‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Andrei Timin is a political prisoner

18 December 2023

Andrei Timin, a military serviceman from Kirov, has been sentenced to two and a half years in a penal colony for refusing to fight in Ukraine

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’, in accordance with international standards, considers Andrei Timin a political prisoner. Andrei Timin has been convicted of refusing to participate in military hostilities for refusing to travel to the area of the so-called ‘Special Military Operation’. Timin’s criminal prosecution violated his rights to freedom of conscience and fair trial. 

We demand the immediate release of Andrei Timin and the dropping of all criminal charges against him!

What are the charges against Andrei Timin?

In March 2021, after completing his compulsory military service in Khabarovsk region, Timin signed a two-year contract to serve in the army. After the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in late February 2022, his local military command proposed that Timin take part in the military operations. However, Timin refused. No action was taken against him at that time.

In September 2022, Timin submitted a formal request that he be discharged from the army. On 19 September the order on his discharge was issued and Timin, while waiting to receive the necessary documents from the military unit, found employment and made preparations to go home to Kirov. On 17 October 2022, the order for Timin’s discharge was withdrawn and he was ‘reinstated’ in the military. He refused to accept this reinstatement, but remained at the unit because he had not been officially released.

In mid-February 2023, Timin was ordered to report to the area of the so-called Special Military Operation no later than 22 February. He refused to do so, stating that he did not want to fight.

On 28 March 2023, a criminal case under Article 332, Part 2.1, of the Russian Criminal Code was initiated against Timin. On 8 August, Krasnorechensky garrison military court in Khabarovsk region sentenced him to two and a half years in a low-security penal colony. On 25 October the sentence entered into force. 

Commenting on his sentence, Timin said: ‘I am alive. I have not killed anyone. That is what’s most important.’

Why do we consider Timin a political prisoner?

Along with a number of other repressive articles of the Russian Criminal Code, Article 332 on refusal to participate in military actions was expeditiously adopted as law on 21 September 2022, at the same time as the announcement of ‘partial mobilization’.

At the same time, a presidential decree significantly restricted the rights of servicemen and unilaterally changed the terms of their contracts. Thenceforth, they no longer were able to leave military service. This affected even those who, like Andrei Timin, actually left the army before the announcement of mobilization.

We are certain that the presidential decree cannot abrogate Article 59 of the Constitution, according to which a citizen of the Russian Federation can refuse to perform military service if this contradicts their beliefs. Everyone has this right in any situation, but it takes on a special significance when what is at issue is participation in a war of aggression. Andrei Timin stated that the reasons for his refusal to continue in military service were his unwillingness to kill, as well as the difficult situation of his family, which needed his help.

Timin’s prosecution was intended to force him to participate in ongoing military actions and, in addition, to intimidate society as a whole and prevent attempts by military servicemen to refuse to participate in the war of aggression. 

A detailed description of the case of Andrei Timin and the position of the Human Rights Project are set out on our website.

Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner does not imply the project, ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ agrees with, or approves of, their views, statements, or actions.

How can you help?

You can donate to support all political prisoners via our website.

Translated by Rights in Russia

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