‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Ukrainian activist Serhiy Tsygipa is a political prisoner

27 October 2023

Serhiy Tsygipa has been sentenced in occupied Crimea on charges of espionage to 13 years in a strict regime penal colony

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’, in accordance with international standards, considers Serhiy Tsygipa a political prisoner. He is being prosecuted on charges of espionage for allegedly passing information to the Ukrainian military that could be used against the security of the Russian state, but in reality for organising protests against the Russian occupation. Tsygipa’s prosecution violates his right to fair trial and the prohibition on torture.

We demand the immediate release of Serhiy Tsygipa, the dropping of all criminal charges against him and an investigation into the allegations of torture.

Who is Serhiy Tsygipa and what is the background to his case?

Serhiy Tsygipa, 62, is a journalist , writer, activist and veteran of the Ukrainian Anti-Terrorist Operation from Novaya Kakhovka in the Kherson region of Ukraine. After the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, he engaged in voluntary work, organising rallies in support of Ukraine and reporting on events in the south of the country.

On 12 March 2022 Tsygipa went missing. The same day, the Russians captured Aleksandr Tarasov who had organised rallies in Kherson. On his release, Tarasov said that, together with Tsygipa, he had initially been held in the basement of the building of the Kherson regional government before being moved to a remand prison in Crimea. There Tsygipa, along with other unlawfully detained Ukrainians, was subjected to ill-treatment and torture.

On 23 April 2022 Russian pro-government Telegram channels published a video in which Tsygipa talked about ‘provocations against the civilian population’ allegedly carried out by the Ukrainian military.

Tsygipa’s relatives only obtained official information about his whereabouts in November 2022.

In December 2022 Tsygipa was charged with espionage (Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code). He was accused of giving an officer of the Ukrainian Security Service ‘information about the location of a radio relay station that provided communications to the headquarters of the Russian armed forces.’

On 6 October 2023, the Supreme Court of Crimea sentenced Tsygipa to 13 years in a strict regime penal colony.

Why do we consider Tsygipa a political prisoner?

The evidence of torture casts doubt on Tsygipa’s ‘confession of guilt’, which was the main evidence in his prosecution.

The treatment of Serhiy Tsygipa grossly violates the provisions of the Geneva Convention with regard to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War – the right to physical integrity, humane treatment and fair trial. The very fact that he was imprisoned for nine months without charge or the opportunity to meet a lawyer raises doubts about the credibility of the evidence against him.

Tsygipa was convicted under Russian law on charges relating to an act committed on the occupied territory of Ukraine. This also contradicts the provisions of the Geneva Convention.

A detailed description of the case of Serhiy Tsygipa 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 write to Serhiy Tsygipa at the following address: 

In Russian: 295051, Республика Крым, г. Симферополь, пер. Элеваторный, 4, ФКУ СИЗО №2 УФСИН России по Республике Крым и г. Севастополю, Цыгипе Сергею Витальевичу, 1961 г.р.

In English: Serhiy Tsygipa (born 1961), Remand Prison No. 2, Russian Federal Penitentiary Service for the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, 4 Elevatorny Lane, Simferopol, Republic of Crimea,  295051.

You can also send an electronic letter via the Zonatelekom service.  

Information about making donations to support all political prisoners can be found on our website.

Translated by Rights in Russia

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