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Journalist Danilovych testifies that FSB officers beat and strangled her

01.12.2022, 10:19

During a hearing at the Russian-controlled Feodosia city court, citizen journalist Iryna Danilovych said that FSB officers had beaten and strangled her. She spoke about this on November 30, the Crimean Process reports.

At the hearing, a video from a surveillance camera was viewed, and the journalist was questioned.

According to the publication, the video shows a woman who looks like Iryna Danilovych being forcibly thrown into the passenger seat of a car by several people. One of them shows some ID badge to the taxi driver who witnessed the events; the man hurriedly drives away from the crime scene.

After watching the video, the Russian-appointed judge Natalia Kulinskaya considered a request for obtaining information about the occupation of witness Konstantin Vysokoglyad, who had previously testified as a "representative of the public" and claimed to be self-employed. However, it later turned out that he works for the occupation police and holds the position of the so-called deputy head of the migration desk at the Russian MIA's Bakhchisaray department.

The "judge" also considered the request to exclude some evidence as inadmissible – she decided to evaluate it in the advisory room.

After that, the defense filed for the disqualification of the "judge", seeing 10 instances of Natalia Kulinskaya's actions showing her interest in the case's outcome.

According to the publication, the defense argued for the disqualification based on ten instances of illegal or unfounded actions on the part of the occupation court. Namely, the defense pointed out illegal actions such as announcing testimonies from witnesses who were absent; refusal to question 15 witnesses of the defense; refusal to examine some physical evidence; the court's inaction in the case of a witness refusing to testify; refusal to examine the notes used while providing testimony; including uncertified documents in the case file at the prosecutor's request. The unfounded actions also included withdrawing some questions to a prosecution witness and the interest in the criminal record of a witness who spoke at the defense's request. After considering the request in the advisory room, the "judge" rejected it.

Then the occupation court proceeded to interrogate Iryna Danilovych. In her testimony, she reported that FSB officers abducted her at a bus stop in Koktebel in the morning of April 29. She noted that neither that day nor during the following week, no one had accused her of storing explosive devices — all this time she had been questioned about her ties with Ukrainian special services. According to her, the interrogations were accompanied by both psychological pressure and physical torture – she was beaten and strangled and the law enforcers refused to take her to the toilet.

All this time, she was kept in the basement of the building of the FSB's Main Directorate in Crimea in severe, unsanitary conditions. A week later, she was promised that she would be released if she said on video that she had no complaints against the law enforcers and signed some necessary papers. She tried to read the papers, but the employee involved in her abduction threatened to take her to the woods and kill her. Having no doubt that the threat was serious, she signed all the documents, including the blank forms. Then she was told that she had been arrested on suspicion of storing explosives.

The next meeting is scheduled for December 27. The occupation court has scheduled debates between the parties for this day, although the formal investigation has not yet been completed.

As IMI reported, on August 29, in the russian-controlled Feodosia city court, a trial on merits of the case of citizen journalist Iryna Danylovych, who is accused of illegally storing explosives in a glasses case, has begun. The FSB accuses her of making an explosive device from an explosive substance and striking elements (medical needles) and keeping it on her person.

Iryna Danilovych was detained on April 29 in the occupied Crimea. She was detained on her way from work on the road from Koktebel to Feodosia. Her house in Vladislavivka village was searched, her phone and laptop were seized.

In late July, Danilovych said that officers of the Federal Security Service of the russian federation (FSB) beat her and continue to pressure her.

Iryna Danilovych worked as a nurse, and was also a citizen journalist, covering the problems of the health care system in Crimea and sharing information about the war in Ukraine. Before the war, Danilovych cooperated with several media and human rights initiatives (InZhyr-Media, Crimean Trial) and ran her own project, Crimean Medicine Unwrapped, where she wrote about the rights of healthcare professionals.

On November 15, human rights and media organizations issued a statement about the politically motivated trial against citizen journalist Iryna Danilovych, which is ongoing in occupied Crimea.

On November 22, Iryna Danolovych's letter where she spoke about the icreasing pressure from the detention center's administration became public.

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