Write to Russia: Bohdan Ziza – sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for protesting against Russia’s war on Ukraine

On 6 June 2023, the court sentenced Bohdan Ziza to 15 years’ imprisonment on charges of vandalism, terrorism, threatening to commit a terrorist act, and incitement of terrorism for an anti-war protest in front of the city government building in Yevpatoria and for publishing a video of the event. The court ordered that Ziza serve the first four years of his sentence in a cell-type prison and the remainder in a strict regime penal colony (with, in addition, a subsequent ban on administering websites for two years).

Bohdan Ziza is a 30-year-old graffiti artist from Yevpatoria in Crimea who has both Ukrainian and Russian citizenship. On the night of 16 May 2022, Ziza poured blue and yellow paint on the wall of the Yevpatoria city government building and threw two Molotov cocktails at the building. One struck a window but did not catch fire, the second shattered on the exterior wall. The fire was quickly extinguished and caused no serious damage. Ziza subsequently posted a video of the protest on social media. In the video, he addressed city officials: ‘Until you speak out against the war, protests like this will continue in the city, and how soon I move on from the buildings to you personally depends only on you.’ Ziza also called on other artists to speak out against the war.

Ziza was convicted of vandalism motivated by political hatred or enmity (Article 214, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code); terrorism (Article 205, Part 1); threatening to commit a terrorist act (Article 205, Part 1); and incitement of terrorism (Article 205.2, Part 2). Memorial has recognised Bohdan Ziza as a political prisoner on the grounds that his prosecution violated his right to fair trial and the severity of his sentence was politically motivated. The organisation has called for Ziza’s conviction to be quashed, all criminal charges of terrorism against him be dropped, and his case be retried in a fair hearing.

Being against the war should not be interpreted as a manifestation of political hatred or hostility. Protesting the Russian invasion of Ukraine is socially useful. Ziza was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment on the charge of vandalism ‘motivated by political hatred’: without this motive he would not have faced imprisonment at all. Ziza’s protests cannot be classified as ‘terrorist’ offences. They were not intended to intimidate the general public. As he stated in his videos and his testimony, his motivation was to protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Calling for protests against the war cannot be regarded as incitement of terrorism. Finally, Ziza’s appeal to officials cannot be classified as a threat to commit a terrorist act. Abstract in nature, it was not aimed at intimidating the public in general.

Memorial, 29 May 2024

Write to Russia – Write to Bohdan Ziza

The Russian penal system does not allow any messages to prisoners that are written in foreign languages, but Write to Russia is here to help you. To write to Bohdan Ziza to show your support for him, please send your letters as an email to us at: letters-to-prisoners@protonmail.com. We shall translate the letters into Russian for you and, depending on your request, either mail the translated letters on your behalf to Bohdan Ziza or return the letter to you by email for posting in an envelope with an address written in Russian. If we send the letter on your behalf, we ask that you compensate us for the cost of postage from the UK (currently £2.50 – $3.14; €2.92). To learn more about our letter writing project, click here: Write to Russia.

The address to write to Bohdan Ziza is:

600020, Владимир, ул. Большая Нижегородская, д. 67, ФКУ Т-2 УФСИН России по Владимирской области, Зизе Богдану Сергеевичу, 1994 г. р.

If you would like to write to another person unjustly deprived of liberty in Russia, the project Write to Russia has so far highlighted the following cases:

  1. Sasha (Aleksandra) Skochilenko – imprisoned for peaceful anti-war protest – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-2/
  2. Mikhail Zhilin – imprisoned for refusing to fight against Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-3/
  3. Aleksei Arbuzenko – imprisoned for protesting the war against Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-4/
  4. Aleksei Navalny – imprisoned for peaceful participation in electoral politics – died in custody – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-5/
  5. Evgeny Zinich- imprisoned for his faith – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-6/
  6. Alsu Kurmasheva – held on remand for her work as a journalist – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-7/
  7. Bakhrom Khamroev – imprisoned for his political and religious beliefs and human rights work – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-8
  8. Andrei Kapatsyna – imprisoned for his religious beliefs and refusing to fight in Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-9
  9. Gregory Vinter – imprisoned for speaking out about the killings in Bucha and Irpen – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-10
  10. Aleksei Gorinov – imprisoned for exercising his right to freedom of expression – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-11/
  11. Vladimir Kara-Murza – imprisoned for exercising his right to freedom of expression – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-12/
  12. Darya Poliudova – imprisoned for exercising her right to freedom of expression – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-13/
  13. Ilya Yashin – Ilya Yashin – imprisoned for speaking out about Russian war crimes in Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-14/
  14. Appaz Kurtamet – imprisoned on fabricated charges of ‘financing an illegal armed group’ by a Russian-controlled court in occupied Crimea – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-15/
  15. Vyacheslav Malakhov – remanded in custody for criticising Putin for launching the war against Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-16/
  16. Maria Ponomarenko – imprisoned for sharing information about the Russian attack on the Mariupol theatre – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-17/
  17. Grigory Melkonyants – held on remand for his work monitoring elections – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-18/
  18. Daniil Stepanov – imprisoned for anti-war ‘vandalism’ and ‘cooperation with ‘foreign organisations’ – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-19/
  19. Evgenia Berkovich – a theatre director held on remand on charges of ‘justifying terrorism’ in violation of the right to freedom of expression – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-20/
  20. Svetlana Petriychuk – a playwright held on remand on charges of ‘justifying terrorism’ in violation of the right to freedom of expression – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-21
  21. Oleg Orlov – prominent human rights defender imprisoned for exercising the right to freedom of expression – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-22
  22. Nariman Dzhelyal – Crimean Tatar activist imprisoned on false charges – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-23/
  23. Eduard Sharlot – a musician remanded in custody for criticising Russia’s war against Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-24/
  24. Darya Kozyreva – remanded in custody on charges of ‘discrediting’ the Russian army – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-25/
  25. Evgeniya Maiboroda – imprisoned for five and a half years on charges of ‘discrediting the Russian army’ – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-26/
  26. Ukrainian citizens Volodymyr Udovyka, Volodymyr Linnyk, Viktoriia Tkachenko and Nataliia Prydatchenko – imprisoned in violation of the Geneva Conventions – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-27/
  27. Nadezhda Buyanova – remanded in custody on charges of spreading ‘fake news’ about the Russian military –https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-28/

Leave a Reply