Belarusian activist Igor Koktysh held unlawfully in Ukraine for 2 years


Igor Koktysh has spent 24 months in the Simferopol SIZO [remand centre] because the Belarusian authorities are seeking his extradition

The 27-year-old was involved in a rock group in Belarus, as well as civic activities, including setting up a Catholic youth organization which would seem to have antagonized the authorities.

He was detained on suspicion of murdering the relative of a close friend and kept in police detention for a year and was allegedly subjected to torture and ill-treatment in order to beat a confession out of him.

The court found him not guilty on 7 December 2001 and this ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court.

After the Prosecutor General appealed against this, the trial was returned for re-trial.

Igor moved to Ukraine in 2003, initially for medical treatment. He is married to a Ukrainian.

He was arrested in Simferopol in June 2007 and remanded in custody for 40 days.

It is now June 2009.

In just a few days Ukraine, together with other countries, will be marking International Day in support of Victims of Torture.

Ukraine is already in breach of domestic legislation and international agreements by holding Igor in custody for so long. 

There is a serious threat of his being returned to a country where he could face further torture to beat out a confession to a crime a court has already found him not guilty of.

This would be a grave threat to Ukraine’s credibility as a law-based State which honours its commitments.

A meeting will be held on 26 June 2009, attended by Iryna Tiutiunnyk, Igor’s wife and Aigul Mukanova, his lawyer from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, and others.

They are supported by at least 70 Ukrainian civic organizations, and Amnesty International

in calling on the President and Prosecutor General

-          to honour Ukraine’s international commitments

-          to turn down the request for extradition

-          to release Igor Koktysh immediately.


More about Igor Koktysh can be found on the official website in his defence:

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