: More activists arrested on the Russia-occupied Crimea

17:39 Jun. 10, 2016

More activists arrested on the Russia-occupied Crimea

Photo from radiosvoboda.org.

Protesters sentenced to correctional labour after demonstrating against illegal construction

The city court of Alushta in Russia-occupied Crimea sentenced an activist Leonid Lytvynchuk to two days in detention and 25 hours of correctional labour. This is according to his counterpart Pavlo Stepanchuk, who was detained on June 4th.

After the sentence was declared the judges considered the period Lytvynchuk had spent in custody to count towards his sentence. The accused was let go eight hours later.

Self-proclaimed authorities on the Russian-occupied peninsula arrested both Lytvynchuk and Stepanchuk during what they dubbed illegal protest action. Authorities declared both suspects were resisting the police. On June 4th the local residents of Alushta protested against the illegal construction works on the quay. The police officers arrested the deputy of the local parliament Pavlo Stepanchuk along with two other men defending him.

After spending nearly seven hours at the police station Stepanchuk was let go, his defenders remained isolated for two more days. He now insists the police beat and threatened all three detainees. Now the men claim to have been forced to give away their cellphones without the right to call the lawyers or even visiting the restroom.

As reported earlier, the so-called Crimean prosecutor's office in Russia-occupied Crimea sentenced Euromaidan activist Andriy Kolomiiets to ten years in prison. The Ukrainian had previously been accused of attempting the lives of two officers of the Crimean special forces unit 'Berkut', illegal purchase, and drug transportation.

The Crimean peninsula was illegally annexed by Russia in March 2014. Since then all airports on the peninsula are closed according to Ukraine's government decision. Any flights to and from Russia-occupied Crimea are against the Ukrainian laws. Therefore, the airlines might be fined in terms of Ukraine's and International Civil Aviation Organization's sanctions. Currently, Russia is the only country having air connection with the occupied peninsula.

Ukraine's Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) officially declared February 20, 2014, a beginning of Russia's occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol. Numerous world leaders strongly condemned the illegal annexation and launched a range of economic sanctions against Russia. Despite the overall resentment, Moscow rejects the notion "occupation", naming its deeds instead "a renewal of historical justice".

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