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Startseite Urgent Actions 2022 07 Jailed Ukrainian denied urgent medical care Ukrainian’s appeal rejected
FI 064/22-2
Aktiv seit 7. März 2023 | Noch 35 Tage Laufzeit

Ukrainian’s appeal rejected

AI-Index: EUR 46/6522/2023

On 7 February, the Buryatia Supreme Court rejected Oleksandr Marchenko’s appeal against an administrative fine for «discreditation of the Russian armed forces». He will appeal this decision. Following his appeal, the penal colony authorities incarcerated him in a confinement cell for six months on spurious grounds. He is still denied contact with his partner. On 17 February, he was transferred to a penal colony FKU IK-2 in Buryatia’s capital Ulan-Ude.


Ukrainian citizen Oleksandr (Aleksandr) Marchenko told his lawyers that in December 2018 he travelled from Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, via Russia to Donetsk, in Russia-occupied eastern Ukraine, on personal business. On 18 December 2018, he was abducted by masked men when crossing back into Russia. According to Oleksandr Marchenko, the men put a bag over his head, took away his mobile phone and other personal belongings, and drove him to a secret prison belonging to the so-called «Donetsk People’s Republic» (DNR). There he was held incommunicado in the basement, in a cell without windows, bed, toilet or running water. From the first day of his abduction Oleksandr Marchenko was subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including electrocution, until he agreed to read out his self-incriminating «confession» on video.

On 18 February 2019, he was made to sign papers that he had no complaints against the «Ministry of State Security of the DNR», was driven to the Russian border and was handed over to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). The FSB officers put a bag over Oleksandr Marchenko’s head and drove him for several hours to the Krasnodar Regional FSB Headquarters. There, he was questioned about a man whom he says he had never met. Oleksandr Marchenko told his lawyers that after the questioning, FSB officers took him to a police station where he spent the following night. Based on a fabricated record of an administrative offence, drawn by the police, a court ruled the next day to have Oleksandr Marchenko detained for 10 days. Subsequently, the police fabricated two more administrative cases against Oleksandr Marchenko – each time on the day when he would have been released for serving in full his previous administrative detention (on 1 March 2019 and 16 March 2019), and he continued to be kept in custody.

During his arbitrary administrative detention, FSB officials, together with «security officials» from the «DNR», repeatedly interrogated Oleksandr Marchenko and made him sign a «confession». They made threats against him and his family and denied him access to a lawyer. On 1 May 2019, Oleksandr Marchenko was remanded by a court accused of smuggling contraband, initially for two months. This detention was subsequently extended several times. On 6 December 2019 Oleksandr Marchenko was charged with espionage. On 26 November 2020, the Krasnodar Regional Court found Oleksandr Marchenko guilty under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code («Espionage») and sentenced him to ten years’ imprisonment in a strict regime penal colony. His appeals were rejected.

In 2016, Oleksandr Marchenko had his thyroid removed due to cancer. Following the surgery, he requires daily medication, monthly blood tests and other medical examinations once every three months. However, since he was deprived of his liberty in 2018, he had only had one blood test privately arranged by his family in July 2021. According to Oleksandr Marchenko’s lawyers, on at least two occasions he was denied the medication he requires by the penitentiary authorities for extended periods. First, in April-May 2021, while he was being held in remand centre SIZO-1 and penal colony IK-14 in Krasnodar, and from 12 to 28 December 2021 while being held in SIZO-1 in Ulan-Ude, Buryatia. Being deprived of his vital medication has caused a significant deterioration of his health. Currently, in penal colony IK-8, he is denied the regular tests he requires, while the vital medication has to be supplied by his family at their own cost. The denial of medical care may amount to torture or other ill-treatment. According to Oleksandr Marchenko’s lawyers, the administration of SIZO-1 in Ulan-Ude issued death threats against him and threatened him with sexual violence. He was also reportedly placed in a punishment cell for 15 days with a man who had tuberculosis, for trying to contact the Ukrainian Consul. In 2022, the administration of the penal colony IK-8 placed him in punishment or confinement cells at least eight times and denied him contact with his partner.

Amnesty International and other organizations monitoring human rights have documented cases of individuals deprived of their liberty by the so-called «Ministry of State Security» in Russia-occupied eastern Ukraine who placed them in secret detention and subjected them to torture and other ill-treatment in order to extract a forced «confession», which was then used for their «conviction».

