Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 22 October 2015
The Delegation of Ukraine again draws the attention of the Permanent Council to the on-going violation by the Russian Federation of its Minsk commitments as it continues to illegally detain the people’s deputy of Ukraine and PACE member Nadiya Savchenko, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, civil society activist Oleksandr Kolchenko and others.
All these Ukrainian citizens are political prisoners and victims of Russia’s severe violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms. They had been abducted from the territory of Ukraine and illegally detained by the Russian authorities on trumped-up charges. Their criminal prosecution in Russia is illegal and illegitimate.
We reiterate that the provisions of Minsk agreements regarding the release of all hostages and illegally detained persons on the basis of “all for all” principle apply to the Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia. We also remind that Nadiya Savchenko is enjoying diplomatic immunity as a PACE member.
We condemn the on-going judicial farce against Nadiya Savchenko, taking place in the Donetsk City Court of Russia’s Rostov oblast.
It is unacceptable that the prosecution and the court limited Savchenko’s defense rights of questioning at the hearings some so-called "witnesses for the prosecution" - members of illegal armed groups that operate in certain areas of Donbas in Ukraine or FSB agents. The use of Russia’s legislation on state secrets as a pretext to justify such restrictions of rights is groundless and absurd. At the same time, according to Savchenko’s defense, the cross-examination of other prosecution’s witnesses demonstrates contradictions and inconsistencies in their testimonies. Such proceedings and accounts only amplify the fabricated nature of the case.
The Russian authorities took decision to impose a ban on entry to the Russian Federation till 2020 of Vira Savchenko, the sister of Nadiya and the main witness for the defense. On 19 October Vira Savchenko, having encountered the ban, was later allowed to enter Russia, but was not granted a floor in the courtroom despite requests of the defense.
We call upon the Russian Federation to revoke an entry ban for Vira Savchenko, which grossly violates OSCE commitments on the rule of law and the right to a fair trial.
The conviction in a closed door courtroom of a 73-year-old Ukrainian citizen Yuriy Soloshenko to 6 years in prison on fabricated charges of espionage denounces law and morality. It testifies yet again to the pre-meditated and political nature of the prosecution against illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia.
Deep concern has been expressed, both at the national and international levels, about alleged torture and other ill-treatment of Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Henady Afanasyev, Mykola Karpyuk, Stanislav Klyh and other political prisoners.
According to the recent information of Mr. Karpyuk defence lawyer, the Russian law-enforcement threatened to kill his son and forced him to sign the waiver of lawyers invited by his wife. In the application lodged with the European Court of Human Rights Mykola Karpyuk stated that all the evidence in his case was extracted under torture.
We urge the Russian Federation to inform the Permanent Council on the steps taken by the Russian authorities to proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation by the competent authorities of the information on the acts of torture against Ukrainian citizens in Russia in line with the Article 12 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
We reiterate again our call on Russia to immediately grant consular access to all Ukrainian citizens kept in custody on the territory of the Russian Federation.
We urge the Russian Federation to comply with its obligations under international law and the Minsk agreements and to immediately and unconditionally release Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and other Ukrainian citizens – political prisoners in Russia.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.