Kremlin-controlled court sentences elderly woman to 12 years in prison over "espionage" charges

Canan Kevser
29 March 2021, 18:25
Canan Kevser
29 March 2021, 18:25

The so-called Sevastopol City Court, controlled by the Russian occupiers, sentenced the 65-year-old Ukrainian citizen to 12 years in prison.

The "court" convicted Halyna Dovhopola on fabricated criminal charges of collection of data about a separate aviation regiment of the Russian Black Sea Fleet for Ukraine.

"She was sentenced to 12 years in a penal colony and one year of administrative supervision after her term of imprisonment expires," Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova wrote on Telegram.

As noted, the so-called courts repeatedly hold closed trials of Ukrainian citizens and ban media representatives from attending hearings, which is yet another evidence of falsification of the criminal case against Dovhopola.

The Ukrainian Ombudsperson condemned the illegal actions and continuation of political repression by the occupying authorities against Ukrainians in the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea.

"I call on the international community to use all possible tools to step up pressure on the Russian Federation to release all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens as soon as possible and to end terror against them," Denisova said.

Halyna Dovhopola was illegally detained by Russian security forces in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea on November 27, 2019. Later, she was arrested on alleged treason charges.

The Russian Security Service (FSB) claimed that Dovhopola (in Russian: Dolgopolaya) was recruited by the Ukrainian security service, and on the instructions of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s Military Intelligence [HUR] “deliberately gathered secret information of a military nature”.

As Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group reports, "since its invasion, Russia has seized and imprisoned a large number of Ukrainians on ‘spying’, ‘sabotage’ or ‘terrorism’ charges. The problem with spying cases is that Russia is able to hold these behind closed doors, making it impossible to ascertain what the real charges were. In all cases involving sabotage or terrorism, the trials have been deeply flawed, with courts ignoring the dubious charges, proof of falsified evidence and of confessions given under torture. Most such cases appear to be aimed at pushing the narrative, namely that Ukraine is involved in ‘subversive’ activities against the country illegally occupying Ukrainian territory."