war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Former Kremlin hostages put release of all Ukrainian political prisoners on the agenda

Halya Coynash
Those who stopped campaigning when Oleg Sentsov or Stanislav Aseyev were released are cordially invited to join them and other former prisoners in securing the release of all Russia's Ukrainian political prisoners

Free the Kremlin’s Hostages (an earlier march in Kyiv)

Seventeen Ukrainians who were persecuted, with most tortured and imprisoned, in Russia; occupied Crimea or Donbas have launched a platform aimed at ensuring that the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners and hostages is firmly on the agenda,  both in Ukraine and abroad.  The initiators, who include filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and the Deputy Head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, Akhtem Chiygoz, know all too well that oblivion helps only Russia.  It is Moscow who must be pressured to release the 115 political prisoners it is now holding in occupied Crimea or Russia, and who will determine whether the 250 (at least) Ukrainian POWs and civilian hostages held in the Russian-controlled Donbas ‘republics’ are freed.  While the pandemic has certainly made it harder anywhere in the world to campaign for the Kremlin’s Ukrainian hostages, it is also worryingly true that a lot of international campaigning ended in 2019, with the release of Sentsov and several other prominent figures.  This is despite Russia having immediately embarked on new arrests and without any serious dent in the number of victims of repression.

During a public presentation of this ‘Platform to Free Political Prisoners’ on 4 March, the organizers issued a statement explaining that their initiative has no political affiliation.  The Platform’s aim is to defend the rights and to ensure the release of all those imprisoned on political grounds outside Ukraine, on occupied territory and, also, within Ukraine itself.  “Our aim is to achieve justice as soon as possible for each of them.

The founders of the Platform are seventeen former political prisoners who in the past were imprisoned by the Russian regime for their struggle against Russian aggression:  Stanislav Aseyev; Volodymyr Balukh; Edem Bekirov; Akhtem Chiygoz; Pavlo Hryb; Mykola Karpyuk; Oleksandr Kolchenko; Ihor Kozlovskyy; Ihor Movenko; Yevhen Panov; Ismail Ramazanov; Mykola Semena; Oleg Sentsov; Roman Sushchenko; Oleksandr Shumkov; Ilmi Umerov and Volodymyr Zhemchugov. *

The Platform will struggle for the freedom of all Ukrainian citizens imprisoned as the result of Russian aggression: political prisoners; hostages and prisoners of war.

We also condemn the unlawful, politically motivated persecution of pro-Ukrainian activists, patriots in Ukraine.

The Platform acts solely on the basis of the norms of international law, Ukrainian legislation; the UN Statute; international conventions; judgements from international courts and resolutions from other international legal bodies.

We welcome cooperation with Ukrainian and international communities working for the release of Ukrainian political prisoners.  We would like the issue of their release to be the focus of constant public attention and to become a matter of priority, both for the Ukrainian authorities and for our friends and partners abroad.

The Platform adopts decisions on the basis of discussion among all participants, with the coordinator Ihor Hryb (father or former political prisoner, Pavlo Hryb).

In our activities, we will work to counter Russia’s aggression, struggle for the return of temporarily occupied territory and work for the freedom and independence of our country.


The statement does not specify who is meant by prisoners held in Ukraine, however Sentsov and several other former political prisoners have expressed strong doubts about the trial of well-known war veteran and musician Andriy Antonenko (Riffmaster); paediatric surgeon and military volunteer Yulia Kuzmenko and military nurse Yana Duhar. (details here).  A number of the former prisoners have also been involved in protest over the worrying sentence recently passed against civic activist, Serhiy Sternenko (details here).

Details about each of the initiators and their persecution can be found on this site.  They are not highlighted here, since the priority for them and us is the release of those political prisoners and hostages who remain in custody now.  The list below is of Crimean Tatar and other Ukrainian victims of persecution held in Russia and occupied Crimea.  Details of some of the hostages and POWs held in occupied Donbas can be found below. 

Please remember that many acts of solidarity and support need only the Internet, and messages via Twitter or social media can help to highlight the plight of political prisoners, many of whom are serving up to 20-year sentences without any crime.

Please write to at least one of the hostages below and help to ensure that people in other countries know about them.  The Russian FSB and other ‘investigators’ spend a lot of time trying to convince political prisoners that Ukraine has abandoned them, that nobody knows what they are going through, nor cares.  Even if it’s hard to write in Russian, your very letters will demonstrate that this is not the case. 

