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Address by the NGO “CrimeaSOS” to the Ukrainian authorities, Russian Federation, and the International Community Regarding the Illegal Detention of the Ukrainian Political Prisoners with Disability in the Occupied Crimea and Russia

3 / 12 / 2021

On December 3, the world marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.  

On this occasion, the CrimeaSOS team calls on the Ukrainian authorities, society, and the international community to pay attention to the Ukrainian political prisoners with disabilities who are illegally deprived of freedom by the Kremlin. 

Those persons are: 

Servet Haziev – a defendant in the 2nd Simferopol “Hizb ut-Tahrir case,” disabled person of group 2, who has renal impairment and coronary heart disease. In the summer of 2021, Servet Haziev had a micro stroke. In September, he was severely beaten by employees of the prison hospital. Haziev has been imprisoned since March 27, 2019. He is facing a punishment of up to 20 years in prison under fabricated charges.  

Dzhemil Hafarov –  a defendant in the 2nd Simferopol “Hizb ut-Tahrir case,” disabled person of group 2. Before his imprisonment, he had a chronic renal impairment of 4th degree and related heart problems. In 2017 he suffered from acute myocardial infarction, further complicated by an aneurism. He also had a heart attack while being imprisoned. Hafarov has been imprisoned since March 27, 2019. He is facing a punishment of up to 20 years in prison under fabricated charges. 

Oleksandr Sizikov – defendant in the 4th Bakhchisaray “Hizb ut-Tahrir case”. He has the status of disabled person of group 1. He completely lost his vision in 2009. On July 7, 2020, his house was searched, Sizikov was detained. He currently stays under home arrest. 

Zekirya Muratov – defendant in the 4th Bakhchisaray “Hizb ut-Tahrir case”. He has the status of disabled person of group 3. Muratov suffers from problems with the locomotor system. He also has chronic hypertension and chronic cardia angina. He has been imprisoned since July 7, 2020. He is facing a punishment of up to 20 years in prison under fabricated charges. 

Amet Suleimanov – defendant in the 3rd Bakhchisaray “Hizb ut-Tahrir case,” sentenced to 12 years in prison. In 2007 he was diagnosed with arterial insufficiency and mitral valve insufficiency. He received the status of disabled person of group 3. Every year he went through treatment and therapy. In 2015 the occupying authorities deprived him of his status as a disabled person. 

Tymur Yalkabov – defendant in the 3rd Bakhchisaray “Hizb ut-Tahrir case. He suffers from chronic bronchial asthma. Because of that, he has the status of disabled person of group 3. Yalkabov complaints that due to physical activity in prison, he suffers from suffocation attacks. He also has severe pain in his kidneys. After he was put into the Detention Center, he suffered from an allergy. Tymur Yalkabov has been imprisoned since February 17, 2021. He is facing a punishment of up to 20 years in prison or even a life sentence under fabricated charges. 

According to international law (https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/635981), Russia as an occupying power has to provide special conditions for prisoners with disabilities. Keeping those people in prison without providing them with the necessary medical help equals torture. 

Despite this, Russian authorities keep prisoners with disabilities in inhumane conditions of the Russian penitentiary system and abuse their rights. 

It is also necessary to note that incarceration conditions in the Russian penitentiary system worsened the health of almost every Ukrainian political prisoner, which in fact, turned them into people with disabilities. 

We are especially concerned about the health of: 

Ivan Yatskin – who was sentenced to 11 years in a high-security penal colony for an alleged “high treason.” He might have his legs amputated due to the frost-bite that he received while imprisoned; 

Oleh Prykhodko – who was sentenced to 5 years in a high-security penal colony for an alleged “preparation for a terrorist attack.” While in prison, he began suffering from a severe loss of hearing and vision. In addition, he suffers from chronic problems with the digestive system; 

Teimur Abdullaev – defendant in the Simferopol “Hizb ut-Tahrir case,” sentenced to 16.5 years in prison. Russian authorities keep him in punitive confinement of the Bashkiria penal colony #2, Salavat. He has been in punitive confinement since March 2020 (with small breaks). Such inhumane incarceration conditions had a negative impact on his health. 

CrimeaSOS strongly condemns the illegal deprivation of freedom and inhumane treatment of Ukrainian political prisoners by the Russian authorities. We demand that the Russian government: 

  • Immediately releases all Ukrainian political prisoners; 
  • Provides adequate medical help to all Ukrainian political prisoners who need it due to the health condition or status of a person with disabilities; 
  • Provides adequate sanitary and safe incarceration conditions in penitentiary institutions which for various reasons hold Ukrainian citizens; 
  • Brings to justice all employees of the Russian sentence-implementation service, FSB and other state institutions, representatives of occupying administrations who were directly involved in tortures, and inhumane treatment of Ukrainian political prisoners; 
  • Stops the illegal implementation of Russian criminal legislation on the occupied territory and strictly obeys all responsibilities under the international humanitarian law; 
  • Assures fair trial in all criminal investigations against Ukrainian citizens for various reasons and follows the international human rights law and international humanitarian law; 
  • Provides access to the occupied Crimea for the international monitoring missions of the UN, OSCE, and the Council of Europe. 

We call on the international organizations and governments of all countries to: 

  • Condemn the inhumane treatment of Ukrainian political prisoners, conducted by Russia; 
  • Condemn the political persecution of activists in Crimea, conducted by Russia; 
  • Continue putting pressure on the Russian government in order to free all political prisoners, stop the persecution of representatives of Crimean Tatar people and pro-Ukrainian activists; 
  • Enforce sanctions against Russia for the systematic gross violations of human rights, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, conducted in the occupied Crimea. 

We address the president of Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Ministry for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, Office of the Prosecutor of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol and demand: 

  • Investigation of facts of inhumane treatment of the Ukrainian political prisoners by Russia, in particular of those who have disabilities; 
  • Development and approval of the necessary complex legislation that would protect and provide state support to persons who suffer from illegal deprivation of freedom and from political persecutions by the occupying authorities of Crimea and Russia; 
  • Assurance of adequate work of the Department of Supervision over the criminal investigation of crimes conducted during the armed conflict at the Office of Prosecutor General and to enforce the effectiveness of its work. 

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