‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Dmytro Lisovets is a political prisoner

21 March 2024

Dmytro Lisovets, a Ukrainian citizen from Mariupol, has been sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment in a strict regime penal colony for participation in the war in Donbas in 2016-2017

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial


The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ in accordance with international criteria, considers Dmytro Lisovets a political prisoner. Lisovets was convicted on charges of participation in an illegal armed group, participation in an extremist organisation, and receiving training in terrorism, on account of his military service in the Ukrainian Volunteer Army. Lisovets’ criminal conviction violated his right to fair trial.

We demand the immediate release of Dmytro Lisovets, an end to his criminal prosecution and an investigation into his allegations of torture.

Who is Dmytro Lisovets and what were the charges against him?

In 2016-21, Ukrainian citizen Dmytro Lisovets served first in the Ukrainian Volunteer Army and then in the Ukrainian armed forces. After discharge from military service, he went to live in Mariupol.

After the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Lisovets sought to leave the destroyed city of Mariupol with his aunt. On 3 April, he was stopped at a filtration point by FSB officers. Lisovets told them that he had previously served in the Ukrainian armed forces, that he was a Ukrainian citizen and loved his city and his country. Lisovets was detained. He was initially given a short-term jail sentence on an administrative charge, but then was placed in a remand prison in Taganrog, where, he says, he was held without charge and tortured until 15 June 2022.

On 16 June 2022, Lisovets was charged with the criminal offence of participation in an illegal armed group (Article 208, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code). The FSB reported that ‘as a result of operational measures’ they had detained a member of the Right Sector’s fighting unit, the Ukrainian Volunteer Army. Subsequently, Lisovets was also charged with taking part in military action against units of the DNR in Donetsk region during 2016-2017, with participation in an extremist organisation (Article 282.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code) and with undergoing training for the purposes of terrorism (Article 205.3 of the Russian Criminal Code).

On 7 December 2023, the Southern District Military Court sentenced Lisovets to 16 years’ imprisonment, of which he is to serve the first three years in a cell-type prison and the rest in a strict regime penal colony.

Why do we consider Lisovets a political prisoner?

Russia’s criminal jurisdiction does not extend to Ukrainian citizens engaged in the lawful  activity of defending the sovereignty of their state. Moreover, in 2016-2017, even Russia did not officially recognise the DNR as an independent state.

Lisovets cannot be accused of participation in an illegal armed group. The Ukrainian Volunteer Army operates with the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in cooperation with the Ukrainian armed forces. Similarly, Lisovets cannot be charged with participation in an extremist organisation. The Ukrainian Volunteer Army is not formally part of Right Sector, an organisation designated as extremist in Russia. Nor can Lisovets be charged with training for the purposes of terrorism. He was trained in combat skills in connection with his military service and not for the purposes of carrying out terrorist activities.

A detailed description of the case of Dmytro Lisovets and the position of the Human Rights Project are available on our website.

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

How can you help?

You can write to Dmytro Lisovets at the following address:

In Russian: 344082, г. Ростов-на-Дону, ул. Большая Садовая, 31, ФКУ СИЗО-4 ФСИН России, Лисовцу Дмитрию Эдуардовичу 1992 г. р.

English translation: Dmytro Eduardovych Lisovets (born 1992), Remand Prison No. 4, Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia, 31 Bolshaya Sadovaya Street, Rostov-on-Don, 344082, Russia.

Please note that letters in languages other than Russian are highly unlikely to reach the recipient.

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


Translated by Rights in Russia