Crimean Tatar and other Ukrainian political prisoners held in occupied Crimea or Russia (press the name for more information)

The list includes several Crimean men and one woman seized in the months after Russia’s last release of Ukrainian political prisoners.  Oleh Prykhodko’s arrest and ‘trial’ were essentially a remake of the persecution of one of the Platform initiators, Volodymyr Balukh.

Oleh Prykhodko

It also became clear on 1 March that Russia’s reinstatement of the punitive psychiatry for which it was notorious in Soviet times could lead to the indefinite incarceration of Crimean Tatar rights activist, Yunus Masharipov.

Yunus Masharipov

‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’ conveyor belt prosecutions 

Fake ‘terrorism’ charges, used increasingly against civic activists and journalists and as part of Russia’s attempts to demonize Crimean Tatars.  Not one of the men was or is accused of a recognizable crime, yet several men have been sentenced to 18 or 19 years.

Sevastopol Crimean Tatars

Ruslan Zeytullaev 

(Ferat SaifullaevRustem Vaitov and Nuri Primov were released in early 2020 after serving wrongful sentences to the end )

10 May 2018           Enver Seytosmanov

Yalta Six   - the first gratuitously violent ‘operation’ on 11 February 2016, and then arrests of two very young men on 18 April 2016.            

Emir-Usein Kuku, the first human rights activist, against whom Russia used ‘Hizb ut-Tahrir’ charges, after other persecution failed to silence him.  See:

“Crimea is our land. We did not give it to Russia, nor did we sell it”

Muslim Aliev  

See: Stalin took Crimean Tatar Dilyara Alieva’s homeland and parents; Putin’s Russia has taken her son

Inver Bekirov

Vadim Siruk

Arsen Dzhepparov

Refat Alimov

Bakhchysarai Four  - four men arrested on 12 May 2016

Enver Mamutov

Rustem Abiltarov

Zevri Abseitov

Remzi Memetov

Simferopol Five   - five men, including two brothers, both of them lawyers and Ukrainian sports champions

Teymur Abdullayev

Uzeir Abdullayev

See:  “Mama, have they come to kill us?” Russia’s new-old terror and deportation of Crimean Tatars

Emil Dzhemadenov

Aider Saledinov

Rustem Ismailov

Bakhchysarai ‘Crimean Solidarity’ arrests    

Suleyman (Marlen) Asanov    19-year sentence because he refused to leave Crimea

Ernes Ametov  

Memet Belyalov: 18-year sentence for discussing religion in Russian-occupied Crimea  Timur Ibragimov   

Seiran Saliyev   sentenced to 16 years on same political changes as those against his great-grandfather in Soviet times 

Server Zekiryaev  

Server Mustafayev

Edem Smailov

14 February 2019    ‘Krasnogvardeysk group’

Rustem Emiruseinov

Arsen Abkhairov

Eskender Abdulganiev 

27 March 2019  ‘Operation’ against Crimean Tatar civic activists and journalists in which 23 men were seized and almost immediately taken to Russia.  Two other men – Rayim Aivazov and Eskender Suleymanov were arrested later.

Izet Abdulayev, actively attended politically motivated ‘court’ hearings

Tofik Abdulgaziev, Crimean Solidarity activist

Vladlen Abdulkadyrov. activist involved in organizing parcels of food, etc. for political prisoners

Medzhit Abdurakhmanov Crimean Solidarity activist

Bilyal Adilov religious figure who also actively attended politically motivated ‘court’ hearings

Rayim Aivazov  Crimean Solidarity activist

Enver Ametov  actively attended politically motivated ‘court’ hearings

Osman Arifmemetov  Crimean Solidarity civic journalist and activist

See: Bitter echoes of Stalin’s Deportation in Russia’s persecution of Crimean Tatars

Farkhod Bazarov  Crimean Solidarity activist

Akim Bekirov civic activist involved in organizing parcels of food, etc. for political prisoners

Remzi Bekirov  Crimean Solidarity civic journalist

Dzhemil Gafarov actively attended all politically motivated ‘court’ hearings.  Gafarov has a serious kidney disorder and even according to Russian law should not be in detention. 

