the division for electromechanical units – Chief of the electromechanical service of the 1st division of the Naval Command Raid Guard Ships;
– Vladyslav Kostyshyn, graduate of the Institute of Naval Forces;
– Andriy Oprysko, motorist-electrician of the Vyshhorod armored naval boat;
– Adnriy Drach, captain, was on board of the Nikopol armored naval boat;
– Oleh Melnychuk, commander of the Yanu Kapu tugboat.
– Mykhailo Vlasiuk, motorist-electrician;
– Viktor Bespalchenko, seaman gunner;
– Volodymyr Tereshchenko, seaman gunner; – Yevhen Semydotsky, foretopman;
– Volodymyr Lisoviy, commander of the 31st division of the logistics vessels;
– Andriy Shevchenko, Chief Petty Officer of the division;
– Volodymyr Varimez, senior radiotelegraph operator of the Smila training boat of the 31st division of the logistics vessels;
– Serhiy Chuliba, commander of the division of motorists of the Nova Kakhovka training boat of the 31st division of the logistics vessels;
– Yuriy Budzylo, commander of the radio control platoon of the 21st separate company of the naval command.

Russian security forces arrested film director Oleh Sentsov in Simferopol on May 10, 2014. Student Oleksandr Kolchenko was captured by Russia in a week. They were charged with preparing terrorist acts. Kolchenko was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and Sentsov was sentenced to 20 years in a high-security penal colony.

The Supreme Court of Chechnya in May 2016 sentenced Ukrainian citizens Stanislav Klykh and Mykola Karpiuk to 20 and 22.5 years in prison, respectively, for alleged gang-related activities, murder and attempted murder of Russian military servicemen. The Russian investigation alleged that Klykh and Karpiuk set up groups in Ukraine to participate in fighting against the Russian army for independent Chechnya during the first Chechen war.

Pavlo Hryb was just 19 when he was abducted by the FSB from Belarus on August 24, 2017, after going there to meet who he thought was a young woman he had chatted with online and fell in love with. He was tried in Russia on trumped-up “terrorist” charges as investigators claim he instructed an accomplice to set off an explosive device at a Russian schoolyard. Russia’s North-Caucasian District Military Court on March 22 sentenced Hryb to six years in a penal colony for allegedly “promoting terrorism.”

Volodymyr Balukh was detained by Russia’s FSB Federal Security Service on December 8, 2016. FSB operatives claimed that they had allegedly found 90 ammunition rounds and several TNT explosives in his attic. On July 5, 2018, a Russian-controlled in Crimea sentenced him to five years in a penal colony and a RUB 10,000 fine. On October 3, 2018, the so-called “Supreme Court of Crimea” reviewed Balukh’s original verdict and reduced his term to four years and 11 months.

The FSB detained Roman Sushchenko at a Moscow airport upon his arrival on September 30, 2016. He was charged with “espionage,” as the Russian authorities insisted he was an “operative” of Ukraine’s intelligence service. Moscow’s city court on June 4, 2018, sentenced him to a 12-year term in a high-security colony.

In August 2017, Artur Panov was sentenced in Russia to eight years in prison for allegedly planning a terrorist attack in Rostov-on-Don.

Russian authorities arrested Yevhen Panov in August 2016, charging him with being part of a “saboteur group” plotting a series of terrorist attacks on the peninsula infrastructure. On July 13, 2018, the “supreme court” of Russian-annexed Crimea sentenced him to eight years in a high-security penal colony.

Oleksiy Syzonovych in July 2017 was sentenced in Russia to 12 years in prison. He was charged with plotting terrorist attacks in Rostov region, illegal border crossing and illegal possession of explosives.

On December 12, 2018, Russian security forces detained Bekirov at the de-facto border between mainland Ukraine and Russia-occupied Crimea. He was accused of storing, distributing and transporting more than 10 kg of TNT and 190 rounds of live ammo.

On the morning of November 25, 2018, Russia blocked the passage to the Kerch Strait for the Ukrainian tugboat “Yany Kapu” and two armored naval boats “Berdyansk” and “Nikopol,” which were on a scheduled re-deployment from the Black Sea port of Odesa to the Azov Sea port of Mariupol. All 24 crew members on board were charged with “illegal border crossing.”

Source: Unian

Pictures and videos are available at

https://www.unian.info/politics/10677021-ukraine-russia-prisoner-swap-official-list-of-freed-ukrainians.html

35 prisoners in Ukraine claimed by Russia were released: 12 Russians and 23 Ukrainians

On Saturday 7 September, a TU-204 plane flew from Boryspil Airport to the Vnukovo airport on board of which there were 35 citizens of Russia and Ukraine detained in Ukrainian prisons: 12 are Russians, 23 are citizens of Ukraine. Who are they?

