Azov crisis: "Special cell mates" settled next to Ukrainian POWs

Azov crisis: "Special cell mates" settled next to Ukrainian POWs

Captured Ukrainian sailor in Moscow, December 2018
“Special cell mates” are being settled next to the Ukrainian POWs, captured by Russian in Kerch Strait, to put psychological pressure on them, as the lawyer Nikolai Polozov reported on Facebook.
“From the very first day, the POWs were subjected to severe psychological pressure. Each of them was involved on a “conversation” to get a guilty plea or testimony about them or their comrades. “Special” cell mates were settled near some of them,” the message says.

Besides, the lawyer noted that the lawyers are creating a new documents package required for filing individual complaints to the international establishments, including the European Court of Human Rights.
“The lawyers meet the POWs a couple of times per month (despite the restrictions related to the operation of Lefortovo prison), they provided legal and psychological support. They also keep in contact with the relatives and pass all necessary information,” the message says.

On November 25, 2018, the coast guard ships of the Russian Navy attacked the ships of the Ukrainian Navy, which have been carrying out a scheduled transition from Odesa port to Mariupol port in the Sea of Azov. Ukrainian ships were rejected passage via the Kerch Strait, Russian coast guards opened aimed fire on them.
All 24 sailors on board were captured and delivered to Moscow – 21 of them were delivered to Lefortovo remand center, another - to the hospital of Matrosskaya Tishina prison.

On December 3, 2018, the Russian prosecutors officially accused Ukrainian sailors with the 'illegal crossing of the state border' during the attack in the Kerch Strait.
Facing an extension of the sentence term, Ukrainian POWs detained in the Kerch Strait refused to testify in Lefortovo court. Sailors were distributed into six groups, four people in each. On January 15, 2019, Moscow's Lefortovo district court decided to keep 20 Ukrainian sailors in remand until April 24. On January 16, the court extended the detention term for another 4 sailors.

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