Human rights defenders condemn imprisonment of Iryna Danylovych – we demand her release and urgent hospitalization!

3 / 07 / 2023

The human rights community of Ukraine expresses its indignation at the actions of the occupying power regarding the conviction of citizen journalist, human rights defender and activist Iryna Danylovych, as well as the failure to provide her with medical assistance, which could lead to fatal consequences. 

On June 29, 2022, Iryna Danylovych’s appeal was considered. As if mocking, the “panel of judges of the Supreme Court of Crimea” shortened the sentence by one month. Thus, Iryna Danylovych was sentenced to 6 years and 11 months in prison on trumped-up charges of “possession of explosives“. 

The “panel of judges” did not pay attention to the remarks of Danylovych’s lawyer that her defendant did not finish familiarizing herself with the case files due to the deterioration of her health, which significantly violates the right to defense

In addition, for all 14 months of her stay in Simferopol pre-trial detention center No.1, Danylovych has never received medical care prescribed by an independent doctor, which amounts to torture and inhumane treatment. The “administration” of the pre-trial detention center does not allow her to receive necessary medicines, and when Danylovych asks for access to a doctor, it replies: “You’d better cut your veins.” Once completely healthy, Danylovych lost hearing in her left ear, constantly experiences headaches, has problems with coordination of movements, and suspects that she suffered at least one microstroke in prison. 

Shortly, Iryna Danylovych will be illegally transferred outside Crimea – to the Russian Federation, completely isolated from her relatives and lawyers. At the same time, her health status and the need for immediate medical assistance will most likely not be taken into account when considering the transfer. 

As a reminder, Iryna Danylovych is a nurse and civil society activist from Feodosia (Crimea), she cooperated with the INzhyr media outlet and the human rights project “Crimean Process“. 

On April 29, 2022, FSB officers kidnapped Danylovych and held her incommunicado for 13 days. During the confinement, Danylovych experienced psychological pressure, received physical injuries, was tricked into signing blank papers, and was held in a cold cell. On December 28, 2022, the so-called “Feodosia Town Court” in the person of “judge” Nataliya Kulinskaya announced the sentence: seven years in prison and a fine of RUB 50,000 despite the many inconsistencies in the case, obvious violations, as well as the prohibition for the occupying power to use its criminal legislation in the occupied territory. 

This was already condemned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, PACE Rapporteur on Political Prisoners, EU Delegation to Ukraine,  United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Amnesty International, Front Line Defenders, Civil Rights Defenders, World Organisation Against Torture, Coalition For Women In Journalism, Reporters Without Borders, International Press Institute, Committee to Protect Journalists and others. 

The actions of the occupying power, the FSB, representatives of the “judicial authorities” and Simferopol pre-trial detention center No.1 violate the norms of international humanitarian law and human rights. 

Kidnapping, torture and psychological abuse, criminal prosecution for political reasons, violation of the right to defense are crimes deliberately committed by Vadim Bulgakov (head of the Federal Penitentiary Service of occupied Crimea), Viktor Kharchenko (acting head of Simferopol pre-trial detention center No.1), Oleg Kamshilov (“prosecutor” of Crimea), Pavel Pavlenko, Igor Tsarkov, Dmitriy Ignatiev (responsible for medical care), Andrey Kozar (chairman of the “Public Supervisory Commission” of Crimea), Larisa Opanasiuk (“Commissioner for Human Rights” in Crimea), and Nataliya Kulinskaya (“judge of the Feodosia Town Court”). 

We call on the Russian occupying power to: 

  • Release Iryna Danylovych and other political prisoners illegally detained in the territory of temporarily occupied Crimea 
  • Immediately provide qualified medical care and hospitalization to Iryna Danylovych and all (political) prisoners in need 
  • Stop applying the criminal legislation of the Russian Federation in the occupied territories 
  • End prosecution based on political views, religion, activism, and journalism 

We call on the Ukrainian authorities to: 

  • Put Iryna Danylovych on exchange lists and actively advocate for her release before Danylovych is transferred to the territory of the Russian Federation 
  • Develop an effective mechanism for the release of civilian hostages, including political prisoners held by Russia 
  • Keep the topic of political prisoners high on the agenda and advocate for their release 

We call on the international community to: 

  • Urge Russia to release Iryna Danylovych and provide her with qualified medical assistance, in particular by addressing this request to Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian Federation Tatiana Moskalkova (; 
  • Act as a mediator in the process of release/exchange of political prisoners 
  • Impose individual sanctions on the listed persons involved in the illegal imprisonment, politically motivated sentencing, and failure to provide medical assistance to Iryna Danylovych 
  • Support Ukraine in every possible way in the liberation of the temporarily occupied territories, in particular the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol

Human Rights Centre ZMINA 
Crimean Process 
Center for Civil Liberties 
Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin 
Crimean Human Rights Group 
Human Rights Center “Diia”
Center for Civic Education “Almenda”
Regional Center for Human Rights
Human Rights House Crimea
Media Initiative for Human Rights
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union


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