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Vladyslav Yesypenko's wife speaks about his wellbeing in a Russian prison

20.10.2023, 13:55
Photo by Marek Haiduk / Radio Liberty
Photo by Marek Haiduk / Radio Liberty

The wife of the Krym.Realii freelancer Vladyslav Yesypenko, who was convicted by Russia in Crimea, spoke about his wellbeing to RFE/RL.

"Vladyslav is currently in a colony in Crimea, he feels okay. He is generally a man of courageous character, he never complains. If he needs any medicine, we send it to him. He was only tortured right after his detention, since then Vladyslav has not really been subjected to any torture, though the moral pressure is always there," said the journalist's wife.

According to her, written communication with her husband is impossible, since there is no postal connection with the temporarily occupied Crimea, and they talk by phone once a month. Kateryna Yesypenko is currently contesting the ruling against her husband in a next instance court.

"We currently plan for a cassation case. We are working step by step. On average, each new instance takes half a year to review the case," Yesypenko said.

She joined a panel in Brussels where relatives of Crimean prisoners testified about their state and imprisonment conditions. The event was attended by diplomats and representatives of European institutions and organized by the human rights center ZMINA and the Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU.

"My husband, Radio Liberty journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko, worked in occupied Crimea, went there on a business trip from Radio Liberty to film reports on social and economic subjects. On March 10, 2021, right after filming an event commemorating the birthday of the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko in Simferopol, Vladyslav was detained by the FSB. For almost a month, we didn't know where Vladyslav was and whether he was alright," Yesypenko said.

According to Kateryna, her husband's lawyer, who was appointed on the spot, tried to "lure" her to Crimea in order to have additional leverage over the detainee.

"Vladyslav was tortured by FSB officers. They used electric shock, death threats, blackmail, they invited me and my child to come to Crimea for a date with my husband – we all realize for what purpose," Yesypenko said.

She called on those present to speak the names of Crimean prisoners on international platforms, and appealed to the representatives of Turkiye to help this country act as a mediator "in negotiating the return of civilian hostages to Ukrainian territory."

As IMI reported, on February 16, the russian-controlled Simferopol District Court sentenced Krym.Realii freelancer Vladyslav Yesypenko to six years in penal colony for alleged illegal storage and transportation of an explosive device.

Speaking in court on February 15, Yesypenko said the case was politically motivated.

On March 10, 2021, russian FSB officers detained "Radio Svoboda" freelancer journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko in the occupied Crimea. Yesypenko took part in a demonstration dedicated to Taras Shevchenko's birth anniversary, which took place in Simferopol on March 9. Vladyslav Yesypenko was charged with gathering information "in the interests of Ukraine's special services," including the Foreign Intelligence Service, the russian FSB's Public Relations Center reported. According to the FSB, Yesypenko "had been performing photo and video recording of the area, welfare facilities, and places of mass gatherings of people in the Crimea."

Vladyslav Yesypenko has stated that FSB investigators had tortured him in order to extract a confession from him.

In December 2022, the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol issued a suspicion notice to a Russian FSB operative who was involved in the torture and illegal imprisonment of Vladyslav Yesipenko. The actions of the suspect are classified as a violation of the laws and customs of war (Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

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