UKRAINE: More than 3,500 Ukrainians illegally imprisoned in Donbas
By Kvitka Perehinets
Kyiv Post (09.07.2021) – https://bit.ly/3hwWQ5V – More than 3,500 Ukrainians are being held in more than 160 illegal prisons in the occupied parts of Donbas, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Emine Dzhaparova reported on July 9, citing the Prosecutor General’s Office.
She said that Ukrainians illegally detained in Donbas and Russia have endured torture and psychological pressure, which is just one facet of the crimes committed against Ukrainian citizens over nearly eight consecutive years.
Dzhaparova called for joint efforts to close all secret prisons in the occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, unimpeded access by human rights organizations to all places of detention and the ability to speak confidentially with all detainees.
She also remarked that even the UN Special Rapporteur on the Prevention of Torture, Nils Meltzer, was denied full access by Russian-sponsored occupation authorities to detention facilities in Donbas during his visit to Ukraine in 2018.
One of the best-known illegal prisons in occupied Donbas is Izoliatsiya: previously an art factory of the same name. It was seized by militants of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in June 2014 and turned into a prison.
According to the police, militants established a “torture base” on the territory of the former plant, where they forcibly detain civilians, captured service members of the Ukrainian armed forces and other units involved in the Joint Forces Operation fighting against the militants.
On July 7, the Prosecutor General’s Office had reported that the police had issued suspicion notices to two leaders and organizers of Izoliatsiya.
A total of 15 suspects have already been suspected of violating the laws and customs of war on the territory of Izoliatsiya. About 170 victims were identified.
Photo credits: AFP