appointed by the court
Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code (espionage in the field of aerospace industry)
September 17, 2014
11 years in tight security colony
Vygovskiy Valentin Petrovich (born 1983), penal colony #11, village of Utrobino, Kirovo-Chepetsk, 613040, Russia
days in custody
Valentyn Vyhivskyi graduated from the Department of Electronics of the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. He owned an enterprise and participated in the Euromaidan. In September 2014, during his private visit to Simferopol, he was arrested by the so-called ‘Crimean self-defense’ unit. Initially, he was detained in the building of the former (pre-annexation) Crimean regional administration of Ukraine’s Security Service in Simferopol. Then, he was transferred to the Moscow Lefortovo pretrial jail and charged with ‘industrial espionage.’ Later on, the charge would be reformulated under the generic ‘spy article.’
Vyhivskyi’s parents were not informed of their son’s arrest. A few days after his disappearance, his father managed to find out that Valentyn had been confined. For eight and a half months, the consul of Ukraine was not allowed to visit the prisoner. After such visits were finally authorized, the prison staff was present at their meetings, exerting psychological pressure on the suspect. The human rights advocate Zoya Svetova from the Moscow Public Supervisory Commission, who had first been permitted in Valentyn’s custody, conveyed his words: “I am all right. The investigation is underway. And why do I need a lawyer? Here, in Russia, it is pointless. I do not need any lawyer at all.”
Right up to the pronouncement of Valentyn’s verdict, no one beyond the Russian law enforcement bodies was aware of the content of his indictment. In December 2015, the media circulated the information on his sentencing to eleven years in a tight security penal colony. He was found ‘guilty’ of recruiting online the “workers of the aerospace companies of Russia’s military-industrial complex who for a fee agreed to gather and transfer to him confidential technical documentation on the current advanced research and development work.”
According to his father, Valentyn had indeed been keen on the subject of aviation and spent a great deal of time on specialized online forums, where he had communicated with Russian citizens. Yet as far as the materials related to the case have been classified, it is nearly impossible to verify whether the incrimination was fair. Moreover, regardless of circumstances, torture and other violations of the criminal procedure by the federal enforcement agencies are intolerable from the standpoints of the Russian law and of human rights in general.
Although the materials of the case have been kept secret and the trial was held behind closed doors, some circumstances cast doubt on the fairness of the prosecution and indicate the infringement of Valentyn’s rights.
At the time of the arrest, Valentyn Vyhivskyi was beaten. His relatives were not informed of his capture. Independent lawyers were denied entering the case. The Ukrainian consul was not allowed to visit Valentine for almost nine months.
When being arrested, Valentyn was completely undressed and beaten while having a bag on his head.