11:30 31.08.2017

Ukraine must investigate kidnapping of 44 persons in annexed Crimea

Since Russia illegally annexed Crimea in early 2014 some 44 persons have been kidnapped on the peninsula, whereabouts of 18 of them are not known, the civil organization CrimeaSOS has said.

"There are currently 18 unsolved disappearances in Crimea. Most of them involve Crimean Tatars. There have been 44 kidnappings since Russian annexation," CrimeaSOS coordinator Tamila Tasheva said during a press conference at the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Wednesday.

CrimeaSOS said 17, of the 44 persons kidnapped? have been released, six were found dead, two found in prison and later convicted on trumped up charges. There whereabouts of 18 persons remain unknown.

Tasheva said most of the kidnappings took place in early 2014 and involved Crimean Tatars.

Head of the department for monitoring legal compliance in criminal cases and crime prevention for the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) of Ukraine Maksym Prokopov said 150 criminal investigations have been opened.

"Some 29 of the criminal investigations involve 38 persons, who we suspect were killed or went missing," he said, adding that the investigations are hampered by the fact that it is impossible to investigate the crimes on the peninsula.

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