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Psychological pressure still put on Ukrainian sailors, - lawyer

One of the sailors was called to the investigative room of the remand center and offered to testify against other POWs
16:34, 19 February 2019

The lawyer Nikolai Polozov
112 Agency

The Russian authorities continue to put psychological pressure on the POW Ukrainian sailors detained in Lefortovo prison, as lawyer Nikolai Polozov reported on Facebook.

Polozov said that a few days ago sailor Andriy Oprysko was called to the investigative room of the remand center. There, some person (supposedly FSB operations officer) began to question him without the lawyer about the conditions of the detention, state of health and circumstances of the case. Then Oprysko was offered to testify against other POWs; however, Andry strongly refused to answer the questions of the stranger.

Related: Moscow City Court extends imprisonment of eight Ukrainian sailors, - lawyer

According to Polozov, it is not the first case of the putting of pressure on Oprysko. About a month ago, the unknown people came to him for questioning.  The sailor filed the statement in agreement with the lawyer, that he does not want to converse with anyone without the presence of a lawyer or consul.

“It is not the  single case, the psychological pressure on the POWs as the violation of the points of the third Geneva Convention “On the Treatment of Prisoners” is put by FSB operative officers and by the so-called “in-cell development”, when a cellmate of the POW deliberately act in the interests of the special services,” Polozov stated.

Related: Russian ombudsman, Ukrainian official visit sailors in prison

He added that the lawyers carefully spot all such facts. “Each sailor is informed by the lawyer about his rights and knows the algorithm of proceeding in the case the psychological pressure is put,” Polozov said.

On November 25, the coast guard ships of the Russian Navy attacked the ships of the Ukrainian Navy, which have been carrying out a scheduled transition from Odesa port to Mariupol port in the Sea of Azov. Ukrainian ships were rejected passage via the Kerch Strait, Russian coast guards opened aimed fire on them.

Related: Wounded Ukrainian sailor Eider does not have hepatitis, - lawyer

All 24 sailors on board were captured and delivered to Moscow – 21 of them were delivered to Lefortovo remand center, another - to the hospital of Matrosskaya Tishina prison.

On December 3, the Russian prosecutors officially accused Ukrainian sailors with the 'illegal crossing of the state border' during the attack in the Kerch Strait.

Related: Russian court extends detention of four Ukrainian sailors until April

Facing an extension of the sentence term, Ukrainian POWs detained in the Kerch Strait refused to testify in Lefortovo court. Sailors were distributed into six groups, four people in each. On January 15, 2019, Moscow's Lefortovo district court decided to keep 20 Ukrainian sailors in remand until April 24. On January 16, the court extended the detention term for another 4 sailors.

As we reported, lawyer Nikolai Polozov, who deals with the defense of Ukrainian prisoners of war, confirmed that three Ukrainian sailors wounded in the Russian Navy attack on Ukrainian ships were brought from Matrosskaya Tishina to Lefortovo prison in Moscow. He also added that it happened on Monday, January 28.

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