Ukraine to file new lawsuit against Russia over political prisoners

The Ministry of Justice will file a new lawsuit against Russia over Ukrainian political prisoners, stated Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Justice for European Integration Sergiy Petukhov during a broadcast of Channel 5.

"Next week we will file an interstate lawsuit against the Russian Federation over all of our political prisoners. Russia specifically targets people for their support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine, for their pro-Ukrainian views, by abducting them in Crimea or in the territory of the Russian Federation ", said the deputy minister.

He explained what this lawsuit will be submitted to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

"Often there is absolutely no reason to convict these people. They accuse our journalists or activists of terrorism or some other stupidity. By submitting this lawsuit to the European Court of Human Rights, we will draw attention to this category of people. There is already an awareness of Sentsov, Kolchenko, Sushchenko, and perhaps several more names, but there are few dozens of such people, and the attention of the Strasbourg court will at least ensure that they are kept in humane conditions, "the Ministry of Justice is convinced.

Petukhov is convinced that Russia is afraid of the international condemnation. International organizations' attention to the specific Ukrainian prisoners helps to improve their detention conditions and receive visitors.

"Also, it provides an opportunity for releasing them by the decision of the Strasbourg court ... We chose this way of action in order to draw attention to this category of people and thus, by a court decision, to pressure Russia with the demand to release them based on the groundlessness of their persecution, "said Petukhov.

In addition, he spoke about the already filed Ukraine’s lawsuit in the ECHR.

"The Ministry of Justice filed the first lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights before the so-called referendum and annexation of the Crimea. This lawsuit involved the complex violation of human rights in the Crimea, and we expect that at the end of this year or early next year Strasbourg will review this case. Unfortunately, international justice is a bit slower than the national one, “said Petukhov.

Currently, there are between 70 and 75 Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and the annexed Crimea.

On July 12, the representative of Ukraine in the Trilateral Group  and the First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Iryna Herashchenko, said that on July 25 Ukraine expects an official reply from the Russian Federation in regards the proposal to exchange 36 Russians for Ukrainian political prisoners.

  Ukraine, Oleh Sentsov, Kolchenko, Ministry of Justice, ECHR