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15 June 2016

posted 14 Jun 2016, 23:36 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Jun 2016, 23:42 ]
Ukrainian Says He Was 'Tortured' In Russia As Moscow, Kyiv Exchange More Prisoners

Two Ukrainians have lambasted Russia after being freed from jail there and flown home in the second high-profile prisoner exchange in weeks, with one saying he was tortured and another predicting the two countries would be "enemies" as long as Vladimir Putin is in the Kremlin. Hennadiy Afanasyev and Yuriy Soloshenko arrived in Kyiv on June 14 three weeks after an exchange that brought Nadia Savchenko back to Ukraine after nearly two years in custody in Russia, whose jailing of the military aviator and other Ukrainians has been criticized by the United States, the European Union, and international rights groups. They were pardoned by Putin and exchanged for two people -- also Ukrainians -- who were in Ukrainian custody on charges related to their alleged support for pro-Russian separatism. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [14 June 2016]

See also:

Freed Ukrainian Political Prisoner: Sanctions Against Russia Must Continue to Free Others

74-year-old Yury Soloshenko, the oldest of the men taken prisoner in Russia during the months after the invasion of Crimea and military conflict in Donbas, is finally back in Ukraine. He and Gennady Afanasyev, who was tried on the same fabricated ‘terrorism’ charges as Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov were exchanged for Yelena Glishinskaya and Vitaly Didenko, who had been in custody for around a year on separatism charges over their role in a Russian-sponsored so-called ‘People’s Council of Bessarabia’. In their first address after arriving back in Ukraine, both men spoke of their gratitude for the support they had received. "You can’t imagine what it’s like after something like that to return home”, Soloshenko said, adding: “We must do everything so that those of our citizens who are now in Russian prisons can also return home. They also hope for your help, and I believe that they will be with us”. Gennady Afanasyev also spoke of the need for the West to continue sanctions. The sanctions, he is convinced, made it possible for him to return home. “I went through torture and pain and saw how others were subjected to that. I would ask you to not reject sanctions, to continue that policy and not change anything.” That way, he said, there was hope that Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and others would also be returned. Interfax reports that both Soloshenko and Afanasyev are to undergo hospital treatment in Kyiv. Soloshenko was diagnosed months ago with cancer, while Afanasyev is suffering from a blood infection which was not properly treated. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [Author: Halya Coynash]