How did Andriy Zakhtei, persecuted in a political case, turn out to be not a political prisoner?

April 4, 2023

The Commission on Establishing the Fact of Deprivation of Personal Liberty as a Result of Armed Aggression against Ukraine under the Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine considers that political prisoner  Andriy Zakhtei is not a person deprived of liberty by state bodies of the Russian Federation.

The Ministry of Reintegration notified his wife of this by a letter dated March 31, 2023.

In its letter, the Ministry of Reintegration, in particular, noted that “…based on the results of consideration of your application dated March 02, 2023 on establishing the fact of deprivation of personal freedom as a result of armed aggression against Ukraine … The Commission at a meeting on March 14, 2023 … decided not to confirm the fact of deprivation of personal freedom as a result of armed aggression against Ukraine against  Andriy Zakhtei due to the fact that the decision to establish this fact did not get enough votes.”

We remind you that  Andriy Zakhtei , along with several other citizens of Ukraine, was illegally deprived of liberty by the Russian occupational law enforcement authorities on the night of August 6-7, 2016 near the village of Suvorove, Krasnoperekops district of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Russia accused him of allegedly sabotage activities in favor of Ukraine and the unlawful sentence of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Crimea on February 16, 2018, he received 6.5 years in prison.   Zakhtei was serving an illegal sentence in an institution in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, so the Ukrainian consul could not reach him during the entire time he was in the colony. Spiritual support to Zakhtey at that time was provided by Metropolitan Klyment of Simferopol and Crimean OCU, who visited him several times.

On February 10, 2023, immediately after the end of serving an unlawful sentence,Zakhtei was transported under escort to the the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia facility, (Sinyavskoye village, Neklinovsky district, Rostov region, Russian Federation), where, by decision of the Neklinovsky district court of the Rostov region dated February 15 2023 is now and will be until 05/12/2023.

The administration of the facility of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia puts pressure on  Zakhtei and provokes him in order to worsen the conditions of his stay in places of detention: in early March, the Neklinovsky District Court of the Rostov Region appointed Andriy Zakhtei 4 days of administrative arrest in the detention chamber for disobedience to the lawful order or demand of an official of the internal affairs bodies authorized to exercise the functions of control and supervision in the field of migration, in connection with the performance of his official duties or obstruction of the performance of his official duties.

Andriy Zakhtei  was recognized as a political prisoner in two resolutions of the European Parliament, which demanded from the Russian authorities the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners imprisoned in the occupied Crimea and on the territory of Russia – dated October 05, 2017 and June 14, 2018.

At the same time, the Ukrainian state authorities behave very strangely in the situation with the release of political prisoner  Zakhtei : on March 8, the State Migration Service of Ukraine refused to issue documents for him to return to Ukraine, and on March 14, the Commission under the Ministry of Reintegration did not confirm the fact of deprivation of his personal freedom due to armed aggression against Ukraine!

The Crimean Tatar Resource Center systematically and constantly deals with issues related to the fate of Ukrainian political prisoners, and is concerned about such a position of Ukrainian state bodies, which can harm the fate of political captives. We hope that in the near future the situation will change and appropriate steps will be taken and the return of the political captives of the Kremlin to the controlled territory of Ukraine.