Prisich stated at his trial: «After each question I was given an electric shock and told I should think about the answer."
In August 2016 Russian TV stations broadcast film showing Kharkov truck driver Vladimir Prisich confessing to having collected, on the instructions of Ukrainian intelligence services, information about military equipment, vehicles at military units, and such like, that he had seen in Russia. Similar videos were made of confessions by Evgeny Panov, Andrei Zakhtei and Redvan Suleimanov. From the official reports of Russian media, citing Russian intelligence services, it followed that all these individuals were participants in a single diversionary group.
However, the judgments handed down in the cases of Prisich and Suleimanov show no link between the two and the defendants Panov and Zakhtei, who were charged with diversionary activities. On 18 May 2017 Gagarinsky district court in Sevastopol sentenced Vladimir Prisich to three years in a prison colony for possessing 500 grams of marijuana under Article 228 (Section 2) of the Russian Criminal Code (illegal possession of drugs in large quantities).
At his trial Prisich stated he had been tortured: «After each question I was given an electric shock and told I should think about the answer.»
FSB personnel beat and detained Vladimir Prisich on the night of 12–13 August 2016 in the cabin of his truck at a parking place in Sevastopol during a «transport vehicle inspection." Thereafter, according to Prisich, he was tortured in an attempt to force him to confess to espionage. When he refused, the investigating officers «found» cannabis in his truck. After further torture, he «confessed» in front of a video camera to working for the intelligence service of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. Since the FSB could not find any evidence of espionage by Vladimir Prisich, Memorial Human Rights Centre, on the basis of the materials of the case, considers that the charges brought against him of possessing drugs were fabricated.
We believe that Vladimir Prisich has been deprived of his liberty without having committed any crime. The seeking out of «Ukrainian spies» is a form of «witch hunt» in today’s Russia. It is part of a political campaign, directly related to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
We demand the release of Ukrainian citizen Vladimir Prisich.
Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner, or of a prosecution as politically motivated, does not imply that Memorial Human Rights Centre shares or approves the individual’s views, statements or actions.
You can read more about this case here.
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