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Ukrainian Political Prisoners in Russia: Case of N.Savchenko
03 August 2015 08:38

Lately we sight a growing number of cases of groundless detention of Ukrainian citizens in Russian territory, accompanied by the lack of human treatment by the Russian law-enforcement institutions, repugnant human dignity treatment, acts of physical force and psychological impact including tortures.

Such cases along with numerous facts of the failure by the Russian side to notify the Consul of Ukraine about the detention of Ukrainians and to ensure their rights to meet with a consular officer, crudely violate international laws on human rights and freedoms, as well as international legal obligations undertaken by Russia under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 and the Consular Convention between Ukraine and the Russian Federation of 1994.

 

Reference: Article 13 of the Consular Convention between Ukraine and the Russian Federation states:

1. Competent authorities of receiving state are committed to notify within a three-day period a consular officer of accreditation state about the detention or any other restrictions of freedoms of citizens of accreditation state.

2. Competent authorities of receiving state immediately notify, but not later than a four-day period from the date of the detention or any other freedom restrictions of the citizens of the accreditation state, committed to provide with a right to visit such citizen including the provision of legal assistance for him.

 

In particular, we would like to draw the attention to the case of Nadiya Savchenko -   who had been abducted from Ukraine and illegally detained in Russia. For over one year now the Russian law enforcement authorities have failed to present any credible evidence of her guilt as she has been detained on trumped-up charges. Instead of releasing Nadiya Savchenko in view of irrefutable evidence of her innocence presented to the court and prosecution, the Russian side continues to illegally keep Ms. Savchenko behind the bars. Such actions by the Russian Federation ignore the commitments which it has undertaken by signing the “Package of measures” in Minsk on 12 February 2015, which envisage the release of  all hostages and illegally detained persons based on the principle “all for all”. We view as unacceptable that Russia, contrary to its international obligations, continues to ignore that Ms. Savchenko, people’s deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, enjoys diplomatic immunity granted by her status of a PACE member. According to the Opinion of the Assembly’s Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs, she should not have been subject to any detention or prosecution measures from the moment her credentials were confirmed in January of 2015. The Russian Federation blatantly disregarded over 125 diplomatic notes, numerous and consistent calls by the Ukrainian authorities and international community, civil society and human rights institutions.

 

Reference: On Dec. 26th 2014 during early elections to the Parliament of Ukraine N.Savchenko was elected a deputy of the Political Party “Batkivshchyna”. On December 27th N.Savchenko gained authority of the deputy of Ukraine of the VIII convocation, in December 2014 was elected as a member of Ukrainian delegation to PACE.

On January 26th 2015 PACE affirmed her mandate as a member of PACE, on January 28th 2015 PACE adopted resolution which calls Russian officials to release N.Savchenko during 24 hour period and provide her with safe return to the homeland or transfer to a third state.

 

 

We are deeply concerned following the latest developments on N.Savchenko’s case, in particular, regarding the indictment of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, by changing the charges from abetting the killing of two Russian journalists, to actual murder. As well we are concerned with the final theory of the Russian prosecution and its decision to transfer the criminal case against N.Savchenko to the Donetsk city court of Rostov oblast of Russia for trial on the merits.

 

Reference: On July 6th 2015 Russian investigation authorities announced the completion of the investigation carried out by its Department for investigating crimes linked with the use of prohibited weapons and methods of warfare. Afterwards the materials of the case were passed to the Prosecutor General’s office of the Russian Federation for its further affirmation.

On July 13th 2015 Prosecutor General’s office of the Russian Federation issued a notice of approval of the indictment in a criminal case against N.Savchenko according to which she is accused of committing crimes stipulated in Article 105, Clause 2 (murder) and Article 30, Clause 3 (attempt to murder) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

 

At this moment N.Savchenko was placed in a pretrial facility of the city Novocherkask, Rostov oblast. According to lawyers of N.Savchenko, such decision of the Russian authorities significantly complicates the work of her defense team and hides the hearing further away from the public, in order to observe and facilitate transparent trials.

On July 30th, 2015 Donetsk city court will hold a hearing in N.Savcneko’s case  behind the closed doors.  

 

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