European Parliament calls to release Sentsov, Savchenko and Kolchenko (10/09/2015)

In its resolutions adopted today, the European Parliament urges Russia to release the Estonian Eston Kohver, and Ukrainians Oleg Sentsov, Nadiya Savchenko and Olexandr Kolchenko. It also calls for the release of all political prisoners in Azerbaijanand expresses “deep concern” about the human rights and fundamental freedoms situation in Belarus.

MEPs urge the Russian Federation to release Eston Kohver, Oleg Sentsov and Olexandr Kolchenko and to guarantee their safe return to Estonia and Ukraine respectively. They also call for the release of all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens, including Nadiya Savchenko, in line with the agreed Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

Parliament "strongly condemns the blatant violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and Estonia through the illegal kidnapping of citizens of both countries so that they could be charged before a Russian court". It stresses that the Russian courts are not competent to judge acts committed outside the internationally recognised territory of Russia.

MEPs urge the President of the European Council and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy "to come up with a comprehensive policy strategy which would enable the EU to regain the initiative and to pursue a more clear-cut policy towards Russia". They also ask the Council "to establish a common EU list of the officials responsible for the abduction, illegal detention and sentencing of Eston Kohver, Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Santsov and Alexander Kolchenko, to impose and implement an EU-wide visa ban on these officials, and to freeze any financial assets that they, or their immediate family, may hold within the EU".

Parliament also calls for the immediate and unconditional release from jail of all political prisoners, human rights defenders, journalists and other civil society activists, including Khadija Ismayilova, Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunus. It demands that the Azerbaijan government immediately ends its crackdown on civil society and human rights work.

At the same time, MEPs mark recent signs of improvement in the EU-Belarus relations. They welcome the recent release of six political prisoners whose civil and political rights yet had to be restored.

However, European Parliament still remains "deeply concerned" about the human rights and fundamental freedoms situation in Belarus, as violations of human rights, intimidation of human rights defenders, police raids on human rights organisations and seizure of their equipment persist.

Moreover, MEPs call to conduct the upcoming presidential elections in line with international standards, by giving the opposition access to means of communication and allowing it to participate in the elections on an equal footing.