Czech deputies urge Kremlin to release 13 Ukrainians illegally detained in Russia

A postcard showing 13 of the 21 Ukrainian hostages of the Kremlin are illegally imprisoned in Russia. To write them a letter, visit bit.ly/LMPG_cards

A postcard showing 13 of the 21 Ukrainian hostages of the Kremlin are illegally imprisoned in Russia. To write them a letter, visit bit.ly/LMPG_cards 

2016/02/15 • News

As reported by activists from the human rights campaign #LetMyPeopleGo, a letter has been sent to Russian authorities by 23 members of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.  The letter calls for the release of 13 Ukrainians who have been detained illegally in Russia.

This appeal was initiated by Marek Ženìška, a Deputy from the party of TOP09.

According to the same source, the letter stated,”On behalf of the members of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, please release Nadнia Savchenko, Oleп Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Oleksiy Chyrniy, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Victor Shur, Yuri Soloshenko, Gennadiy Afanasyev, Oleksandr Kostenko, Hajser Dzhemilev, Valentin Vyhivskyi, and Serhiy Lytvynov, who currently are being held illegally in the territory of the Russian Federation.”

The letter insists that “the prisoners should be freed according to the principles of the Mìnsk agreement, signed by Ukraine and Russia on February 12, 2015.”  The letter further expresses confidence that “ways exist for releasing these Ukrainian citizens and absolving from them Russian accusations.”

It is worth noting that this letter, for the first time at the international level, contains a complete list of Ukrainians held in Russia who are considered to be de facto hostages.

The letter was sent to the administration of the President of the Russian Federation, the President’s Adviser on human rights, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the head of an investigative committee, the head of the State Duma, the Attorney General, the Commissioner of Human Rights, as well as the Director of the FSB.

It is important to emphasize that the MPs in their letter state that “the circumstances of detention, the charges and the trials raise a number of questions.”  In their view, this situation causes damage to the Russian Federation and its interests within the country and abroad, aggravates the mistrust of neighboring countries and negatively affects relations with the European Union.  The politicians also noted their concern over tension on both sides of the conflict and the resulting harm to innocent civilians.”  This tension affects the lives of ordinary people who become victims of pressure, intimidation, political persecution and violence.  In many cases, it is ordinary people who are affected most, even though this is a conflict they did not start and cannot be held responsible for.”

The letter was first made public during a press-conference dedicated to the presentation of evidence of torture used against Mykola Karpuk and Stanìslav Kllyh.  The letter emphasized that this situation “puts security in Europe under a serious threat” and implores recourse to the Minsk Agreement.  According to the Deputies, the release of the Ukrainian prisoners would favorably influence relations between Ukraine, the EU and the Russian Federation.

“This step would certainly be perceived as a gesture of goodwill that could contribute to the gradual improvement of relations between the two countries, as well as with the European Union.”

About LetMyPeopleGo:

The campaign LetMyPeopleGo was initiated by Euromaidan SOS to protect all those Ukrainians who have been imprisoned for political reasons, including Ukrainian citizens in Russia and in occupied Crimea.  The campaign’s objectives are the liberation of all people on the LetMyPeopleGo list, as well as monitoring compliance with the fundamental human rights of these political hostages, including freedom from torture, the right to free access to legal services, medical care, etc.  The campaign is supported by a number of organizations in Ukraine and abroad, including the Center of Civil Liberties, People in Need, the foundation ‘Open Dialogue,’ Euromaidan Press, Êvromajdan-Warsaw, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, and the Kharkiv human rights protection group, as well as the Human Rights Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.  Currently, the campaign is most concerned with the fate of these 13 prisoners in Russian territory and eight prisoners in occupied Crimea.  Follow the course of the campaign on its Facebook page.

Translated by: Natalia Fursova

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  • Lev Havryliv

    A fine example of European solidarity.

    Kudos to the Czech deputies.

  • Czech Mate

    In my view it took our politicians too long to make a stand but at least something has been done. But still, too few, too little for my liking…

    Considering how many Ukrainians live here and our own experience of Russia’s love. Considering that country who wanted to be part of our European family has been cowardly attacked and raped by her “brother”. The tragedy and suffering right in front of our very eyes.

    I admire both Savchenkos, well actually all three of them. The way Vira had been travelling around the globe relentlessly for her sister is deserving the highest respect.