Statement by human rights organizations regarding the death of Ukrainian prisoners of the Kremlin Kostiantyn Shyring and Dzhemil Hafarov in Russian prisons
On February 7, 2023, it became known about the death of the citizen of Ukraine Kostiantyn Shyring who was detained in the occupied Crimea and illegally deprived of his freedom by the Russian Federation in 2020 due to accusations of participation in the activities of the “Ukrainian intelligence and sabotage group”. On February 10, 2023, it became known about the death of 60-year-old Dzhemil Hafarov in Novocherkassk pre-trial detention centre. Dzhemil Hafarov was illegally detained during the largest wave of searches in Crimea on March 27, 2019 and accused of allegedly participating in the activities of a terrorist organization.
Kostiantyn Shyring had cardiovascular diseases and had to take prescribed medication, which was known to the colony’s administration. Thus, during Shyring’s stay in the pre-trial detention centre, before he was sentenced, his lawyer reported that Kostiantyn was not provided with any medical care in the first few months of detention. Subsequently, the administration of the detention centre kept Shyring in cold and damp cells.
In October 2021, the “court” of the occupation administration of the Russian Federation in Crimea sentenced Kostiantyn Shyring to 12 years in prison for alleged espionage. The sentence was announced by Alla Khinevych, a former judge of Ukraine, who knowingly took a position in illegally created “courts” after the occupation of Crimea. He was transferred to serve his sentence outside the occupied territory, namely, to the colony #5 in the city of Novotroitsk in the Orenburg region of the Russian Federation. Forcible transfer of civilians from the occupied territory, including prisoners, is a war crime of the Russian Federation. After arriving at the colony, the administration took away all the medicines from Shyring and even the tonometer. Surgeries on the heart and joints were not performed, despite the vital necessity.
As of now, the administration of colony #5 has not officially announced the death of Kostiantyn Shyring, but has informed relatives about it.
At the time of imprisonment, Dzhemil Hafarov had the 3rd group of disabilities due to heart and kidney diseases. He had chronic kidney failure and needed dialysis. Despite this, he was refused a relaxation of the preventive measure. Due to the neglect of his health condition and non-provision of medical care, Hafarov suffered a heart attack in the pre-trial detention centre, as a result of which he received the 2nd group of disability. Despite this, in January 2023, the judge of the Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don (Russian Federation) Valery Opanasenko sentenced Dzhemil Hafarov to 13 years in prison.
According to Art. 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Art. 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. International law allows no derogation from this prohibition under any circumstances, including war or occupation.
According to Art. 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
The practice of not providing proper medical care to citizens of Ukraine deprived of their freedom by the Russian Federation for political reasons and keeping them in inadequate conditions has been systematic since the beginning of the occupation of Crimea in 2014. This creates irreparable damage to health and threatens life.
In addition, the Russian Federation, as a state that occupied part of the territory of Ukraine and is a party to an international armed conflict, defiantly ignores provisions of international humanitarian law, including the prohibition of torture and inhumane treatment (Art. 32, Art. 147 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Art. 75 (2) of the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts).
According to Art. 32 of the Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, the High Contracting Parties specifically agree that each of them is prohibited from taking any measure of such a character as to cause the physical suffering or extermination of protected persons in their hands. This prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishment, mutilation and medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment of a protected person but also to any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents.
By deliberately not providing medical care to Kostiantyn Shyring and Dzhemil Hafarov – civilians who were under the protection of the Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, the Russian Federation violated its obligations under international law, and the relevant officials of the occupation administration of Crimea and the Russian Federation committed a crime provided by Art. 438 (Violation of laws and customs of war) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, as well as Art. 8(2)(a)(ii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
We, the representatives of human rights organizations, condemn the criminal actions of representatives of the occupation administration of Crimea and the authorities of the Russian Federation and demand:
– immediate provision of official information about the death of the citizen of Ukraine Kostiantyn Shyring and its causes;
– effective and impartial investigation into the circumstances of the death of Kostiantyn Shyring and Dzhemil Hafarov;
– immediate release of all political prisoners and civilian hostages held in places of detention in the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, other occupied territories of Ukraine or the territory of the Russian Federation;
– cessation of the persecution of Crimeans for disagreeing with the occupation, expressing their views, religion and other non-violent activities;
– immediate cessation of the application of the criminal legislation of the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine in accordance with the provisions of international humanitarian law.
We call on the competent bodies of the state authorities of Ukraine to take the following measures:
– ensure an effective investigation and documentation of the circumstances of the deaths of Kostiantyn Shyring and Dzhemil Hafarov and take all possible measures to bring the guilty parties to justice;
– introduce personal sanctions against persons – citizens of the Russian Federation, involved in the illegal imprisonment and death of Kostiantyn Shyring and Dzhemil Hafarov;
– ensure an effective investigation of facts of illegal deprivation of liberty and other gross violations of fundamental human rights in the temporarily occupied Crimea;
– provide timely information on gross violations of human rights in the occupied Crimea at the national and international levels.
We address to the governments of foreign states and international organizations, in particular the participants of the International Crimean Platform to take the following measures:
– hold international consultations to find mechanisms for the release of illegally imprisoned persons and monitor their state of health on the territory of the Russian Federation;
– contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the colony with official letters regarding the circumstances of the death of Kostiantyn Shyring and Dzhemil Hafarov;
– introduce personal sanctions against persons involved in the illegal imprisonment and death of Kostiantyn Shyring and Dzhemil Hafarov, in particular the administration of colony #5 in the city of Novotroitsk in the Orenburg region of the Russian Federation and pre-trial detention centre #3 in the city of Novocherkassk in the Rostov region of the Russian Federation, judges, investigators, prosecutors, etc.;
– increase diplomatic, sanction and other types of pressure on the Russian Federation with the aim of preventing new atrocities in the occupied Crimea and other occupied territories of Ukraine, as well as speeding up the de-occupation of all territories of Ukraine;
– provide assistance to the government of Ukraine in the investigation of war crimes, crimes against humanity and gross violations of human rights in the occupied Crimea and other occupied territories;
– make maximum use of the International Crimean Platform, the mechanisms of the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and other international organizations in order to speed up the release of Crimean political prisoners, civilian hostages in the occupied territories, to effectively respond to human rights violations in the occupied Crimea and to promote the de-occupation of all territories of Ukraine;
– increase further comprehensive (including military) support for Ukraine with the aim of deoccupying all territories of Ukraine, including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, as a necessary condition for the protection of human rights and the cessation of politically motivated persecution of Ukrainian citizens.
Crimean Human Rights Group
Human Rights Centre ZMINA
Media Initiative for Human Rights
Center for Civil Liberties
Diya Human Rights Center
The Center for Civic Education “Almenda”
Regional Center for Human Rights
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Human Rights House Crimea
Foundation for the Support of Fundamental Research
Association of Relatives of the Kremlin Political Prisoners
PLATFORM FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
Institute for Peace and Common Ground
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
Kharkiv Anti-Corruption Centre
Public Holding “INFLUENCE GROUP”