For more details about such practices, please see the joint report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch:
You Don’t Exist: Arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and torture in eastern Ukraine

On 4 March, new legislation was adopted penalizing «dissemination of deliberately false information» about the Russian armed forces (Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code) and «discreditation» of the Russian Armed Forces (Article 280.3 of the Criminal Code and Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences). Anyone accused of committing these «crimes» could face extortionate fines or a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Over the following three days, more than 140 people were detained under the new law effectively banning the word «war» and calls for peace. As of December, there were over 180 and 100 criminal cases, respectively, under these charges and at least 5,518 administrative prosecutions for «discreditation». Those who have faced administrative penalties for «discreditation» could face criminal charges next time.

Take action

  • Write an appeal in your own words or use the model letter below.

  • Please take action before 2 May 2023.

  • Preferred language: Russian, English. You can also write in your own language.

Model letter

Dear Prosecutor,

I am writing to you to express my deep concern about the administrative proceedings against the Ukrainian citizen Oleksandr Marchenko for «discreditation of the Russian Armed Forces» and his persecution and harassment by the authorities of penal colony FKU IK-8 where he was serving a ten-year sentence.

On 7 February the Buryatia Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Ulan-Ude Oktyabrsky District court finding Oleksandr Marchenko in violation of Article 20.3.3 (1) of the Code of Administrative Offence and issuing a fine. He denies allegations of discreditation.

I am further concerned that the authorities of the penal colony FKU IK-8, where Oleksandr Marchenko had been imprisoned until his transfer to penal colony FKU IK-2 on 17 February, repeatedly subjected him to arbitrary disciplinary incarcerations on spurious grounds. For instance, on 31 August 2022, he was placed in a confinement cell for six months allegedly for refusing to participate in the cleaning of the premises. Following his appeal against the administrative proceedings, the authorities placed him in a confinement cell on spurious grounds for further six months. Besides, the IK-8 penal colony authorities denied Oleksandr Marchenko contact with his partner. Furthermore, according to Oleksandr Marchenko’s family, he was not provided with the urgent medical care he needs, including daily medication, monthly blood tests and other medical examinations once every three months to monitor his thyroid condition. The vital medication has to be supplied by his family at their own cost. The denial of medical care may amount to torture or other ill-treatment. The circumstances of his case and the manner of his treatment at penal colony FKU IK-8 gives grounds to believe that the administrative case against him was fabricated and that he is being persecuted because of his nationality.

I urge you to ensure that Oleksandr Marchenko is not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment at penal colony FKU IK-2, that he is released from confinement cell, that he is provided with the medical care he requires, and that his allegations of ill-treatment are promptly, effectively and impartially investigated.

Yours sincerely,


Appeals to

Mikhail Yurievich Filichev Acting
Prosecutor of the Republic of Buryatia
23a, Borsoeva Street
Republic of Buryatia
Russian Federation

Best way to reach the target:
Fax: +7 3012 21-76-75 / ... 21-14-10 / ... 21-44-98



Arkadiy Aleksandrovich Gostev
Director of Federal Penal Service
14, Zhitnaya Street
Moscow 119049
Russian Federation
Fax: +7 495 982 1950

Salutation: Dear Director of the Penal Service,

Russian Ombudsperson:
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation
Tatiana Nikolaevna Moskalkova,
Smolenskiy Bulvar, 19, stroenie 2,
Moscow 119121
Russian Federation
Salutation: Dear High Commissioner,

Copies to

Botschaft der Russischen Föderation
Brunnadernrain 37
3006 Bern

Fax: 031 352 55 95




Response on your appeal/letter

It might be that you will receive a reply to your appeal letter. You do not have to answer to it by yourself, but we would be grateful if you would send us this letter. Ideally scanned by e-mail to We forward the replies to the relevant research team (via Amnesty's International Secretariat). The colleagues analyze the content and decide on how to proceed, which may be reflected in a Further information.

Incidentally, we do not fear any consequences for UA activists in Switzerland. However, it makes sense to consider not to wrtite a letter if you intend to travel to the country (or have family there). This applies above all to «problematic» and repressive countries. (Russia, Turkey, China, ...)

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