Servet Gaziev, 15.04.1960, actively attended all politically motivated ‘court’ hearings

Riza Izetov  human rights activist and Crimean Solidarity civic journalist

Alim Karimov Crimean Solidarity activist

Seiran Murtaza  actively attended all politically motivated ‘court’ hearings. He has two children.

Yashar Muyedinov  Crimean Solidarity activist

Erfan Osmanov actively attended all politically motivated ‘court’ hearings

Seitveli Seitabdiev  Crimean Solidarity activist

Rustem Seitkhalilov Crimean Solidarity activist

Rustem Sheikhaliev  Crimean Solidarity civic journalist

Eskender Suleymanov,  Crimean Solidarity activist.

Ruslan Suleymanov  Crimean Solidarity civic journalist and activist

Shaban Umerov Crimean Solidarity activist

Asan Yanikov  civic activist involved in organizing food parcels for political prisoners.

10 June 2019  FSB “We’ll get around to shooting you all”   

‘Belogorsk group’  - including a father and son

Aider Dzhapparov

Enver Omerov

Riza Omerov

‘Alushta Group’

Eldar Kantimirov

Lenur Khalilov

Ruslan Mensutov

Ruslan Nahaev

11 March 2020   Another ‘family prosecution’ – civic activists and their relatives

Seytumer Seytumerov

Osman Seytumerov  (the sons of renowned Crimean Tatar historian Shurki Seytumerov)

Rustem Seytmemetov  (the Seytumerovs’ uncle)

Amet Suleymanov – a Crimean Solidarity activist and journalist (streaming information about arrests and political trials onto the Internet).  He had recently restricted such civic activism, but only because of very serious heart problems.  This is one of only two cases where death in detention was presumably deemed so likely that Suleymanov was placed under house arrest.

7 July 2020  New FSB low, with arrest of a blind man with limited mobility and many others.  At least four of the men Vadim Bektemirov; Alexander Sizikov; Alim Sufianov and Emil Ziyadinov all took part in measures to help political prisoners and ensure circulation of information about such repression

Vadim Bektemirov

Ismet Ibragimov

Seiran Khairedinov

Zekirya Muratov

Alexander Sizikov(placed under house arrest due to his severe disability, but Russia is still trying to claim that he “led a Hizb ut-Tahrir cell”)

Alim Sufianov

Emil Ziyadinov 

17 February 2021  New offensive against civic activists with the armed searches evidently only for so-called ‘prohibited literature’ 

Azamat Eyupov  

Oleh Fedorov

Ernest Ibragimov 

Lenur Seydametov 

Yashar Shikhametov 

Timur Yalkabov

Other religious persecution

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Serhiy Filatov

Artem Gerasimov

Yevhen Zhukov

Volodymyr Maladyka

Volodymyr Sakada

Ihor Schmidt

‘Ukrainian Saboteur’ cases without any acts of sabotage or proof 

Andriy Zakhtei

Oleksiy Bessarabov

Volodymyr Dudka

Dmytro Shtyblikov

Hennady Lymeshko  

Kostyantin Davydenko 

Denis Kashuk

Mystery ‘spying’

Valentin Vyhivsky  Imprisoned since September 2014

Viktor Shur

Leonid Parkhomenko  

Vladimir Morgunov

Halyna Dovhopola   Russian occupiers of Crimea puts 66-year-old Ukrainian on trial for ‘state treason’

Oleksandr Marchenko  Russia sentences Ukrainian political prisoner to 10 years after abducting him from Donbas

Konstantin Shyrinha

Vasyl Vasylenko  

Ivan Yatskin

Punishment for Euromaidan or for opposing Russia’s annexation of Crimea

Mykola Shyptur  imprisoned since March 2014

Oleksiy Chyrniy 

Andriy Kolomiyets   

Accused of membership in Ukraine of perfectly legal organizations which Russia demonizes, including the Noman Çelebicihan (or Asker) Battalion which, despite its name, is not an armed formation

Maxim Filatov

Fevzi Sahandzhy

Edem Kadyrov

Dilyaver Gafarov

Aidyn Mamutov

Nariman Mezhmedinov

Medzhit Ablyamitov

Other Ukrainian political prisoners

Rustem Abilev

Serhiy Buhaichuk

Yevhen Karakashev

Ihor KIyashko

Maxim Sokurenko 


Hostages and POWs in occupied Donbas

Tortured and jailed or killed for the Ukrainian Flag and for supporting Ukraine in occupied Donbas


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