Kiev insists on Russia's immediate release of Crimean political prisoner Afanasiev

Ukraine is deeply concerned about the continued torture of Gennadiy Afanasiev, an Ukrainian prisoner who is being illegally detained in Russia.  This alleged torture is conducted at the hands of the employees of the Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation.  A report by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine also mentioned Afanasiev’s inhumane treatment and the continuous violation of his rights.

“We demand that the Russian Federation respect the rights of the illegal prisoner and citizen of Ukraine, Gennadiy Afanasiev.  We also demand an immediate allowance for Ukrainian consular officials to visit Afanasiev, to release him as an illegal convict and to stop the persecution of his defenders,” the report stated.

Continued pressure from the Russian authorities has been placed on Afanasiev by detaining his Russian lawyer, Ernest Mezaka, on the 3rd of February.

“The cynicism of Russian authorities can also be seen in their refusal to allow Ukrainian consular officials to visit Afanasiev over the last two months.  This is despite repeated requests from Ukraine,” the Foreign Ministry stressed.

Kiev has urged the international community to condemn the “flagrant violations of the Russian Federation of international law and the international legal obligations in the sphere of ensuring the rights and freedoms of citizens.  These actions have become systematic in nature.  We need to pursue focused pressure on the Russian Federation to release the Ukrainian citizens who are political prisoners of the aggressive policy of the Kremlin.”

Gennady Afanasiev’s lawyer, Ernest Mezak, was detained in Syktyvkar in Russia on the 3rd of February due to the fact that he represented Afanasiev.

Gennady Afanasiev is the defendant in the criminal case against Ukrainian film director, Oleg Sentsov.  Sentsov was sentenced in Russia to 20 years in prison on charges of organizing a terrorist organization in Crimea.   Afanasyev confessed and testified against other defendants in the case.  However, at the trial of Sentsov and Crimean activist Oleksandr Kolchenko, he disputed his initial statements, declaring that he was tortured during the interrogation.  He said that the Crimean terrorist organization did not exist and there was therefore no participation of Sentsov in this alleged organization.

The “Memorial” human rights center has recognized Afanasyev, Sentsov and Kolchenko as political prisoners.

  Russia, Ukraine, political prisoners