appointed by the court
Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code (high treason in the form of espionage)
December 9, 2014
12 years in tight security colony
Shur Viktor Valentinovich (born 1957), penal colony #1, 30 Komarova Str., Bryansk 241021, Russia
days in custody
Viktor Shur is a jeweler and the son of a famous Ukrainian collector of rare icons. He is the only Russian citizen in the LetMyPeopleGo list. Viktor was born in Soviet Ukraine, yet after the collapse of the USSR, he chose Russian citizenship as a result of his business dealings in Russia. However, he was interested in residing in Ukraine. More recently, he was a permanent resident of Chernihiv in northeast Ukraine, where his family remains to this day.
Victor was taken into custody ostensibly for offending a policeman and was sentenced to fifteen-day imprisonment. Then he was accused of disclosing a classified facility, which was later requalified as treason and collaboration with the secret services of a foreign state (Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code). Viktor’s relatives knew where he was being held only a month after his capture, when he had signed all the papers the investigative authorities wanted. The official information on the case appeared in the media on July 22, 2015, when the court in Moscow extended Shur’s detention.
According to the case file, Shur was arrested while allegedly attempting to photograph a ‘secret facility’ in Bryansk Oblast. The ‘facility’ was, in fact, a derelict airport abandoned back in the 1980s. Now the territory of the airport is known to be used for grazing cattle.
Viktor Shur acknowledged his ‘guilt.’ He was sentenced to twelve years in a strict regime colony. His relatives and Viktor himself believe that an appeal in his case would be waste of time. Nonetheless, his family initiated the process of restoring Viktor’s Ukrainian citizenship. Thanks to this, he is expected to qualify for a prisoner exchange and consular defense.
Victor Shur’s case file is classified as ‘top secret,’ and his trial took place behind closed doors. However, despite the incompleteness of information, some circumstances clearly point to the illegal nature of his prosecution by the FSB:
- all the attempts made by Viktor’s family to hire independent lawyers proved unsuccessful. The lawyers either were denied access to the case or did not enter it due to the pressure of the authorities;
- the former airdrome photographed by Shur was closed back in the Soviet times and today is simply a grassy field. Its ‘strategic importance’ is now more than doubtful.
Viktor stated that he was made to take psychotropic substances in custody.