FSB holds ‘prophylactic talks’ on eve of Ukraine’s Independence Day
The Mobile Group of Crimean Human Rights Activists reports new cases of pressure on pro-Ukrainian activists in the Crimea. Since Aug 22 the FSB [Russian Security Service] has been holding ‘prophylactic talks’ with pro-Ukrainian activists who had posted or shared postings about Ukraine’s Independence Day on Facebook.
FSB officers have been coming to the activists’ homes without any official documents or warning and taking them to the FSB premises where they begin accusing them of the largely standard list of purported activities:
Involvement in the national Right Sector movement
Support for Ukraine’s unity
Violating Russia’s territorial integrity
After 5-6 hours of such a ‘talk’, they go back to the person’s home where they remove computer equipment, memory sticks etc. This too is without any court order. They ‘ask’ the people (or force, since they threaten them with criminal liability otherwise) to sign a form saying that they are voluntarily handing over the equipment.
They are prohibited from leaving the city up to 26-27 August) with the equipment taken away for this same period.
The pretext: the norms of Article 280-1 “Public calls to carry out actions aimed at violating the Russian Federation’s territorial integrity’ of the Russian Criminal Code which came into force on May 9, 2014. As reported, since that time calls for Russia to stop violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity and for action against the Russian annexation can face penalties ranging from a draconian fine of up to 300 thousand roubles to a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years if such calls were published in the media or Internet.
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