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Ukraine must investigate the Leonid Razvozzhayev 'abduction' - new letter

‘It is not a criminal matter, but a matter of cooperation between law enforcement agencies about which I don’t know anything’ - Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesman

The recent abduction of Leonid Razvozzhayev from Ukraine, allegedly by Russian government agents, may have constituted a violation of the country’s obligations under international human rights law and the UN Refugee Convention and must be promptly investigated, Amnesty International said today.

Razvozzhayev, a Russian citizen and aide to Russian opposition MP Ilya Ponomaryov, was reportedly abducted from outside the offices of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a partner organisation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to which he had been referred for legal assistance and advice on asylum procedures in Ukraine.  

Last Thursday a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs said that an abduction had taken place, but that “it is not a criminal matter, but a matter of cooperation between law enforcement agencies about which I don’t know anything”.

Amnesty has already expressed its grave concerns to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation over allegations made by Razvozzhayev that he was subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.
In a recent letter (26 October) sent to Ukraine’s General Prosecutor Pshonka Viktor Pavlovych, Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia Deputy Director David Diaz-Jogeix has said:

“Under international law, Ukraine is obliged to carry out an investigation into the allegations of torture and other ill-treatment made by Leonid Razvozzhayev, reportedly by state agents of the Russian Federation.

“Given Ukraine’s past involvement in forced returns of refugees, and the ambiguity of the statements of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, Amnesty International is concerned that Ukraine may have been involved in this incident. If so, it may be in breach of its obligations under international law.

“It would appear that, rather than request extradition, the Russian authorities chose to forcibly return Leonid Razvozzhayev to the Russian Federation, bypassing any judicial or administrative process.

“Under international law, it is illegal to transfer people from one country to another without any kind of judicial or administrative process.

“State agents do not stand above the law. Like everyone else, they are subject to the law and therefore any allegations of illegal acts of this nature by state agents must be promptly, impartially, thoroughly and effectively investigated.”

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