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Published in Stream:
Day 743: March 1, 2016
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Photos And Testimony Bolster Claims Azov Activist Krasnov Was Tortured By SBU
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Yesterday we reported that Andrei Mamalyga, lawyer for Stanislav Krasnov, a former Azov regiment fighter and activist who was arrested at the weekend, had accused the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) of torturing his client.

Krasnov is accused of working for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and possessing explosives.

Today, Ihor Mosiychuk an MP in Oleh Lyashko's Radical Party and former deputy commander of the Azov Battalion, published photos on his Facebook page of Krasnov after his arrest, making it clear that the detainee had been severely beaten:


Mosiychuk also published a photo of a letter from the Human Rights Ombudsman, Valeria Lutkovska, to the Prosecutor General, demanding an official investigation into the apparent torture.

Lutkovska cites a report from a doctor who examined Krasnov after his detention, who diagnosed him with "blunt trauma to the chest, multiple bruises to his soft tissues, a haematoma in the area of of his outer ankle."

Krasnov's girlfriend and fellow activist, Oksana Shelest, who was also arrested, had bruises on the soft tissue of her right thigh and right shin.

Halya Coynash of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group writes on allegations made by Krasnov himself, and gives more background on his previous activities and harassment by the occupying Russian authorities in Crimea:

As mentioned, Krasnov asserts that he was held outside and subjected to beating and torture for around 7 hours.  He says that he lay in the dirt and mud in sub-zero conditions, and periodically lost consciousness.  “They didn’t ask any questions about any crimes, just said that they would kill me, that because of our Maidan they had only problems, that all volunteers, in particular the OUN [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists] Battalion are thieves and looters, that they didn’t fight, and that they should all be eliminated”.   He says he was then taken to the SBU where they continued to beat and torture him until a lawyer arrived.

Krasnov asserts that all of this is part of repressive measures against volunteers and Maidan supporters and that a direct commission from Russia to remove him is being carried out.

Krasnov, together with Oleksandr Kostenko, first attracted public attention in September 2013.  The two Crimean police officers  publicly stated that the Simferopol police management were putting pressure on them and trying to cover up the abduction and sale into sexual slavery in Moscow of two Crimean women. 

Both men were driven out of the police force and it seems likely that this incident contributed to the choice of Kostenko as target for a politically motivated prosecution.  Kostenko and Krasnov were both active supporters of Euromaidan in Kyiv, and the main charge brought against Kostenko in Feb – March 2015 pertained to an alleged incident on Maidan on Feb 18, 2014.   This was before Russia invaded Crimea and unequivocally on Ukrainian territory and under Ukrainian law, yet Kostenko was sentenced on that charge and another, no less fabricated, to 4.2 years imprisonment.  This has just been reduced to 3.5 years, yet the court upheld the legally nihilistic charges and also ignored compelling evidence of the use of severe torture (see: Crimean Maidan activist’s insane conviction upheld, sentence reduced). 

Worth noting that Kostenko’s lawyer Dmitry Sotnikov has reported that during this extraordinary trial, Natalya Poklonskaya, installed as prosecutor by the occupation authorities, claimed that Kostenko and Krasnov had tortured ‘Berkut’ officers and burned their bodies in a crematorium established in the basement of the Kyiv City Administration (occupied at that time by some Euromaidan activists).  No proof was provided. 

Kostenko was sentenced in May 2015.  Then in June 2015 Russia’s Investigative Committee initiated criminal proceedings against Krasnov, accusing him of “inciting enmity or hatred towards people of a certain social group, with the use of the media” (article 282 § 1 of the Russian criminal code). He was supposed to have made public statements on two TV channels from April 2014 to Jan 2015  which ‘incited enmity’ towards former Ukrainian citizens who had expressed the wish to take on Russian citizenship.  Since Krasnov was at the time out of reach, fighting Kremlin-backed militants in Donbas, the de facto authorities harassed his mother (details here).   

Russia has reportedly initiated four criminal prosecutions against Krasnov so far.  Now Ukraine is charging him with having been a Russian FSB officer since 2014. 

-- Pierre Vaux