Crimean occupation regime changes prisoners’ sentences
Convicted prisoners in the Crimea are having their sentences forcibly re-qualified under Russian legislation. This will likely result in many Ukrainian prisoners losing their chance to release under amnesty.
According to Volodymyr Starenky, head of Ukraine’s State Penitentiary Service, there are around 2 thousand prisoners serving sentences imposed by Ukrainian courts. He says that there are among them people “who wish to return to Ukraine and don’t want to accept the Russian citizenship being foisted on them”.
Starenky asserts that these prisoners in fact fall under the force of the 2014 amnesty law but are not being informed of this. They are having their convictions forcibly reformulated under Russian legislation which is in breach of all international norms.
“We have held a joint working meeting with the Deputy Prosecutor General in charge of these issues, with the Ombudsperson and representatives of the Foreign Ministry. A certain mechanism has been developed for contacting these prisoners and I hope that we will be able to achieve this in the near future.”
The 2014 amnesty law was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on April 8 and proposes to amnesty those convicted between 2010 and 2014 of crimes not connected with violence.