18:11 20.07.2018

Denisova asks Russia to explain why passports of Ukrainian fishermen seized, their movement restricted

2 min read
Denisova asks Russia to explain why passports of Ukrainian fishermen seized, their movement restricted

Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova has said that Russian law enforcement officers forcibly hold Ukrainian citizens, crewmembers of the YaMK-0041 fishing vessel, who are witnesses in a criminal case against the ship's captain, Viktor Novitsky, so she requested explanations from representatives of the Russian authorities.

She said on her Facebook page on Friday that the ship's captain was accused of illegal fishing and that the crewmembers who are witnesses "cannot return home."

"Passports were seized from them, and they are constantly subject to psychological pressure from Russian law enforcement agencies," the Ukrainian ombudsman wrote.

In this regard, Denisova said that she had asked Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, Director of the Russian Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov and Russian presidential adviser and Chairman of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov to provide information on what grounds the freedom of movement of the crewmembers was restricted and why they had their passports withdrawn.

As reported, on May 4, 2018, the Russian side detained the YaMK-0041 fishing vessel with Ukrainian sailors on board.

On May 16, the Russian Federal Security Service said that a criminal case had been opened against Viktor Novitsky, captain of the YaMK-0041 vessel, under Part 3, Article 256 of the Russian Criminal Code (illegal fishing). The vessel was seized.

"As a result of the measures taken against members of the crew of the fishing vessel YaMK-0041 detained on May 4, it was established that the Ukrainian seamen on the eve of the detention in the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation had set up networks for catching flounder. Fishing for flounder from mid-April to mid-June this year in the Black Sea water area was prohibited," the report says.

Crimean "ombudsman" Lyudmila Lubina sent a letter to Russian human rights commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova proposing to consider exchanging the Ukrainian seamen detained in Crimea for Russian citizens detained in Ukraine.

On July 16, Denisova appealed to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko with the request to consider exchanging the crewmembers of the Nord seiner detained by the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service for the crewmembers of the YaMK-0041 ship.

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