Ukraine/Russia: Iryna Danilovich sentenced to seven years in prison in occupied Crimea

10/01/2023
Urgent Appeal
Photo: Daniel Bernard via Unsplash

New information
RUS 006 / 0522 / OBS 034.2
Sentencing /
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment /
Torture and ill-treatment
Ukraine / Russian Federation
January 10, 2023

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Russian-occupied Crimea.

The Observatory has been informed about the sentencing and ongoing arbitrary detention of Iryna Danilovich. Ms Danilovich is a nurse and a citizen journalist who has been working on disseminating the rights of medical workers and the problems in the healthcare system in her media project called “Crimean Medicine Without Cover”. She has also collaborated with the citizen journalism outlet on human rights “Inzhir Media”. Since February 24, 2022, she has been critical about Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

On December 28, 2022, the Feodosia City Court, Crimea, sentenced Iryna Danilovich to seven years of imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 Rubles (approximately 900 Euros) on the charge of “illegally purchasing and storing explosives” (Part 1, Article 222.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Ms Danilovich pleaded not guilty to the charge, maintaining that the evidence used against her - two hundred grams of explosives - was planted in her handbag by Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officers after she was detained in April 2022. Ms Danilovich’s lawyer is planning to appeal this decision. At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, Iryna Danilovich remains detained in Detention Centre No. 1 in Simferopol, Crimea.

The Observatory recalls that on April 29, 2022, Iryna Danilovich was abducted, allegedly by Russian law enforcement officers, while she was commuting from the town of Koktebel to the city of Feodosia. On the same day, Russian authorities conducted a search in her house and seized all digital equipment and several books. They refused to leave a record of the seized equipment. Iryna Danilovich’s relatives were informed that she had been placed under administrative arrest for 10 days. However, her whereabouts remained unknown for 13 days, eight of which she was kept in inhuman conditions in the basement of an FSB building. During that period, she was put a bag over her head, and was given access to a toilet only twice a day and one meal a day. She was subjected to a polygraph examination, while FSB officers threatened to take her to a forest or to Russian-occupied Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, should she hide information.

Iryna Danilovich was officially detained on May 7, 2022, when she was forced to sign blank sheets of paper. She was informed by FSB officers about the finding of two hundred grams of explosives in her handbag. Her relatives located her in a pre-detention centre in Simferopol on May 11, 2022, and two days later she appeared before the Court of the Kyiv District of Simferopol. The FSB Investigation Department opened a case against her for “illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or carrying of explosives or explosive devices”. She was denied family visits throughout the investigation period.

The Observatory strongly condemns the sentencing of Iryna Danilovich on trumped-up charges, and urges the Russian authorities in control of Crimea to immediately and unconditionally release her. The Observatory further calls on the authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against her and all human rights defenders and journalists in Crimea.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Russia in Crimea, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Iryna Danilovich and all other human rights defenders in Crimea;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Iryna Danilovich, as her detention is arbitrary and merely aimed at intimidating her and diverting her from her legitimate human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the administrative and judicial levels - against Iryna Danilovich, and all other human rights defenders in Crimea, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities and exercise their rights without any hindrance or fear of reprisals;

iv. Guarantee Iryna Danilovich’s unhindered access to her family members;

v. Carry out an immediate, through and impartial investigation into the abduction and acts of torture and ill-treatment against Iryna Danilovich, while ensuring her protection, publishing the results and bringing the perpetrators to justice in accordance with international standards.

Addresses:

• Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Twitter: @KremlinRussia_E
• Mr. Mikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Twitter:@GovernmentRF
• Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, E-mail: ministry@mid.ru
• Mr. Igor Krasnov, General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, E-mail: pressa@genproc.gov.ru
• Mr. Alexander Bortnikov, Director of Federal Security Service (FSS), E-mail: fsb@fsb.ru
• Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail: mission.russian@vtxnet.ch
• Embassy of the Russian Federation in Brussels, Belgium. E-mail: mission.russian@vtxnet.ch
• Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe, France. Email: russia.coe@orange.fr

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of the Russian Federation in your respective countries.

***
Geneva-Paris, January 10, 2023

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: alert@observatoryfordefenders.org
• Tel. OMCT: +41 (0) 22 809 49 39
• Tel. FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18

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