Illegal detention of civilians

18 November 2023

The Tribunal for Putin initiative has documented over 4 thousand cases of civilians, including children and elderly people, who were arbitrarily detained or went missing after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Many of them are representatives of local self-government bodies, former military personnel, volunteers, activists, doctors, educators, journalists who were abducted during the occupation from their homes, on their way to the store or from their workplace.

Russian authorities hold them without any legitimate cause and due prosecution process.

The Center for Civil Liberties is aware of more than 150 detention places in Russia and the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine where these civilians are staying.

These civilians are forcibly held in cells together with the Ukrainian war prisoners and they are experiencing torture, ill-treatment, lack of medical care, hunger, and information isolation. The longer they stay there, the worse their physical and mental condition turns.

The Russian Federation refuses to provide any information about the detained civilians to their relatives, even when the family receives reliable information about their loved ones from other sources.

Such arbitrary detentions are considered a war crime in the International Law. In addition, a widespread or systematic attack against civilian population, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty may also constitute a crime against humanity.

Iryna Horobtsova, 38, is an activist, volunteer and IT-specialist from Kherson, Southern Ukraine.

After the occupation of Kherson, Iryna actively helped its residents: she brought food and medicines and delivered them to the hospitals, helped collect funds for medical care and transport for the people of Kherson. She conducted active pro-Ukrainian educational activities in social networks, described the life under occupation, published photos with Ukrainian symbols, and called her apartment “the home headquarters of the resistance.”

Since May 13, 2022, she has been a prisoner of the Russian military without the provision of charges by the occupation authorities.

You can read more stories of Ukrainian civilian prisoners following this link.


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