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Human rights activists name 22 Russian criminals withholding medical aid from Ukrainian prisoners

02.10.2023, 15:49
Photo: ZMINA
Photo: ZMINA

Human rights activists named 22 officials of the Crimean occupation authorities who refuse to treat Crimean political prisoners. The inaction of some of those resulted in the death of Cemil Gafarov and Kostyantyn Shiring, who passed away in custody.

This was announced by the ZMINA Human Rights Center and the Crimean Human Rights Group at a press conference in Kyiv on October 2.

The human rights activists presented a list of Russian criminals who should be included in the sanctions lists for violating the rights of political prisoners.

"In the report, we sorted the offending officials into categories: judges, prosecutors, commissioners, heads of prisons and medical institutions subject to the Russian FPS. We singled out 22 officials who neglect the health of political prisoners and do not provide them with treatment," said ZMINA project manager, Viktoria Nesterenko.

According to her, in early 2023, two Ukrainian political prisoners – Cemil Gafarov and Kostyantyn Shiring – died in Russian custody due to lack of medical care. They had complex chronic diseases, their health gradually deteriorated at the pre-trial detention center, but the administration consistently refused to admit them to a hospital and barred them from receiving medication. The officials complicit in their death did not bear any responsibility for it.

Currently, there are 21 political prisoners in Russian captivity whose health condition is critical. They require immediate medical examination, qualified medical aid, and in some cases, surgical intervention.

The human rights activists stressed that failing to provide medical care to people in places of detention can be equated to torture. Moreover, the prisoners are kept in terrible conditions which exacerbate their chronic diseases.

"The Russian authorities not only let the officials and security officers who deliberately refuse medical care to sick political prisoners off the hook, but they also do everything to conceal these persons' crimes. Impunity and inaction contribute to more and more new crimes," noted Iryna Sedova, a researcher at the Crimean Human Rights Group.

The researcher named several people who were personally involved in the deaths of political prisoners:

1. Pavel Vladimirovich Pavlenko, head of the "Federal Public Healthcare Institution 'Medical-Sanitary unit No. 91'" under the Federal Penitentiary Service (Simferopol)". The human rights activists have evidence of his neglectful conduct in the case of Cemil Gafarov.

2. Natalia Ivanovna Bernhardt, major of the Russian internal service. Complicit in the non-provision of medical aid to the Crimean political prisoner Volodymyr Dudka when he was under investigation at the Simferopol pre-trial detention center.

3. Sergei Vladimirovich Berezhnoy, head of the Simferopol PTDC-1. Cemil Gafarov, Oleh Prykhodko, Halyna Dovhopola, Iryna Danylovych, Amet Suleymanov and other Crimean political prisoners can be considered victims of improper detention conditions in the PTDC-1.

The human rights activists will pass the data and evidence on all the criminals to the authorities so that a case may be opened against them and sanctions may be introduced. Moreover, this list will be handed over to the representatives of the EU and the USA for these persons to be included in the international sanctions lists.

"We appeal to the representatives of the Ukrainian authorities to do everything in their power to see these criminals included in the international sanctions lists, so that they cannot escape punishment," Iryna Sedova urged.

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