Memorial recognizes Nadiya Savchenko as a political prisoner
The Memorial Human Rights Centre which the Kremlin is trying to close has declared Ukrainian officer Nadiya Savchenko a political prisoner. This was reported by Mark Feygin, the lawyer representing Savchenko who has been held in detention in Russia since being captured by Kremlin-backed militants in Ukraine. Feygin even suggests that this could be not the least of the grounds for the current campaign against Memorial. A direct link with that one decision seems unlikely as the campaign against Memorial has clearly been prepared for some time as the defamatory programme on the pro-Kremlin NTV showed (more details here). On the other hand, Memorial’s clear position with respect to politically motivated criminal charges against Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov and the other Crimeans accused of ‘terrorism’, as well as its strong opposition to Russian aggression against Ukraine, may have been a factor in this latest serious offensive.
The USA has also demanded the release of Savchenko and Sentsov. During a visit to Ukraine last week, Victoria Nuland from the US State Department called the release of Nadiya Savchenko one of the conditions for the removal of economic sanctions against Russia.
Feygin also reports that the Russian Investigative Committee has refused to include evidence proving Savchenko’s innocence to the case. “The grounds are incredible and have no relation to the law”. The IC has claimed that the evidence does not have ‘legal force’.
It is possible, Feygin writes on Twitter, that the next court hearing on Oct 13 will be behind closed doors, with it unclear whether Savchenko will be brought to the court.
The hearing is over her appeal against forced psychiatric tests in the notorious Serbski Institute.