Among them was a Russian citizen, Evgeny Mefyodov, a former participant in the 2nd May 2014 demonstration in Odessa and survivor of the tragic fire in the House of Trade Unions in which 42 anti-Maidan demonstrators lost their lives (*). He was then directly sent to prison from the hospital. He was prosecuted as one of the alleged organizers of the riots leading to that tragedy, but the court acquitted him. He was however not released. He was kept in detention on charges of separatism and spent more than 5 years in jail without being sentenced.

Kirill Vyshinsky, the chief editor of RIA Novosti Ukraine (2014-2018) was charged with treason and backing the fighters from the self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine, a claim that he denies. He had been released on bail in late August after more than a year of detention.

Another person to have been swapped is Vladimir Tsemakh (58), who led the air defense of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). Kyiv charged him with terrorism – a standard accusation against separatists in the DPR. Tsemakh, who was arrested by Ukrainian authorities in June, had been recorded on video saying that he commanded an anti-air brigade in eastern Ukraine and hid evidence of a Buk missile system. Dutch investigators say separatists used a Russian-made Buk missile to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines jet with 298 on board, most of whom were Dutch.

Tsemakh’s name made its way into the foreign press recently after the Dutch-led investigative team said it believes he is a valuable witness in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 that killed all 298 people on board in 2014.
President Zelenskiy faced criticism at home and in the European parliament over the inclusion in the swap of a potential witness in the MH17 investigation. Recently, Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok said that the prisoner trade had been delayed so that investigators could question Tsemakh before he was sent to Russia.

Among the other released persioners were also Elena Bobova, Valery Pikalov, Denis Khitrov and Alexander Rakushin, held in the Odessa a pre-trial detention center.

Investigation is open to the identity and background of all the others.

Sources: Odessa Timer, Russia Today, Moscow Times and BBC

Footnote

See HRWF report on the 2nd May 2014 Odessa Tragedy published after a fact-finding mission carried out in the Ukrainian seaport in the same month:

https://hrwf.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Odessa-2nd-May-2014-Tragedy.pdf

(*) At the beginning of the clashing pro-Maidan and anti-Maidan demonstrations in the city centre, 6 people died from gunshots: four or five pro-Maidan demonstrators were first killed and an anti-Maidan died from his injuries a few days later. Later on the same day, 42 participants in an anti-Maidan picket with tents lost their lives at Kulikovo Square/ Trade Union building: 32 died from gas poisoning, 7 fell from the building and 3 died from various injuries and burns.

This tragedy was the result of the mismanagement, negligence and non-action of the law enforcement forces as well as the firemen.




UKRAINE: Remember Odessa 2nd May 2014 Tragedy

– See pictures of the 5th anniversary at https://bit.ly/2PHoU6Y

– By Willy Fautré

– HRWF (02.05.2019) – Five years ago, on 2nd May 2014, 48 people died in two violent confrontations between pro-Maidan and anti-Maidan activists marching in the centre of Odessa and several hours later in Kulikovo Square (a few kilometres away).

Two weeks later I was in Odessa and I started my investigation about the tragic events. All narratives at that time as well as later on were biased on both sides in Ukraine. Putin and his friends in Ukraine instrumentalized the tragedy with their distorted narratives and their fake news to serve the political agenda of the Kreml. This propaganda presenting Ukraine as a state ruled by fascists is still alive today and was even perpetuated until last year through side-events at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Several investigation commissions in Ukraine, most of them lacking neutrality, published questionable reports and nobody was finally sentenced to a prison term. The main leaders of the deadly clashes in the centre of the city managed to flee to a “safe and friendly country”. Others in Kulikovo Square where most anti-Maidan activists died in the fire of the trade union building, were not prosecuted. The Council of Europe published the only official report that was reliable. Its findings corresponded to ours.

Today UNIAN, a Ukrainian press agency, published an article about a 13-page UN briefing note entitled “Accountability for Killings and Violent Deaths on 2 May 2014 in Odesa” and drafted by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) (https://bit.ly/2GLytO4).

Conclusions and Recommendations of the UN Mission

Five years after the events of 2 May 2014 in Odesa, HRMMU notes that no one has been held responsible for the acts that led to the killings and violent deaths of 48 people and injuries to an estimated 247 people. HRMMU is concerned that the challenges described pose a serious impediment to the provision of access to justice for victims and their families. Accountability for crimes and access to justice for all is essential to establish public trust in the judiciary and the rule of law, and may serve as a bedrock for reconciliation and social cohesion.

