Almost 1,500 people convicted, subjected to forced labor by so-called 'LPR' courts since 2014
In the period from 2014 to the present time, the so-called courts of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic have convicted 1,437 people living on the territory of Luhansk region, which is not controlled by the government of Ukraine (ORLO), according to a report of the Eastern Human Rights Group.
"During the period from 2014 to the present, 1,437 persons living in ORLO were convicted by courts of the so-called 'LPR,' 90% of the convicts are citizens of Ukraine, who are convicted under the laws of the so-called 'LPR' and were sent to forced-labor camps, where they are subjected to forced labor, moreover, convicts do not have the right to a lawyer, fair and impartial trial," the human rights report said in Kyiv on Tuesday.
In the report, human rights activists draw attention to the fact that gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in places of deprivation of liberty controlled by the 'LPR' currently continue. In particular, prisoners have no right to qualified legal assistance and cannot appeal against a conviction.
Human rights activists also said that they have evidence that some convicts, who were sentenced by Ukrainian courts before 2014 or by the so-called 'LPR' courts and whose prison term has expired, have not been released.
"Prisoners serving their sentences in forced-labor camps of 'LPR' are forced to work in industrial zones of the camps. The refusal to work is impossible and can lead to beatings and torture of convicts," the report says.
Human rights activists note that prison conditions are inhuman, often no medical assistance is provided, no humanitarian aid comes in.
The report was prepared by the information and analytical group Eastern Human Rights Group. The report is based on the research carried out in ORLO from December 2016 to January 2018 through conducting interviews with relatives of prisoners, prisoners who are currently serving sentences in ORLO prisons, and prison staff. A total of 144 interviews with prisoners, 37 with relatives, 18 with employees of penitentiary institutions were conducted.