25 May 2016
New York, NY (UCCA) - The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the representative organization of over one million Americans of Ukrainian descent, joins Ukrainians and defenders of liberty worldwide in celebrating the release of Iraq War Veteran, Ukrainian Air Force pilot, and Member of Ukraine’s Parliament, Lt. Nadiya Savchenko. Breaking all international convention, this delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe had been held in detention by Russian authorities since her abduction on June 17, 2014.
The stunning international abduction, imprisonment and unlawful prosecution of Nadiya Savchenko by Russia clearly violated human rights standards, and her treatment as a prisoner of war was in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. Human Rights Watch called her show-trial "unsound”; “Simply put, Nadiya Savchenko did not get a fair trial,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
Throughout this harrowing period, numerous U.S. leaders spoke out in public against Lt. Savchenko’s detainment, for which we express our gratitude. At the same time, over 100 political prisoners are still illegally detained by Russia’s invading forces and we call on the world to demand their immediate release as well.
Earlier this morning, Ervin Ibrahimov, a member of the regional Crimean Tatar Mejlis in Bakhchysarai, was reported missing after his abandoned car was discovered in the middle of a road. Mr. Ibrahimov is one of dozens of indigenous Crimean Tatars who have been imprisoned by Russian authorities since the invasion and illegal occupation of Crimea. The world must condemn these actions and call for the release of ALL of Putin’s political prisoners.
Lt. Savchenko’s journey back to freedom is not yet complete. After months of psychological torture and physical degradation, following some of the most extensive hunger strikes by a political prisoner, Lt Savchenko is in need of proper medical attention, and the UCCA will seek to make sure that this is provided for her. She will be carrying many physical and mental scars following the tortures inflicted upon her by Putin's regime. The full account of Lt. Savhcenko's treatment while a prisoner of Russia must be made public, and those responsible for violating her rights must be brought to justice.