Russia destroying health of political prisoners – human rights defenders

The health of Ukrainian political prisoners held in Crimea and Russia is a matter of particular concern to human rights defenders, says the Crimean Human Rights Group (CHRG).

According to the CHRG, these people are the most vulnerable category of Ukrainian nationals because they are under the control of the occupiers.

“Not providing health care to prisoners is one of the ways to degrade a human used consistently by the Russian prison staff regarding Ukrainian nationals. And these Ukrainians are also activists or bloggers,” the Group wrote in a report.

The report noted that Russian law enforcement bodies have been discriminating against these inmates because of their civic position, religion or beliefs.

The article presented information about five prisoners imprisoned for religious or political reasons. It claimed that each of them is suffering from health issues and lack of medical care offered, in the prisons of both occupied Crimea and Russia.

For example, a physician rejected to hospitalize Dzhemil Gafarov, a political prisoner who has a disability. The same health worker also refused to provide the information about the examination results of Gafarov, who was held in custody since March 2019.

Valentyn Vyhivsky, who is suspected to caught COVID-19, was neither offered any medical care nor tested for the virus. There was an outbreak of the COVID-19 in his colony, and Valentin had all the symptoms of this disease. He is being kept in solitary confinement for almost four years in the Russian city of Kirovo-Chepetsk.

Ivan Yatskin, another political prisoner, who was not properly examined for four months after an injury, and his X-ray results were allegedly “lost.” He has chronic diseases of the cardiovascular system and also according to his lawyer, he may have a cracked rib or a pinched nerve.

55-year-old Nariman Mekhmedinov who is suffering from asthma, pancreatitis and heart weakness, is being held in Simferopol, in occupied-Crimea.

Teymur Abdullayev was arrested by the occupiers in October 2016, and sentenced to sixteen and a half years in prison on made-up charges. He has acute cerebral circulation disorder and chronic hepatitis C. When Teymur infected with COVID-19, he was still kept in an isolation cell. He hardly transferred to the so-called quarantine cell, but he and other prisoners left without any treatment. According to his mother, Officers were waiting to see if the prisoners would recover or die.

“For almost seven years of war and occupation, the human rights defenders have recorded hundreds of cases of inhuman treatment of Ukrainian prisoners. And the explicit pro-Ukrainian position of these people, their unwillingness to collaborate with prison staff, and their opposition to the system only further irritate the prison administration and intensify mistreating,” the report added.

The human rights group said that the international community should make every effort to ensure as many as possible people to hear about the suffering of Ukrainian prisoners.

(C)HA 2021

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