  1. Recommendations to the Government of Ukraine:

Office of the Prosecutor General

  1. Ensure effective, prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into the acts of killing and violent deaths perpetrated during the 2 May 2014 violence in Odesa and consider the possibility of transferring the lead investigative role from the Odesa Regional Police Department to the Main Investigation Unit of the National Police.

National Police

  1. Investigate effectively, promptly, thoroughly and impartially all acts of killing and violent deaths perpetrated during the 2 May 2014 violence in Odesa;
  2. Consider deploying senior investigators with relevant experience to the investigative team in charge of investigations;
  3. Ensure public order and provide security to all parties involved in the trials related to the 2 May 2014 violence in Odesa so that the cases of killings and violent deaths perpetrated in this context can be considered promptly, independently and impartially.

Presidents of courts of first instance

  1. Grant priority status to the trials in the cases of killings and violent deaths perpetrated in the context of the 2 May 2014 violence in Odesa to ensure consideration of the cases without undue delay.

High Council of Justice, High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine, President of Ukraine

  1. Ensure qualification re-assessment of existing judges and recruitment of new judges without undue delay.

 

51. Recommendations to the international community, including to the Russian Federation:

Ensure that extradition requests for all absconded suspects in criminal cases related to the 2 May violence in Odesa are processed in a timely manner;

Consider providing international legal assistance  in  investigations conducted by Ukrainian authorities against individuals in relation to 2 May 2014 violence, if the requests of their extradition cannot be processed.

See HRWF report  at https://hrwf.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Odessa-2nd-May-2014-Tragedy.pdf

Act I

6 people killed by firearms in the centre of the city (allegedly 4 pro-Maidan and 2 anti-Maidan)

Anti-Maidan activists came armed to the city centre

Gunshots fired by pro-Russian aggressors; first person killed

Street fighting left six dead, more than 100 wounded

The role of the medical services

The role of the police

Act II

About 40 people died in Kulikovo Square

Anti-Maidan crowd flees to Trade Union building

Firefighters slow to respond

Bloodiest day in Odessa since 1918

Act III

Anti-Maidan activists attack a police station and release prisoners

ANNEX

List of the victims by name and their death conditions

HRWF is on the side of all the families who lost one of their members in this tragedy which could have been avoided.

UNIAN articles:

https://bit.ly/2VMFA2E

https://bit.ly/2VFNevu

https://bit.ly/2JaRc8D




UKRAINE: Presidential election – Latest poll (25.03)

– Interfax-Ukraine (25.03.2019) – https://bit.ly/2HSh7l1– If the presidential election had been held next Sunday, 17.3% of those polled would have voted for showman Volodymyr Zelensky, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko would have been supported by 13.9%, Civil Position Party leader Anatoliy Hrytsenko by 13.2% and Batkivschyna Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko by 13%.

Those are the results of a survey conducted by the Center for Social Engineering RAND presented at the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Monday. Some 8.5% of those polled said they would vote for Opposition Platform – For Life leader Yuriy Boiko, 3.6% for Opposition Bloc leader Oleksandr Vilkul, and 3.2% for Radical Party leader Oleh Liashko.

Among respondents who have made their choice and said they would definitely vote, Zelensky leads with 22.5% of votes, followed by Poroshenko with 18.1%, Hrytsenko with 17.1%, Tymoshenko with 16.9%, Boiko with 11%, Vilkul with 4.7%, and Liashko with 4.2%.

Some 8% of respondents said they still had not made up their minds, while 15.4% said they would not vote.

If Zelensky and Tymoshenko make it to the second round of elections, the former would win 30.6% to 16.5%. A Poroshenko versus Zelensky race would see the latter win 29.4% to 21.8%. Zelensky would also defeat Hrytsenko in the second round by a slight margin, 27.9% to 27.8%, according to survey results.

In a race between Hrytsenko and Poroshenko, the former would defeat the incumbent president 32.8% to 22.4%. Hrytsenko would also beat Tymoshenko, 32.4% to 21.1%.

Tymoshenko would defeat Poroshenko in the second round, 23.7% to 21.6%, according to the poll results.

The survey was conducted from March 16 to March 23. Some 1,800 respondents were polled in face-to-face interviews in all regions of Ukraine, except Russia-occupied Crimea and in Russia-occupied areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions. The margin of error is not more than 2.5%.




UKRAINE: Textbook for Russian patriots. How to destruct ideological dissent?

