‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Crimean activist Irina Danilovich is a political prisoner

17 February 2023

Irina Danilovich was sentenced to seven years in a Russian penal colony on charges of possessing explosives

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ an independent human rights project, considers Irina Danilovich a political prisoner in accordance with international standards. The criminal case against Danilovich was politically motivated on account of her political views and was intended to prevent her continuing her activities as an activist. Danilovich’s right to a fair trial was violated during the criminal proceedings and the case itself was based on falsified evidence.

We demand the immediate release of Irina Danilovich and that all criminal charges against her be dropped.

Who is Irina Danilovich and what are the charges against her?

Irina Danilovich is a well-known trade union activist and civic journalist in Crimea. As a health worker, she publicised the problems facing the healthcare system. Danilovich also worked with independent media outlets and developed her own information project, ‘Inside Crimean Medicine.’ In 2020, she became head of the Crimean branch of the Alliance of Doctors trade union. 

Back in 2016, FSB officers interrogated Danilovich as an activist of the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Feodosia. Most likely, her pro-Ukrainian views were the reason for her prosecution.

The Investigative Committee claims that on 29 April 2022, at a bus stop, FSB officers informed Danilovich she was suspected of treason and collaboration with the Ukrainian intelligence services (Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code), after which she allegedly voluntarily went to the FSB office in Feodosia where, during a search of her person, explosives were found in a glasses case.

According to the investigators, from that moment until 6 May, when the charges were brought, Danilovich was voluntarily on the premises of the FSB office and participated in the investigative proceedings, having neither legal status nor a lawyer. 

The charges were eventually brought for illegal possession of explosives (Article 222.1, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code).

On 28 December 2022, the Russian-controlled Feodosia City Court sentenced Danilovich to seven years in a general regime penal colony.

Why do we consider Danilovich a political prisoner?

The investigators’ version that the activist remained for almost two weeks voluntarily in the FSB building does not stand up to criticism. In our view, there is every reason to believe Danilovich’s testimony, according to which she was unlawfully detained in the basement of the FSB building where she was continuously subjected to torture and cruel treatment.

A video recording of her forcible arrest, obtained by the defence, supports Danilovich’s account. This is also confirmed by the fact that the ‘review’ by the Investigative Committee of Danilovich’s allegations of torture and unlawful detention was conducted in a purely formal manner without even interviewing Danilovich herself.

We see, therefore, that the ‘evidence’ in the case was obtained through interrogations conducted without the presence of a lawyer, without independent witnesses, without charges having been laid and without the individual being given any formal legal status. The case against Danilovich was built on the testimony of law enforcement officers, who were apparently involved in her abduction and participated in the fabrication of evidence.

Further information about this case and the position of the human rights project, ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ is available on our website.

An up-to-date list of political prisoners in Russia is also available 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 write a letter to Irina Danilovich: 

In Russian: 295006, г. Симферополь, ул. Бульвар Ленина, 4, СИЗО-1 Республики Крым, Данилович Ирине Брониславовне, 1979 г. р.

In English: Irina Bronislavovna Danilovich (born 1979), Remand Prison No. 1, 4 Lenin Boulevard, Simferopol, Republic of Crimea, 295006. 

You can also write to her using the Zonatelecom service.

You can donate to support all political prisoners via the PayPal (helppoliticalprisoners@gmail.com) or YooMoney accounts of the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners. For more information about donating, see our website.

Translated by Rights in Russia

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