The Russian Federation continues to persecute Ukrainian citizens on the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimean peninsula. The so-called “Sevastopol City Court” sentenced 66-year-old Halyna Dovhopolova to 12 years in prison. Also on March 29, the so-called “Gagarin District Court of Sevastopol” “sentenced” Viktor Stashevsky, a follower of Jehovah’s Witnesses, to 6.5 years in prison.
Halyna Pavlivna Dovhopolova, a native of Bakhchisarai, before her arrest lived in Sevastopol, in the village of Kacha. The criminal prosecution of Halyna Dovhopolova became known on January 8, 2020.
According to the occupation administration, Halyna Dovhopolova cooperated with the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, collecting “information about a separate aviation regiment of the Black Sea Fleet”.
The trial in Dovhopolova’s case took place in four sessions. She was sentenced to 12 years in a maximum security prison and one year in prison.
This is not the first attempt to persecute and intimidate women in Crimea. Throughout the period of temporary occupation, dozens of women were persecuted on trumped-up charges – activists Larisa Kitayska, Lutfiye Zudiyeva and Mumine Saliyeva, lawyers Lilya Gemedzhi and Emine Avamileva, mothers and wives of political prisoners. But for the first time, a 66-year-old woman was accused of espionage and received a real sentence.
Crimean Viktor Stashevsky: he was found guilty of organizing the activities of the religious community “Jehovah’s Witnesses” and sentenced to 6.5 years in prison. In addition, he will not be able to engage in public activities for seven years.
Viktor Stashevsky was detained on June 4, 2019, after a series of searches of Jehovah’s Witnesses homes in Sevastopol. The occupying security forces believed that even after 2017, when Jehovah’s Witnesses were recognized as an extremist organization in Russia, Stashevsky, as the leader of the local community, “continued to promote the ideas of Jehovah’s Witnesses, held meetings and gave religious speeches”.
We emphasize that Ukraine does not recognize the compulsory citizenship imposed by the Russian occupation administration in Crimea, and the passports of the Russian Federation imposed on Ukrainian citizens in Crimea are null and void.
Similarly, Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot be banned on Ukrainian territory, and their believers must be guaranteed the religious freedoms in the temporarily occupied Crimea.
We consider all the accusations of Ukrainian citizens Halyna Dovhopolova and Viktor Stashevsky by the occupation administration as politically motivated persecution and demand the immediate release of our citizens.
The Mission of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea condemns the actions of the occupying authorities of the Russian Federation in persecution of Ukrainian citizens, who are disloyal to the Russian Federation. The Mission records every case of such persecution and provides the received information to Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and international institutions.