Appeal regarding lack of proper medical care for Oleg Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners

To: H.E. Mr. Sigmar Gabriel
Vice-Chancellor, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs
of the Federal Republic of Germany

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vyhivskyi, Mykola Karpyuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andriy Zakhtey, Andriy Kolomiyets, Serhiy Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko, and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yuriy Yatsenko and Hennadiy Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including the use of handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists and knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon or pen in my hands since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars.”

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development, and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart started.


We would like to emphasize that human life and health are the highest values of any civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected President of the 70th World Health Assembly, whose Charter was recognized by Moscow back in 1946. Thus, Russia acknowledges that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status.”

In addition, according to Article 26 of the Russian Law “On the foundations of public health protection in the Russian Federation,” persons who are in custody, serve a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty, or administrative arrest, are entitled to medical aid provided, if neccessary, in the medical institutions of the govermnental and municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law, the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution no. 1466 dated 28 December 2012, which approved the rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. These rules provide for the possibility of inviting medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We would like to point out that all the citizens of Ukraine who are held in the territory of the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea for political reasons need proper medical care. Among them are:

Dmytro Shtyblikov, who lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia,

Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture he suffered,

Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing his arm broken by the FSB,

Oleksandr Kolchenko, who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight,

Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months,

Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration of his sight,

19-year-old Pavlo Hrybm, who must constantly taking drugs due to his disability, and the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of Russia’a violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation concerning the right of the Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleg Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign
NGO “Association of Relatives of the Kremlin’s Political Prisoners”
Media Initiative for Human Rights
Crimea Human Rights Group
Open Dialog Foundation
Association UMDPL
NGO “CrimeaSOS”
Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”
NGO “Social Action Center”
NGO “Peaceful Coast”
Human Rights Information Center
Expert Center for Human Rights
Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”
Euromaidan Press
Kharkiv Institute for Social Research
AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives
NGO “Human Rights Initiative”
NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group
KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”