Amnesty International documents Russia unlawfully transferring people during "filtration"
In its report "Like a Prison Convoy", international human rights organization Amnesty International has documented cases of unlawful deportation and violence against Ukrainian civilians undergoing Russian "filtration". This is stated in the organization's report.
The report is based on interviews with 88 people, the vast majority of whom are civilians who had fled the Russian-occupied territory of Ukraine.
"This report documents how Russian and Russian-controlled forces gave many civilians in Ukraine no choice but to be transported to Russia or Russian-occupied areas in Ukraine. In some cases, children, people with disabilities and older people who had already reached areas of relative safety and were planning to travel on to Ukrainian government-controlled areas were sought out and rerouted to Russian-occupied areas of Donetsk. Particularly in the case of Mariupol, these actions on the part of Russian and Russian-controlled forces constitute the war crime of unlawful deportation or transfer and may amount to the crime against humanity of deportation or forcible transfer. This report also documents how Ukrainian civilians were forced to pass through an abusive screening process, known as 'filtration', which sometimes resulted in their arbitrary detention as well as torture and other ill-treatment," says Amnesty International.
For instance, the human rights organization cites the story of Maksym, a 28-year-old former Ukrainian police officer, who fled Mariupol on 25 March to Volodarske in occupied Donetsk region.
"'DNR' authorities held him and his girlfriend in a school as they awaited filtration. On 29 March, 'DNR' officials took Maksym to a local police station, where he was questioned at length about his past as a police officer and about the Ukrainian military. He told Amnesty International he was beaten repeatedly: “[A man in uniform] hit me with the baton on my legs. He started shouting, ‘Come on, fast, tell me everything’, and hit me on my shoulder. And then once again to my back… He put a white bag on my head and covered the air entry… One [of the men] said, ‘Let’s bring him to a field and then kill him.’” Maksym was released and transferred to Russia. When trying to leave Russia for Estonia, he was stopped twice at the border, interrogated for seven hours and told to return to Russia and apply for citizenship. Eventually, he managed to leave the country via Belarus," says the human rights organization.
According to Amnesty, once in Russia, people from Ukraine have had almost no formal support to enable them to leave the country. In most cases where they have been able to leave, they received funds and logistical support from volunteers. Several people described subtle or explicit pressure by those running government shelters to apply for Russian citizenship, or said their movements were restricted.
We remind that on August 4, human rights organization Amnesty International published a report stating that the Ukrainian military was endangering the civilian population by creating bases and placing weapons in residential areas, namely in schools and hospitals, while resisting the russian invasion.
Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Malyar stated that this AI survey did not take the fact of the russian aggression, the timeline of events, and the context of Ukraine defending its statehood into account, and also distorted the real picture of the international crime of aggression that russia has been committing since 2014.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Amnesty's report was trying to "grant amnesty to the terrorist state and shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim."
Later, Amnesty International apologized for the "distress and anger" caused by their statement, but stood by their words.
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