Call for the release of all Ukrainians detained in the Russian Federation and in Crimea on “politically motivated charges”

Deeply concerned by reports that as many as 70 or more Ukrainian citizens widely considered to be political prisoners are still detained in Crimea or the Russian Federation on politically motivated or fabricated charges, the Assembly today called for their release “without further delay”.

The adopted resolution, based on the report prepared by Emanuelis Zingeris (Lithuania, EPP/CD), underlines that until their release, the Russian Federation should ensure full respect of their rights, including by respecting the prohibition on torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and ensuring the right of access to requisite medical assistance in order that health and well-being are adequately secured.

Citing the cases of Oleh Sentsov, Volodymyr Balukh and Pavlo Hryb in particular, “who meet the Assembly’s definition of political prisoners”, the parliamentarians said it was alarmed by reports concerning their conditions of detention. The Russian authorities, it said, should refrain from force-feeding Mr Sentsov, or any other of the detainees, “unless medically necessary in order to save his or their life”.

The adopted text calls to allow the monitoring of these detainees’ state of health and conditions of detention by “independent international monitors”, including the CPT and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and to allow Ukrainian officials, including the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, to visit them.

The parliamentarians called on the Russian Federation to abandon the policy of imposition of Russian citizenship on Ukrainian citizens living in Crimea who do not wish to acquire it and to lift the ban on the Mejlis, which is contrary to international standards of freedom of association. The persecution of the Crimean Tatar People and the persons who represent them, including lawyers and human rights defenders, should also stop.

The Assembly committed to further observe the human rights situation in occupied Crimea and to follow the situation of “Ukrainian citizens detained as political prisoners by the Russian Federation”.