Write to Russia: Andrei Kapatsyna – imprisoned for his religious beliefs and refusal to fight in Ukraine

Andrei Kapatsyna is an air traffic controller and evangelical Pentecostal Christian from Magadan who has been sentenced to serve two years and 10 months in a penal colony for refusing to take part in the war against Ukraine for his religious beliefs. Memorial has designated Andrei Kapatsyna a political prisoner on the grounds that his prosecution and conviction violated his rights to freedom of conscience and fair trial.

In September 2022 after the announcement of mobilization Andrei Kapatsyna was called up for military service despite the fact that airport employees have an exemption from military service, Kapatsyna was taken to a military unit. However, he then refused to go to the war zone in Ukraine, stating that he could not take up arms and shoot people because of his religious beliefs. In March 2023, Kapatsyna was charged under Article 332, Part 2.1, of the Russian Criminal Code with refusing to take part in combat operations. At his trial, Kapatsyna repeated that he could not kill people because murder is a sin. In June 2023 Kapatsyna was sentenced to two years and ten months in a low security penal colony by a military court in Vladivostok. The sentence was upheld on appeal in August 2023 by the Pacific Fleet Military Court.

Memorial has stated that Article 332 of the Russian Criminal Code, which criminalizes refusal to participate in combat operations and was adopted at the time of the announcement of ‘partial mobilization’ in September 2022, is unlawful and contradicts Article 59 of the Russian Constitution, as does the decree issued by President Putin at the same time which restricts the rights of military service personnel, unilaterally changing the terms of their contracts and denying them the right to leave military service. Article 59 of the Russian Constitution provides that a citizen can refuse to perform military service if it goes against their beliefs. Memorial comments that, ‘This right, which everyone has in every situation, takes on special significance when what is at issue is participation in a war of aggression.’

Write to Russia

To write to Andrei Kapatsyna to express your support for hIm, please send your letter as an email to us at: letters-to-prisoners@protonmail.com. We shall translate the letter into Russian for you and either, depending on your request, mail the translated letter on your behalf to Andrei or return the letter to you 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 £2.20 – $2.73; €2.52). To learn more about our letter writing project, click here: Write to Russia.

The address to write to Andrei Kapatsyna is:

685918, Магаданская область, Хасынский район, пос. Сплавная, ФКУ КП-2 УФСИН России по Магаданской области, Капацыне Андрею Андреевичу 1995 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 (Alexandra) 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 – 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

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