Press conference of the Sevastopol human rights protecting group


On 27 January a press conference was held in the office of the Sevastopol human rights protecting group. Journalists, mainly from the Sevastopol editions, were invited to the conference, as well as Baller, the head of the department for the cooperation with law-enforcing organs of the town administration, advocate Svidina, the defendant of Drozdov, and mothers of the accused Drozdov and Ovsiannikov, who had turned to us with the complaint against the inhumane treatment of their sons in the Sevastopol preliminary prison. We wanted not only to tell about the project «The campaign against torture and cruel treatment in Ukraine» at this press conference, but also to inform the public about the activities of the entire network during the period of report (up to the end of 2003) and to give the opportunity to journalists to communicate with relatives of the victims of cruel treatment (the victims are still kept in custody). Speeches of mothers and the advocate made a great impression on the audience. It seems that everybody knows about the inhumane upkeep conditions in prisons and preliminary penitentiary establishments, but some women-journalists cried, when they listened to these stories. There were some very interesting moments. For example, Mr. Baller, a representative of the administration, told that a certain sum was allotted from the city budget for nourishment of convicts in the preliminary prison (three meals per day). The mother of Drozdov, who is kept in custody for three years, informed that during this term her son never got three meals a day.

At the end of the press conference journalists proposed to visit the cells of preliminary incarceration in militia precincts in order to inspect the upkeep conditions. Baller promised to assist them. In the opinion of the members of the Sevastopol human rights protecting group, this action will be very helpful and such visits should become regular. The group is waiting for the publications in the press, it has also prepared the materials for the city radio. The Sevastopol group offers to conduct the action for the protection of A. Ovsiannikov. Ovsiannikov was condemned for many times; now he is tried for storage and selling of narcotic drugs. He stays in the preliminary prison since October 2003. Ovsiannikov is ill with TB, which is confirmed by the medical certificate issued by the medical department of the Simferopol preliminary prison. Yet, the prison administration pretends that they do not know about his disease, and he does not get the proper medical aid. The petition about sending Ovsiannikov to the hospital, presented by his advocate at the last court sitting (on 26 January 2004), was rejected by judge Martynova. The judge referred to the rules, according to which an ambulance had to be called to the prison, and the doctor of the ambulance had to make a conclusion about the state of health and about treatment. The ambulance has already come to the penitentiary, but Ovsiannikov still stays in the cell with 20 other convicts, where only one square meter is given to one person, and does not obtain any medical treatment. There are some people in the cell, who have no TB yet.

At the last court sitting Ovsiannikov asked to condemn him to death penalty in order to stop his sufferings.

We are asking our colleagues to direct letters about this situation to the Sevastopol law-enforcing organs and other instances.

To: Sevastopol prosecutor’s office, 1 Pavlichenko St., Sevastopol, 99011

Gagarinskiy district court, 3 Vakulenchuk St., Sevastopol, 99045

Preliminary prison, 10 Pushkina St., Sevastopol, 99011

The Sevastopol human rights protecting group has the information that citizen Andrey Ovsiannikov, born in 1963, stays in Sevastopol preliminary prison. Ovsiannikov is accused after Article 307, part 2 and Article 317, part 2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. He is ill with a grave disease – pulmonary tuberculosis. This disease was diagnosed on 10 October 2003 in the preliminary prison of Simferopol. Yet, since 16 October 2003 Ovsiannikov is held in the preliminary prison of Sevastopol, where the elementary conditions for the upkeep of consumptive patients are absent. Ovsiannikov stays in the cell with 20 other convicts; he has no permanent place for rest, since there is only one bunk for three persons. The cell is damp, there are bedbugs in it. Ovsiannikov gets no medical aid.

The Sevastopol human rights protecting group is utterly worried with the violations of the Constitution of Ukraine and the Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms committed against A. Ovsiannikov. Holding of a person in custody without rendering him the proper medical aid may be regarded as inhumane treatment, which violates Article 28 of the Ukrainian Constitution, Article 3 of the Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and a number of other international documents.

The Sevastopol human rights protecting group turns to you with the appeal to use all opportunities for immediate cessation of the violations of A. Ovsiannikov’s fundamental rights, guaranteed by the Ukrainian Constitution and international documents on human rights.

Olga Vilkova
e-mail: [email protected]

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