– A screening of the feature-documentary “License for Crimes” is being planned in Kyiv for February 2019. According to the organizers of the project, Ukrainian non-governmental organization Cavalier, the documentary is dedicated to the history of religious extremism in the Russian Federation.

The director of the Brussels-based NGO Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF), Willy Fautre, will act as an expert in the project. This is not the first time that Cavalier and HRWF have worked together. In 2016, the NGOs released a documentary entitled “Protect your dignity”, which was dedicated to the protection from and prevention against manifestations of religious extremism in modern society.

One of the key elements of the “License for Crimes” documentary is a so-called ‘Russian Federation patriot instruction manual in pre-war period’. Interestingly, the textbook is dated in the year of 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea, a first step to the military conflict in eastern Ukraine. As a consequence, the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) appeared on the map of Ukraine as separatist entities (although they are not recognized by the international community).

The textbook is said to originate from Russia. In accordance with the terms under which this textbook was shared with us, we have no right to publish the full version of this manual yet. However, we will provide a description of the key blocks of the textbook and use several of the most vivid pages to demonstrate the methodology.

According to the authors of the textbook, the Russian Federation has four types of enemies:
– Enemies of the State;
– Enemies of the Church;
– Enemies of the State policy;
– Enemies of the undeclared State policy.

The authors of the textbook call those falling under one of these four categories a “special contingent”, which must either have their activities terminated or be destroyed. Onward, there is a detailed description of three levels of training and methods to be used by Russian ‘patriots’; methods which strictly correspond to the way Jehovah’s Witnesses were eliminated from the map in Russia.

As for the authenticity of this textbook, the answer is obvious. Everything that is mentioned in the manual has been put into practice by Russia. What is very disturbing is that it gives instructions to ‘patriots’ for pre-war and war periods. Concerning the pre-war period, we see that Russia has implemented the recommendations of the handbook in Crimea and Donbass. If we look at what has happened in Crimea in the pre-war or pre-annexation period, we see that Russia had prepared the minds of the people in the peninsula, mobilizing them in one way or another to feel closer to Moscow than to Kyiv. They also prepared ‘the minds of people’ outside Crimea, asserting that it had historically been ruled by Moscow, under the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, and that it was normal to reintegrate its Russian-speaking population in the current Russian Federation. This was the first step of the pre-war period.

The next step was irregular warfare. Unidentifiable men in arms surprisingly took control of the TV station, and administrative and public buildings, including the local parliament of Crimea. A disturbing situation, as it was originally not understood as the first step of the conquest of Crimea.

We also saw the faithful implementation of the handbook for Russian ‘patriots’ in Donbass when Putin spread the idea that the Russian world was extending beyond the borders of the Russian Federation and included neighboring territories with Russian-speaking populations. Step by step, while denying any involvement, Russia created a protracted conflict in the Donbass that has made more 10 000 victims in last few years.

The manual for Russian ‘patriots’ describes strategies that were implemented before our eyes in the last few years. When it is made public, we expect that the FSB will deny association with it and say it is a provocation of Ukraine.

This textbook is unique and will present opportunities for expert discussions on national and international levels when it is revealed in its entirety.

The movie “License for Crimes” will be screened in Kyiv in February 2019. After this première, it will be shown in film festivals and in international forums, and open for discussion.

For more information about the screening of this film, contact Mr Konstantin Slobodyanyuk/ Слободянюк Константин slobodyanuk.kv@gmail.com




European Parliament: HRWF debate on child marriage on EU REPORTER TV

– Watch the video here:  https://youtu.be/wgOK0_XA6Vg

Panelists

Elisa Van Ruiten, a Gender Specialist at Human Rights Without Frontiers International;
Mohinder Watson, a researcher and activist against child marriage, who escaped a forced marriage of her own as a teenager;
Emilio Puccio, the Coordinator of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights, which is a cross-party and cross-national group comprising over 90 MEPs and 25 child-focused organizations.

The presenter was EU Reporter’s Jim Gibbons.

“Every day somewhere in the world, 39,000 young girls are married before they reach the age of majority; more than a third of them are younger than 15, according to the Council of Europe. We may be well into the 21st century but too many girls are still forced to live in a bygone age of male dominance. Human Rights Without Frontiers has just produced a report on women’s rights and the Abrahamic faiths o Christianity, Islam and Judaism.”

EU Reporter – https://bit.ly/2CTvNPh

Next Programme about North Korea (November) –

IF YOU WANT TO BE A PARTNER OF HUMAN RIGHTS WITHOUT FRONTIERS IN AN EU REPORTER TV PROGRAM OF YOUR CHOICE, SEND AN EMAIL TO

w.fautre@hrwf.org