Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic Daria Morozova commented on the transfer of convicts that took place on 13 December. “Today we unilaterally handed over pre-conflict detainees who expressed the desire to continue serving their sentence in the territory of Ukraine Most of them are citizens of other regions of Ukraine, so we unilaterally transferred them to the Ukrainian side to ensure that they can fully enjoy their rights. Everything went well today. 13 persons have been transferred as well as one criminal file that is being reviewed in Court of Mariupol,” she said.
According to Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic, the transfer procedure has been blocked by the Ukrainian side for about 9 months. “We have successfully ensured that today Ukrainian Ombudsman Ms Denisova and her assistants were present at the contact line. She personally accepted all who expressed the desire to continue serving their sentence in the territory of Ukraine. Now we are going to prepare 50 more persons for the next transfer in a month,” Daria said.
She added that she has been fruitfully cooperating with the former Ukrainian Ombudsman Valeria Lutkovskaya for three years. “We have done a lot. I would like the same results with Ms Denisova. I hope we will find common ground and establish cooperation on human rights issues,” DPR Ombudsman says.
A prerequisite to the transfer of pre-conflict detainees who expressed the desire to continue serving their sentence in the territory of Ukraine, was the fact that their families cannot visit persons who serve their sentences in penitentiaries of the DPR for objective reasons (health condition, the need to look after children or dependants, are afraid to go to the conflict zone etc.) The transport blockade by Ukraine and a burdensome permit system deprived hundreds of families of the possibility to keep contact with their relatives staying in the DPR.
Also, Daria Morozova raised the issue of the POWs’ exchange. “At the last meeting in Minsk, we have put forward a proposal to perform the exchange under the formula “all confirmed for all confirmed” on 27 December. There is still no response from the Ukrainian side. Moreover, according to them, they can only prepare criminal files of the people. This means they are going to change the measure of restraint, to find a legal way to release these people. So, they are not going to close the criminal cases. We do not accept this condition. According to Minsk Agreements, people must have a clean criminal record. “We are ready to perform the exchange at any moment provided that all conditions are met,” DPR Ombudsman underlined.