Russia currently holds more than 100 Ukrainian civilians, including residents from the temporarily occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, without formal charges, says Olha Skrypnyk, head of the Crimean Human Rights Group.
The unlawful detention of over 100 Ukrainian civilians by Russia, without charges or legal representation, highlights a grave human rights violation. These individuals, many of whom were forcibly removed from occupied areas, are kept incommunicado, with no legal charges, inaccessible to lawyers, and often transferred between locations, with some even moved to Russia.
Skrypnyk highlights the challenges in identifying the exact number of detainees, noting that while it’s difficult to provide an exact figure, the number is definitely over 100.
The detainees include Spanish volunteer Mariano Garcia Calatayud, known as Mario, and the mayor of Hola Prystan, Oleksandr Babych, both currently held in Simferopol’s detention center. According to Skrypnyk, Russia’s illegal detention of civilians poses significant challenges in terms of their legal status and the process of their release.
Petro Yatsenko, spokesperson for the Coordination Staff for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, asserts that Russia has abducted thousands of Ukrainian civilians, often falsely presenting them as prisoners of war, complicating their return. He accuses Russia of attempting to charge these civilians with obstructing their so-called “special military operation,” despite lacking any legal grounds for their imprisonment.
Yatsenko also points out that Russia’s actions aim to inflict maximum suffering on the Ukrainian civilian population and discourage them from supporting their military. He mentions instances where Russian occupiers falsely claim to release civilians while continuing to hold them captive.
Recently, 230 Ukrainians were released from Russian captivity, marking the first exchange since August 2023.
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