Release Igor Koktysh!


At a press conference on Thursday 25 June, human rights defenders and Igor Koktysh’ Ukrainian wife called for the Belarusian activist’s release. An appeal was presentedl, addressed to the Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko and President Yushchenko, calling for the 29-year-old’s release from the Simferopol SIZO [remand centre] where he has been held for 24 months because the Belarusian authorities are seeking his extradition. The appeal has been endorsed by 70 representatives of Ukrainian human rights organizations, and a letter was also presented from Amnesty International.

Iryna Tiutiunnyk, Igor’s wife, explained that her husband had been one of the leaders of a youth informal movement. As reported here already, 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 Koktysh was detained in Simferopol in June 2007 and remanded in custody for 40 days, due to a request for his extradition. It is now June 2009. According to Iryna Tiutiunnyk, Igor recognized among those detaining him a Belarusian police colonel who had on a number of occasions taken part in dispersing peaceful demonstrations in Minsk.

Igor Koktysh’ representative at the European Court of Human Rights Augul Mukanova told those present that their application stressed that Igor could not be sent to Belarus which still has the death penalty, and that he should be released from the SIZO immediately. She noted that there were no legislative norms permitting the holding of a person pending extradition in custody, and Ukraine is therefore acting unlawfully. The European Court of Human Rights has prohibited the extradition of Igor Koktysh pending review of his case.

From information at: 

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