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.

Imprisoned Ukrainian civic journalist Iryna Danilovych may have suffered a stroke due to Russian medical torture

Halya Coynash
Iryna Danilovich is in urgent need of medical care and the failure to provide it is the latest crime against the nurse, civic journalist and human rights defender in revenge for her courageous position

Iryna Danilovych in ’court’ 27.12.2022 Photo Crimean Process

Iryna Danilovych in ’court’ 27.12.2022 Photo Crimean Process

Ukrainian civic journalist and human rights defender Iryna Danilovich has been deprived of vitally needed medical treatment and medication for almost a year, with the prison administration in Russia refusing to even pass on the medication provided by her parents.  Independent specialists from the international NGO Physicians for Human Rights point to at very least a dangerous lack of information, especially considering the imprisoned journalist and civic activist’s acute headaches, dizziness, etc. which could indicate a stroke.  Instead, when she complained of mounting and acute headaches, she was told by a ‘medical officer’ at the Russian prison colony, Lidia Anatolievna Morozova, that the pain would pass once she became completely deaf.  When news of this became public, a doctor was called from the local hospital, but her recommendation that Danilovich be hospitalized was ignored.

According to Bronislav Danilovich, his daughter is not receiving any medication in the Russian prison colony, not even that which her parents have managed to obtain for her.  Formal inspections are carried out so that, should there be a check, the administration can claim to be carrying out ‘all necessary measures’.  Nothing more, her father asserts.

As reported earlier, Iryna has now lost hearing in her left ear, complains of constant and acute headaches and has problems with coordination.  A nurse by profession, she had every reason to recognize her symptoms and the likely consequences, if untreated, and was pleading for a proper examination from November 2022.  It is clear that the first ‘examination’, presumably carried out by the medical unit at the SIZO [remand prison] in occupied Simferopol did not identify any issues, despite her having the clear symptoms of acute otitis, or inflammation of the middle ear.

It was only after Danilovich was forced to go on a total hunger strike in protest that the SIZO administration finally agreed to get her a medical examination.  This took place on 18 April 2023, with the basic diagnosis being that of acute otitis, with this causing neurological damage, headaches, etc. and resulting in hearing loss.

Artem Hirieiev from the ZMINA Human Rights Centre reports that an otolaryngologist and neurologist from Physicians for Human Rights have examined the medical documents that Danilovich’s lawyers and family were able to obtain.  The specialists cannot, of course, reveal Iryna’s medical history, but they have pointed to at least one obvious failing.  While the diagnosis finally made in April this year appeared reasonable, no evaluation had been made as to whether the treatment ordered had been effective, nor any additional examinations ordered. This, of course, means that there is no way of determining even whether the designated treatment actually took place  

The otolaryngologist recommended that a repeat examination should be carried out, but only after an MRI scan and consultation with a neurologist. This is of particular urgency as Danilovich has constantly complained of acute headaches, dizziness, and has on several occasions lost consciousness when being transported to ‘court’ hearings.  This could point to a stroke, and clearly needs investigation now.  The otolaryngologist pointed out that the Crimean doctor who had examined Iryna on 18 April 2023 had not described her complaints of a neurologist nature, nor was it clear from the documents seen what scans, etc. had been carried out.  This is of major concern given the possibility that the symptoms that she has long suffered from could indicate a stroke.

It should be stressed that Iryna Danilovich began showing symptoms almost a year ago, with the first ‘examination’ very clearly cursory and inadequate.  Iryna is a political prisoner, and, unfortunately, medical staff, like others, within the Russian and Russian occupation system, prefer ‘to keep their head low’.

The ZMINA report identifies certain individuals who are almost certainly implicated in the medical torment to which Iryna has been subjected. 

Igor Tsarkov, was the head of the Simferopol SIZO medical unit during the relevant period, from November 2022 to April 2023, and was responsible for diagnoses and treatment.

Pavel Pavlenko, as the head of the Crimean medical section of Russia’s penal service, is directly responsible for having ignored the legitimate complaints over Tsarkov’s negligence.

Responsibility also lies with Viktor Kharchenko, the head of the SIZO and his immediate boss, Vadim Bulgakov, who is in charge of penal institutions in occupied Crimea.

‘Judge’ Natalia Kulinskaya from the occupation ‘Feodosia municipal court’, also took part in the medical torment, refusing to allow Danilovich to be taken for medical examination, because she wanted her to sign the documents saying she had acquainted herself with the file material.  This was at a time when Danilovich was seriously unwell, and made it clear that she was unable to concentrate because of the headaches and other pain she was suffering.

Kulinskaya should also be held answerable for her part in the political persecution and horrific 7-year sentence passed on 28 December 2022 against Danilovich in revenge for her civic journalism and activism.  This was the sentence demanded by ‘prosecutors’ Dmitry Lyashchenko and Yulia Matvyeya.who proved just as willing to take part in an evidently fabricated prosecution and ‘trial’.  The same is true of presiding ‘judge’ Valeria Chernetska and her two colleagues from the occupation ‘Crimean high court’ who, on 29 June 2023, only reduced the sentence by one month.

Details of why Iryna Danilovych was targeted, her abduction, torture and of fabricated charges can be found here:

Revenge sentence against Crimean civic journalist Iryna Danilovych upheld despite grotesque charges and ongoing medical torture

Please write to Iryna Danilovich!

The letters tell her that she is not forgotten, and Russia that its treatment of her is under scrutiny. Letters need to be in Russian, and on ‘safe’ subjects.  If that is a problem, use the sample letter below (copying it by hand), perhaps adding a picture or photo. Do add a return address so that she can answer.

The address below can be written in either Russian or in English transcription. 

357910 Российская Федерация, ул. Почтовая д.78, Ставропольский край, г. Зеленокумск,  ИК-7 Зеленокумск

Данилович, Ирине Брониславовне, г.р. 1979

[Or in English:

357910 Russian Federation, Pochtovaya St, No. 78, Stavropol Krai, Zelenokumsk, Women’s Prison Colony No. 7

Danilovich, Iryna Bronislavovna, b. 1979 ]

Sample letter


Желаю Вам здоровья, мужества и терпения, надеюсь на скорое освобождение. Простите, что мало пишу – мне трудно писать по-русски, но мы все о Вас помним.

[Hi.  I wish you good health, courage and patience and hope that you will soon be released.  I’m sorry that this letter is short – it’s hard for me to write in Russian., but you are not forgotten. ] 

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