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Ukrainian ombudsperson says inmates serving term in Crimea to be soon handed over to Kiev

March 06, 21:06 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, March 6. /TASS/. Eighteen inmates serving prison terms in Crimea will be shortly handed over to Ukraine, the ombudspersons of Russia and Ukraine agreed on at a meeting in Geneva on Monday.

"During the meeting, they [ombudspersons from Ukraine and Russia] discussed ways for an early technical implementation of the previous arrangements on such a transfer, looked into the implementation of the transfer procedure by the relevant state agencies of the two countries. The above-mentioned transfer will take place shortly," the press service of the Ukrainian parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Valeriya Lutkovskaya, said.

During the Monday conversation, the sides confirmed a bid "to continue the practice of mutual monitoring visits to places of confinement with an aim to study how the rights of citizens of both countries are observed in these detention centers".

The Ukrainian ombudsperson, for her part, assured the Russian colleague that she was ready to help in organizing analogous visits to Russian inmates in Ukraine. "I highly value the efforts and support of Tatyana Nikolayevna (Moskalkova) towards the implementation of our arrangements on the protection of rights of our countries’ nationals. I hope our cooperation will continue on the terms of reciprocity and priority to human rights," Lutkovskaya said.

Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Tatyana Moskalkova, and her Ukrainian counterpart, Valeria Lutkovskaya, also discussed the possibility of visiting Russian nationals detained as a result of the catastrophic events in Odessa on May 2, 2014.

"We discussed the possibility of visiting Russian citizens kept in custody in connection with the case of the fire in the Trade Union House in Odessa," Moskalkova who is participating in the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council underway in Geneva told TASS. Her meeting with Valeria Lutkovskaya was held on March 5.

"I was approached by human rights activists concerning the [detained Russians’] health condition and their incarceration conditions," Moskalkova said, adding that she will first have to talk with their relatives "to understand their attitude towards this issue."

According to the Russian ombudsperson, an agreement has been reached with Lutkovskaya not to disclose the dates of any possible visits to avoid "provocations and negative developments." Moskalkova explained that "there are different frameworks" for tackling this issue. "We had to deal with situations where people are persecuted and threatened."

Odessa tragedy

The port city of Odessa was rocked by fierce riots on May 2, 2014, during which Right Sector extremists and the so-called "Maidan self-defense" league burned down the Trade Unions House, where their opponents converged for cover, and a tent camp where activists were collecting signatures for a referendum on Ukraine’s federalization and for the status of a state language for Russian. The attackers locked their victims in the burning Trade Unions House building, where at least 48 people died and more than 200 were injured in the clashes and the fire in the Trade Unions House.

The authorities conducted an alleged investigation claiming 22 individuals had goaded the disorders. Half of them were detained, among them Russian citizens, Yevgeny Mefyodov and Maxim Sakauov.

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