Halya Coynash.Nadiya Savchenko
Nadiya Savchenko, the Ukrainian officer held in a Russian SIZO or pre-trial detention centre since her capture by Kremlin-backed militants and abducted to Russia is to face a forced psychiatric examination in the notorious Serbsky Institute in Moscow. In a statement passed to her lawyer, Savchenko has condemned the psychiatric examination as illegal and said that she will be refusing to give any testimony, answer any questions etc.
She clearly states that she “was illegally abducted from Ukraine, unlawfully brought to the Russian Federation and is being held here illegally. She considers the psychiatric examination to be carried out on her unlawful. She is therefore refusing to speak with the clinic staff; to give any kind of testimony; to answer any questions in writing or verbally; to fill in any forms or undergo any tests.
The Serbsky Institute gained notoriety in Soviet times for its application of punitive psychiatry and the fact that Savchenko is being placed there for a month is of grave concern. She herself categorically prohibits the use against her of any psychological or physical pressure; any substances added to food, injected or placed in her bed linen that has a psychological or physical effect
At the court hearing on Aug 27, Savchenko’s detention was again extended until Oct 30. This was the first occasion that she was brought to the courtroom, though kept enclosed in a glass cubicle.
As on all previous occasions Nadiya Savchenko demonstrated her courage and refusal to be cowered. She rejected any involvement in the death of Russian journalists and said that she did not understand what connection the Russian investigators and court had to events in Ukraine.
She also told the court: “You have no justice, you have no law. Thank God Yanukovych has gone. I will hope that Putin will also soon go.”
Savchenko was taken prisoner in the Luhansk oblast by militants from the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic on June 17 or 18. Two days later a video appeared of her being interrogated by the militants. She demonstrated courage during the interrogation and refused to provide the information the militants demanded.
On July 2 a Russian court remanded her in custody until August 30. Russia’s Investigative Committee announced on July 9 that charges had been laid against Savchenko for alleged “complicity in the group killing of two or more people carrying out official activities in a publicly hazardous manner for motives of political hatred”.
The investigators claim that in June, as a member of the Aidar Battalion, Savchenko found out the whereabouts of a group of TV Rossiya journalists and other civilians outside Luhansk, and passed these to fighters who carried out a mortar attack which killed TV Rossiya employees Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin.
They also assert that Savchenko crossed the Russian border, without any documents, pretending to be a refugee. They allege that she was initially detained to establish her identity.
This story is totally denied by Savchenko who says she was forcibly taken across the border with a bag over her head and in handcuffs. The Russian investigators’ version is also wildly implausible. More details about the holes in the case, and the use of Russian TV to try to conceal them here.
Russia has effectively abducted five Ukrainian nationals and is holding another in custody on highly suspect grounds. Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Gennady Afanasyev and Oleksy Chirny are all from the Crimea and all actively opposed Russia’s annexation of their homeland. They were arrested at different times in May and after interrogation allegedly with the use of torture were taken to Moscow where they are facing positively far-fetched ‘terrorist’ charges. Chirny has also been subjected to a Serbsky Institute ‘examination’ and the NGO Open Dialogue has expressed concern that he could be the victim of punitive psychiatry. Yury Yatsenko, a final law student from Lviv has been held in custody, supposedly awaiting deportation since May. A couple of weeks ago, the Russian authorities suddenly charged him with equally dubious charges of ‘smuggling explosives’.
Information about the court hearing and Nadiya Savchenko’s statement from Hromadskie.tv