A marathon of writing letters to political prisoners took place in the British Embassy

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A marathon of writing letters to the prisoners of Kremlin took place in the British Ambassador’s to Ukraine residence on February, 28th. Representatives of embassies and international organizations got a chance to learn more about Ukrainian political prisoners, who remain detained in Russia and in Crimea from human rights defenders and family members of the prisoners. The participants of the meeting also had an opportunity to write letters to the political prisoners and in that way to demonstrate support as well as to let the political prisoners know that they are not forgotten by the international community.

Participants where addressed by the following speakers: journalist of Ukrinform and a former political prisoner Roman Sushchenko, Mumine Salieva — activist of “Crimean Solidarity” and wife of the political prisoner Seyran Saliev, human rights defenders Oleksandra Romantsova, Roman Hromyk, Ihor Kotelianets as well as the Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the AR of Crimea Anton Korynevych. Among other participants were the former political prisoners Oleksandr Kolchenko, Ismail Ramazanov, Oleksiy Syzonovych, Mykola Karpiuk, relatives of political prisoners and hostages, detained in Crimea, Donbas as well as in Russia.

The meeting’s opening speech was provided by the Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Kyiv Ms. Helen Fazey, who pointed out that one of the ways the international community can help the political prisoners is to continue pressuring Russia and to keep on monitoring the politically motivated cases.

Mumine Salieva stated that more than 60 Crimean Tatars are detained in politically motivated cases as of today: “It is crucial to feel the pain of the families, that often have to travel 700 km to see their relatives; the pain of wives, who are denied meetings with their husbands for years; pain of situations when attorneys cry with tears together with the wives.”

She has also stressed that 207 children have their fathers detained in politically motivated cases. 10 of these children were born after their fathers’ arrests and thus have never seen their fathers. “They were unjustly robbed of their childhood. The years are passing and this time will never be given back to the children.” – said Mumine Salieva.

Mumine has added that support of international community and of media is very important to the political prisoners. “Crimean Tatars in Crimea did not get tired of resisting in these last six years. They did not accept the injustice and believe that the victory will inevitably come.” – the activist concluded.

Nearly one hundred letters of solidarity and support were written to the political prisoners during the marathon by diplomats, representatives of embassies and international organizations, former political prisoners and relatives of those who remain behind the bars as the result of Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine.

The postcards on which the letters were written are special as they feature art, painted by a political prisoner Viktor Shur, who had been sentenced to 12 years of prison by Russia in a fabricated case. Viktor Shur has been detained since 2014.

The event was organized by the Embassy of Great Britain in Ukraine in cooperation with the human rights organizations: Center for Civil Liberties, Human Rights Center ZMINA and Union of Relatives of Kremlin’s Political Prisoners.