May 8 is the birthday of Euromaidan activist and political prisoner Andriy Kolomiets. He is celebrating his 29th birthday behind bars in a Russian colony in Krasnodar.
Kolomiets was detained in Russia’s Kabardino-Balkaria in May 2015. The political prisoner told human rights activists that he was tortured with electric shocks to extract testimony, in particular, against another political prisoner, Oleksandr Kostenko.
After that, the man was transferred to Crimea, where occupation investigators accused him of allegedly, as a “member of the extremist organization ‘Ukrainian Insurgent Army’, attempting to kill two Crimean officers of the Berkut special forces. In June 2016, Kolomiets was illegally sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The political prisoner was transferred to a colony in Krasnodar, Russia, where, according to the Ukrainian consul in Rostov-on-Don, the conditions of detention are the most severe compared to other colonies where Ukrainian citizens are held.
During the years of his illegal detention, Andriy was placed in a punishment cell more than a dozen times. The reasons given were various – for smoking in the wrong place, sleeping at the wrong time, a prayer rug in the cell, and for wearing warm clothes in the cold and damp workshop instead of the uniform. As a result, the conditions of detention in the colony were toughened.
Due to the torture and frequent stay in the punishment cell, the Ukrainian’s health condition deteriorated: he often suffers from severe headaches, high blood pressure, stomach pain, psoriasis, and his teeth crumble and fall out.
Today, on Andriy’s birthday, we urge you to join our Letters to a Free Crimea initiative and write to him and other prisoners of the Kremlin. We will pass on your letters to them.
Instructions for writing letters can be found here: https://cutt.ly/e5IoS7o