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Russian Court Sentences Melitopol Mother and Two Others on Fabricated Terrorism Charges

Russian Court Sentences Melitopol Mother and Two Others on Fabricated Terrorism Charges
Source: Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

The Russian court has sentenced three Ukrainians to lengthy prison terms for alleged involvement in a non-existent terrorist plot, reported by Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group.

The three, Yanina Akulova, Dmytro Sergieiev, and Anton Zhukovsky, were all abducted from the Russia-occupied city of Melitopol last year. Their supposed “confessions” were filmed well before Russia even acknowledged holding them prisoner.

The Southern District Military Court in Rostov convicted the trio of “involvement in a terrorist group created by Ukraine’s Security Service.” The charges stemmed solely from confessions reportedly extracted through torture. The court, known for its harsh treatment of Ukrainian political prisoners, sentenced Sergieiev and Zhukovsky to 15 years each, with the first five years in a harsh penal colony. Akulova, a mother of two young daughters, received a nine-year sentence in a prison colony.

The alleged plot involved a bomb attack at a Melitopol market, supposedly intended to “destabilize the activities of the Russian Federation authorities.” However, earlier reports accused the Ukrainians of bombing a car carrying high-ranking Russians, a claim now absent from the official charges.

Akulova’s family reports that she was held incommunicado for six weeks before being forced to sign documents under torture, with methods including electric currents passed through the body, mock executions and beatings. Sergieiev and Zhukovsky are believed to have endured similar treatment. All three are currently held in Moscow prisons, with Akulova reportedly subjected to solitary confinement.

The convictions have been met with international outrage. It’s been repeatedly reported that Russia has systematically targeted civilians throughout its invasion of Ukraine, while there is no evidence of similar attacks by Ukrainian forces. The sentencing of these three innocent Ukrainians is seen as yet another example of Russia’s disregard for international law and basic human rights.

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