Human rights defender Sergei Krivenko visits Sergeant Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Captain Evgeny Erofeev

posted 15 Jun 2015, 06:30 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 15 Jun 2015, 06:33 ]
5 June 2015

Source: (info)
Sergei Krivenko, chair of the standing commission on civil-military relations of the Presidential Human Rights Council, paid a hospital visit to Sergeant Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Captain Evgeny Erofeev, who were detained on Ukrainian territory on 16 May 2015.
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"On 3 June 2015 a four-day conference in Kiev on 'Dialogue between Russian and Ukrainian human rights defenders for the sake of peace and human rights,’ came to an end.

During the Conference, along with Aleksandra Matveichuk, head of the Ukrainian human rights organisation the Centre for Civil Liberties, as a member of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council I was given the opportunity to visit Russian citizens Sergeant Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Captain Evgeny Erofeev, detained on Ukrainian territory on 16 May and located at the time of our visit (1 June) in the Ukrainian Defence Ministry's Main Clinical Hospital in Kiev.

It was thanks to the efforts of Valeriya Lutkovska, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights, that permission to visit was obtained, and for that I would like to express my great appreciation.

The first thing I would like to mention following on from the visit concerns the conditions in which Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Evgeny Erofeev are being kept. They were perfectly decent conditions; each had his own room in the hospital, which is clean and bright.

They are receiving medical care. Aleksandrov has undergone a unique operation in the hospital. According to the doctors, they managed to avoid amputating Aleksandrov's legs.

Neither Erofeev nor Aleksandrov has voiced any complaints about the conditions of their detention, the food or the medical care. They categorically denied that they had been subjected to torture, or any kind of physical coercion, following their detention. Erofeev and Aleksandrov did not look depressed; and they behaved with dignity.

Since Erofeev and Aleksandrov were taken captive, they have been unable to contact their family; all known phone numbers for their relatives have been blocked or are not being answered. They are worried about their relatives and have asked for assistance in making contact with family members.

The Ukrainian authorities have charged Erofeev and Aleksandrov with terrorism. The Kiev Bar Association has provided them with Russian-speaking lawyers, in accordance with Ukraine’s law on legal aid. They have already begun to work with their lawyers, and Erofeev and Aleksandrov have said that the lawyers are quite suitable to them.

The charges brought against them (under Article 285, Section 3, of Ukraine's Criminal Code) provides for life imprisonment as the maximum sentence. According to their lawyer, they will push to have the charges changed to come under 'espionage' (Article 114 of the Criminal Code, from 10 to 15 years' imprisonment), but that is only if it can be proved that both Erofeev and Aleksandrov are active s service personnel of the Russian Armed Forces.

During my conversation with them, the detainees themselves confirmed that until they were taken captive they were members of the Russian army on active service - no-one had given them orders of dismissal and their military service contracts had not yet expired.

The Russian authorities have yet to officially respond to letters of inquiry from the lawyers that were handed to the Russian Consul requesting confirmation of the identity and status of the two men charged.

This was done because no documents were found on their persons at the time of their detention, so their names and identities are known only from the words of the two men themselves.

As chair of the standing commission on civil-military relations of the Human Rights Council, I take it upon myself to oversee the protection of the rights of Aleksandrov and Erofeev.

Sergei Krivenko 

Moscow, 4 June 2015."

Translated by Lindsay Munford