Legal Case of the Week: Stanislav Klykh and Mykola Karpyuk

posted 30 Oct 2016, 00:25 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Oct 2016, 00:38 ]
On 26 October 2016 Amnesty International condemned as a ‘travesty of justice’ the ruling that day by the Russian Supreme Court to uphold on appeal the conviction of Ukrainians Stanislav Klykh and Mykola Karpyuk for killing Russian soldiers in Chechnya in the 1990s. The Supreme Court upheld sentences of 22 years in jail for Stanislav Karpyuk and 20 years for Mykola Klykh, despite that facts that the two men, who both belong to a Ukrainian right-wing nationalist group, had been denied access to lawyers of their choice for several months after their arrest in 2014, alleged that they had confessed to a series of murders after having been tortured in Russian custody, and had both provided credible evidence that they were not in the unstable region at the time.

Amnesty International reports about the case of Stanislav Klykh as follows: “Stanislav Klykh said he was forced to drink vodka until he lost consciousness, given mind-altering psychotropic drugs, hung from bars in his cell, subjected to electric shocks and kept in solitary confinement for more than a year. None of these torture allegations have been investigated. Klykh’s state-appointed lawyer was not even present when he was interrogated and later revealed that she had been on maternity leave. The torture has affected the mental health of Stanislav Klykh, who appeared severely disturbed throughout the trial, which began in October 2015. […] All requests for Stanislav Klykh to be offered an independent psychiatric examination have been refused and he has instead been declared fit to stand trial. Up to the time of his alleged torture he had no previous history of mental illness." 

Image: Human Rights in Ukraine

John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Regional Office Director, said of the case: “Russia’s case against these men defies reason. The numerous fair trial violations and the unconvincing prosecution evidence all point to a fabricated case. They were denied access to their lawyers of choice and allege that their confessions were forced from them as a result of torture. Rather than taking the opportunity to correct this blatant travesty of justice, Moscow’s Supreme Court has again overlooked the evidence and upheld the prosecution case in this propaganda-driven show trial. […] The Russian authorities must investigate the serious allegations of torture at the hands of its law enforcement personnel, as well as the denial of access to a lawyer. […] To ignore Stanislav Klykh’s medical condition, despite the evidence demonstrating his vulnerability, is cruel and inhuman. He must be assessed by an independent medical professional as soon as possible.” 

Amnesty International provides the following background to the case: "Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh were arrested, while visiting Russia, in March 2014 and August 2014 respectively. They had both been members of the Ukrainian right-wing group, the Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian Peoples’ Self Defence (UNA UNSO), which is banned in Russia. They were convicted by Chechnya’s Supreme Court in May 2016 of being members of a group of fighters that killed 30 Russian soldiers during the conflict in Chechnya from 1994–96. Both men have denied all the charges, stating that they were in Ukraine at the time of the alleged crimes. Karpyuk was caring for his dying mother who lived in a village near Rivne, Ukraine, while Klykh was a student taking exams. The conviction was based on the two men’s confessions, allegedly extracted under torture, and the testimony of one other witness, Aleksandr Malofeev, a member of UNA UNSO who is also in jail for the killings of Russian servicemen.”

Amnesty International has also issued an Urgent Action notification, calling on its members and supporters to write as follows before 8 December 2016 to the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, Yurii Yakovlevich Chaika, Prosecutor General’s Office ul. B. Dmitrovka, d.15a 125993 Moscow GSP- 3 Russian Federation Fax: +7 495 987 5841/ +7 495 692 1725 Salutation: Dear Prosecutor General 

  • Calling on the Russian authorities to review the case against Stanislav Klykh and Mykola Karpyuk in line with fair trial standards; 
  • Urging the authorities to ensure Stanislav Klykh is provided with a full mental healthcare assessment by an independent expert and that he is provided with adequate medical treatment as required; 
  • Calling on them to carry out a prompt, effective and impartial investigation into the torture allegations by Stanislav Klykh and Mykola Karpyuk. 
The organization Human Rights in Ukraine also urges that letters be sent to Stanislav Klykh and Mykola Karpyuk as follows:

'Even a single sentence or two will send an important message both to them, and to the Russian authorities, that they are not forgotten. 
The addresses at present: 
Mykola Karpyuk (in Russian Nikolai), 364037, г. Грозный, Ленинский р-он, ул. Кунта-Хаджи Кишиева, 2. Следственный изолятор №1, Карпюку, Николаю (1964)
Stanislav Klykh, 364037, г. Грозный, Ленинский р-он, ул. Кунта-Хаджи Кишиева, 2. Следственный изолятор №1, Клыху, Станиславу (1974)

Or send your letters to post.rozuznik[at], a civic initiative helping to get mail to Russian-held political prisoners They will deal with writing the envelope and sending it on. If you are unable to write in Russian, the following would be quite sufficient: Желаем здоровья, мужества и терпения, надеемся на скорое освобождение (We wish you good health, courage and patience and hope that you will soon be released).'

'Russia: Ukrainians tortured to confess to Chechnya killings lose appeal against ‘grossly unfair’ jail sentences,' Amnesty International, 26 October 2016
Halya Coynash, 'Russia’s “most monstrously falsified trial” of Ukrainians ends as commissioned,' Human Rights in Ukraine, 20 May 2016
Halya Coynash, 'Russian Supreme Court rules that alibis and historic fact don’t count,' Human Rights in Ukraine, 27 October 2016