Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 03.11.2018
Agents of the Putin regime abducted Pavlo Hryb on 24 August 2017 from Homel, Belarus. The Ukrainian student was spirited across the international frontier and has been held hostage in the Russian Federation since then. Pavlo Hryb has an acute medical condition for which he needs drugs and care. His Russian captors are denying him both. Given that the Russian Federation is invading Ukraine and is waging war against the Ukrainian people, the Putin regime is violating the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Russian officials are committing a war crime.
The Kharkiv Human Rights Group reported on November 3 that one month after Pavlo Hryb’s Russian captors ‘agreed’ to the delivery of life-saving medication, they moved their Ukrainian hostage to a different holding place and the medicines disappeared.
Pavlo Hryb has a severe blood circulation disorder for which he has required specialist treatment since early childhood. His Russian captors have refused to allow his own or any Ukrainian doctor to see him, or to have him seen by any independent specialist. The Russians have instead falsified medical information about Pavlo Hryb as an excuse to deny him essential medication. The Putin regime is directly violating the European Court of Human Rights, which since September 2017 has ordered the Russian Federation to provide Pavlo Hryb with essential medical care. The Putin regime is knowingly torturing a political prisoner, and thumbing its nose at the ECHR and the Council of Europe while doing so.
Pavlo Hryb is a student at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. He was lured to Homel, Belarus, where he was abducted by Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) agents and taken across the border – illegally – into the Russian Federation. It is believed that the Putin regime targeted him because he made pro-Ukrainian postings on the Internet.
The Russians are torturing Pavlo Hryb by denying him medical treatment. They are doing this to force him to ‘confess’ to committing terrorist acts which he could not possibly have done. The Putin regime of state terrorism is hysterical with rage that Pavlo Hryb will not betray his loyalty to Ukraine or to the truth that he is innocent.
Every Russian official involved in the kidnapping of Pavlo Hryb and sneaking him across state borders has violated international law. Every Russian official holding him hostage and torturing him by denying him medical treatment is violating the Geneva Convention and is committing a war crime.
Over a year after they kidnapped him and sneaked him across an international border, there is no evidence that agents for the Putin regime are giving vital medication to Pavlo Hryb. Now, the Russians have practiced the same trick they pull with Ukrainian political prisoners like Oleh Sentsov and Oleksander Kolchenko: they’ve shuffled him from prison to prison to lose him in the system.
Pavlo Hryb should be released immediately. Until he is freed, he must be provided with essential medical care. Every Russian official involved in the kidnapping and torture of Pavlo Hryb – from Putin on down – must be brought to justice for grave violations of international human rights law. Until they are, they must be subject to sanctions under Magnitsky laws of countries that have these measures to protect international human rights.
If the Russians get away with kidnapping and torturing somebody because they don’t like what they say on the Internet, then no one in the world is safe.