On September 20, a regular meeting of the Contact Group on the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbass was held in Minsk. The agenda included the implementation of a ceasefire regime, the exchange of prisoners and the implementation of the Agreement on the separation of forces and means at the third pilot area near Stanitsa Luganskaya.
According to a source at the peace talks in Minsk, the meeting focused on the situation of non-observance of basic human and civil rights and freedoms in Ukraine. The representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic called upon international humanitarian and human rights organizations to pay close attention to the conditions of detention of prisoners in places of detention and secret prisons in the territory of Ukraine, to allegations of torture, to illegal criminal prosecution and imprisonment and violations of basic rights and freedoms.
ʺThe Ukrainian side continues to disregard the norms of its own and international legislation. The unlawful detention of citizens, false accusations, torture and battery –these and other facts of pejorative attitude to human life and dignity have been repeatedly recorded both by the leadership of the Republics and members of the public and international human rights organizations.
Dozens of captives and political prisoners languishing in the detention facilities of the Security Service of Ukraine are subjected to violence on a daily basis by Ukrainian security forces, among them are women, old and seriously ill people,ʺ the source said.
According to the source, the case of the illegal retention of Ukrainian citizen Daria Mastikasheva is particularly cynical.
ʺOn August 17, 2017, the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Vasily Hrytsak, at a briefing given to Ukrainian and foreign journalists in Kiev, announced the detention of a Ukrainian citizen, Daria Mastikasheva, who was arrested allegedly on suspicion of committing offences under item 1 of Art. 111 (“Treason”) and item 1 of Art. 263 (“Unlawful handling of weapons”) of the Ukrainian Penal Code. She was accused of recruiting former members of the “ATO” to carry out terrorist acts on the Russian territory.
At that time, Hrytsak named the 29-year-old Ukrainian woman a “FSB agent in Ukraine” and showed a confession video of Daria taken the previous day to the journalists. The only one thing the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine failed to mention was that, before the video was recorded, the girl was abducted and tortured, beaten, strangled to death, intimidated by an assassination of her son and mother for almost two days, and they made a staged arrest only after the recorded ‘confession’.
Today, the Ukrainian three-time champion in taekwondo, the Head of the International Public Organization “Golden League” Daria Mastikasheva, in disregard of the rule of law and international human rights, is locked up without the right to communicate with relatives or defence counsel, without basic medical care,ʺ the source said.
The source added that the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch, having familiarized with the situation of Daria Mastikasheva and based on information already available on ill-treatment, had acknowledged that “citizens in Ukraine were not only limited in providing basic human rights, but they were also free to be subjected to any charges”.
The source also reported that the Sub-group on Humanitarian Affairs continued to work on the preparation of an exchange of prisoners on an “all for all” basis. “Unfortunately, the Ukrainian side does not change its position of splitting the lists of captives to be exchanged into categories, in the view of Ukraine, which significantly delays the negotiating process.ʺ
During the meeting of the negotiators in Minsk, the plenipotentiary representative of the DPR Denis Pushilin handed over copies of “Book of Living Chronicles: 2014-2016”, which was recently presented in Donetsk, to representatives of the OSCE SMM. The collected book includes material on the crimes of Ukrainian power from 2014 to 2016 with photographs and eyewitnesses accounts.
ʺDenis Pushilin expressed the hope that objective and legally based facts set out in this book would help the negotiators to see and understand the real picture of what was happening. He said that war would come to an end someday, but that crimes committed against the people should not be forgotten. Those responsible for the deaths of civilian lives, the tears of wives and mothers, fathers and children must be held accountable,ʺ the source summed up.