Human rights activists condemn verdict of Crimean activist Prykhodko, announce continuation of persecution of pro-Ukrainian activists in occupied peninsula
Representatives of Ukrainian human rights organizations have condemned the sentencing of Crimean activist Oleh Prykhodko, who was sentenced on March 3 by the Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don (Russia) to five years in prison and a fine of RUB 110,000 for allegedly preparing a terrorist attack.
"A citizen of Ukraine Oleh Prykhodko was convicted in a fabricated case, accused of possessing explosives and preparing a terrorist attack, but actual evidence of the commission of a 'crime' was never presented by the investigation, which is consistent with the FSB's practice of prosecuting Crimeans for political reasons," the organizations said in a statement on Facebook on Thursday.
Human rights activists said the real reason for the persecution of a Ukrainian is his public disagreement with the occupation of Crimea, which he repeatedly expressed both in the media and in communication with representatives of the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea. In addition, Prykhodko took part in the Euromaidan and after the occupation of the peninsula in 2014 hung the Ukrainian flag in the courtyard of his house.
Prykhodko's detention was preceded by a search in his house, during which Ukrainian symbols, flags of the Svoboda party, red and black flags, a portrait of Stepan Bandera, and the like were seized from him.
"The verdict to Oleh Prykhodko indicates that the Russian Federation continues the practice of persecuting Ukrainian citizens who, while living in Crimea, oppose the Russian occupation and defend the peninsula as part of Ukraine," the Human rights activists said.
They also put forward a number of demands to Russia, in particular, to immediately release Oleh Prykhodko and all political prisoners held in places of detention in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol or Russia; stop persecuting Crimeans for disagreeing with the occupation and expressing their views; immediately stop using the so-called anti-terrorist and anti-extremist legislation of Russia in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
In addition, human rights activists call on international organizations to intervene in the situation, increasing the sanctions pressure on Russia and condemning the political persecution on the peninsula.
"We call on international organizations and governments of democratic states: to condemn the actions of Russia in the political persecution of Ukrainian activists in the occupied Crimea; to increase pressure on the Russian government to secure the release of all political prisoners, and to stop the persecution of Ukrainian citizens in the occupied Crimea; to strengthen sectoral sanctions against the Russian Federation for systematic gross violations of human rights, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the occupied Crimea [...]," the organizations said in the statement.
It also contains an appeal to the Ukrainian authorities with a call to ensure an effective investigation of the facts of illegal imprisonment and persecution of Prykhodko and all facts of gross violations of fundamental human rights in the temporarily occupied Crimea, as well as to adopt several bills to provide protection and state support to persons who were illegally deprived of their liberty as a result of the aggression of the Russian Federation, as well as the harmonization of criminal legislation with the provisions of international law and introduce responsibility for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the occupied territories of Ukraine.
The statement was joined by the Crimean Human Rights Group, the ZMINA Human Rights Center, the Association of Relatives of Kremlin Prisoners, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, the Almenda Civic Education Center, Kharkiv Human Rights Group and a number of others.