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“Such sadism and inexplicable cruelty should be punished…” | Articles

The Supreme Court recognized the Ukrainian paramilitary nationalist association “Azov” as a terrorist organization and banned its activities in Russia. The court heard experts who collected facts and evidence of the war crimes of the “Azovites”. Evidence of their inhuman treatment of the inhabitants of the DPR, LPR and Ukraine is also at the disposal of Izvestia. The decision of the Russian Armed Forces will change the status of the captured Azov militants, and will become an aggravating circumstance for them on the eve of the upcoming trial, experts say. In addition, criminal cases initiated against members of this formation on charges of extremism can now be reclassified to a more serious article – “terrorism”.

Witnesses to crimes

On Tuesday, August 2, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation recognized the Ukrainian paramilitary formation “Azov” as a terrorist organization. The corresponding proposal, in accordance with Russian law, was prepared by the FSB, after which it was sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office. She, in turn, filed a lawsuit. Given the international nature of the organization, the claim was considered by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.

Prior to this, Azov was recognized as an extremist organization, while the current decision is the next stage, finally taking the association out of the legal legal field.

The case took half a day. Before making a decision the court listened to the testimonies of experts – human rights activists, journalists who have repeatedly visited the LPR and DPR and personally experienced the consequences of the crimes of the “Azov”. The process was partially closed – media representatives watched what was happening from the broadcast room.

Journalist and writer Marina Akhmedova spent the last three months in Donbass as a member of the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation. She collected facts and evidence of war crimes, recorded the death of people from shelling in queues for humanitarian aid. In court she cited evidence of torture and killings of civilians by Azov militants, accompanying her story with the names of the victims, as well as video recordings with testimonies from residents of Mariupol and Volnovakha. They described how a Ukrainian tank fired through an apartment window in Mariupol, killing three children and a grandmother, and injuring their mother. In total, Akhmedova spoke about ten episodes when civilians were killed, as well as about the torture of captured DPR and Russian military.

“I have collected numerous testimonies of torture, executions by Azov militants of civilians, torture that cannot be explained by the fact that we are enemies. All these events testify to sadism and inhuman, inexplicable cruelty. All this is commonplace for Donbass, but I am convinced that this should be punished so that civilized humanity can survive, Akhmedova told the court.

During the meeting, they also heard the testimony of another witness – historian and publicist, coordinator of the Information Group on Crimes Against the Person (IGCP) Alexander Dyukov. He said that The “Azov movement”, which includes the Azov regiment, in its modern organizational forms arose in Ukraine after the February 2014 coup d’état on the basis of the neo-Nazi organizations Patriot of Ukraine (PU) and the Social-National Assembly (SNA). Some members of these groups took leadership positions in the new movement and became the ideologists of the “treatment of the national body” and “racial cleansing of the nation” (an excerpt from one of the quotes given by Dyukov during his speech). Such statements are contained in the ideological writings of members of the movement and date back to 2007.

“They ransomed their son for $10,000”

According to Alexander Dyukov, the wording “terrorist” is fully applicable to the activities of the “Azov Movement”, as well as the PU and SNA that preceded it.

– The ideological program of these two associations, without a doubt, is extremist and neo-Nazi in nature, which manifests itself in extreme biological racism, plans for the legal segregation of other races and peoples, the denial of democracy, morality and international law. This program was inherited after 2014 by the Azov Movement, the expert said.

Georgy Volkov, a human rights activist and chairman of the Public Monitoring Commission of Moscow, also spoke before the court. He was recently in Donetsk and Mariupol, talked a lot with residents of the DPR and LPR.

Izvestia also has testimonies from Donetsk residents who had experience of clashes with Azov back in 2014. These are former prisoners who went through the secret prison “Biblioteka”, which was organized by “Azov” and the SBU on the territory of the Mariupol airport.

– At the end of August 2014, I was detained in the city center, taken to a simulated execution, and after that – to the Mariupol airport. Olga Seletskaya, a resident of Donetsk, told Izvestiya. – They used torture on me – suffocation and drowning, during all this I heard their call signs – the Butcher and the Doctor, who tortured me. Then I was sent to the basement of the SBU, where I stayed for three days and saw many more people with signs of torture and torment. I was also tortured with electric current, I was severely beaten in the investigator’s office, I had a broken rib. Some people were hung on a rack, after which people became disabled.

Another former prisoner, Mikhail Shubin, was subjected to similar torture. – he told about this in an interview with Izvestia. In his story, the nicknames of the Butcher and the Doctor also sounded, which he called the “regular executioners” of the “Azov”. It was they who were engaged in sophisticated torture of prisoners, he specified.

– A representative of Azov came to my house and offered to go to them, train fighters. I refused and said that this was not my war, and I had already served mine. I was arrested, put in a refrigerator. They beat me, intimidated me, I lay in a pit with corpses, they shot me – they put me against the wall and shot over my head, tortured me with electric current. All this within a week. All this time I was considered missing – no one knew where I was. Then they forced me to write a receipt that we had no claims against Azov, and they took me to prison – they legalized my arrest. So I had a hope for salvation, – said Mikhail Shubin.

He added that his son was also kidnapped by the Azov people, but his wife managed to ransom him – she paid $10,000, after which he was released.

Aggravating “circumstance”

The Ukrainian nationalist formation “Azov” was rightly recognized as a terrorist organization, considers military expert Vladislav Shurygin.

“The events and the lawlessness that the “Azovites” have perpetrated in Mariupol in recent months put this regiment of the National Guard of Ukraine outside the law,” he told Izvestia. – It’s better not to talk about past years. To a certain extent, this changes the status of the captured “Azov”. The law, as you know, has no retroactive effect, so it will affect those who are now fighting under the banner of this nationalist formation. But even those “Azov” who are already in captivity and awaiting trial should know that the very belonging to this national formation is now an aggravating circumstance.

By coincidence, on the same day, On August 2, the Basmanny Court announced in absentia the verdict against Russian citizen Anton Korolyov, accused of mercenarism for participation in the Ukrainian armed group “Azov”, as well as public calls for extremism.

The court found Korolev, who is on the international wanted list, guilty under Part 1 of Article 280, Part 3 of Article 359 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and sentenced him to nine years’ imprisonment in a penal colony. The punishment will come into force from the moment of the extradition or detention of Korolyov in Russia.

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