“Crimean saboteur” Zakhtiy could have admitted his guilt under tortures – human rights defender

Polina Brodik, human rights defender and former Head of the LetMyPeopleGo Campaign of the Center for Civil Liberties, does not rule out the possibility that the defendant in the “case of Ukrainian saboteurs” Andriy Zakhtiy, who is held in Crimea, pleaded guilty and concluded a pre-trial agreement with the Russian investigation as a result of tortures.

As reported by Brodik in a commentary made for Krym.Realiyi.

“We know that after the detention of a group of so-called “Crimean saboteurs”, a video of Russian special services was published where there are clear signs of physical coercion being used against these people. And Zakhtiy’s wife also said that he was subjected to physical violence. We can assume that exactly this has influenced the people to plead guilty”, - Brodik said.

The human rights defender has also recalled that this is not the first such case in the practice of Russian investigation against Ukrainian political prisoners.

"Many political prisoners included in the LetMyPeopleGo list were subjected to severe tortures and this became the basis for recognition of guilt in crimes that they did not commit. Often the tortures were so cruel that they left a serious impact on both mental and physical health”, - the human rights defender said.

As it became known on July 11, Andriy Zakhtiy, who is under arrest in the case of “Ukrainian saboteurs” in annexed Crimea, has pleaded guilty and concluded a pre-trial agreement with the investigation. In addition, he refused the services of his Lawyer Oleksiy Ladin, who, in turn, can not provide information about the progress of the case.

In early July, the lawyer of another “Ukrainian saboteur”, who is going through this case Yevgen Panov said that his client was being incited to cooperate with the investigation through psychological pressure. At the same time, as the lawyer later noted, the confession of Zakhtiy’s guilt will not affect the position of Yevgeny Panov.

As a reminder, in August 2016, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported that Yevgen Panov and Andriy Zakhtiy were accused of preparing terrorist acts in the occupied Crimea. For some time the detainees were held in the Moscow Lefortovo SIZO (pre-trial detention centre), later they were returned to the annexed Crimea.

According to the human rights defenders, Panov was tortured for few days, afterwards he confirmed his “involvement” in the intelligence actions on a video that was recorded by the Special Services. 

Olga Skrypnyk, a Coordinator of the Crimean Human Rights Group, informed that such methods of torture were used against Genadiy Afanasiev, Oleg Sentsov, Andriy Kolomiets and Oleksandr Kostenko.

In early March 2017, Andriy Zakhtiy announced his desire to renounce Russian citizenship.

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