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Irina Danilovich located after two weeks and arrested following abduction

Status: 
Abducted
About the situation

On 29 April 2022, woman human rights defender Irina Danilovich was reportedly abducted in Koktebel, Crimea. Irina Danilovich went missing when returning home from work. On the same day the woman human rights defenders house was searched by special police units OMON who informed her relatives that there is an administrative arrest order issued against the defender. Her whereabouts are currently unknown.

About the HRD

 Irina Danilovich is a human rights defender and civic journalist who exposes problems of the health care system in Crimea, including in response to the coronavirus pandemic. She also works as a medical personnel and has been advocating for the rights of health workers through their professional trade union and her own project “Crimean medicine without a cover”. The woman human rights defender cooperates with many independent media outlets, including “INжир” and “Crimean Process” that reports on court hearings on politically motivated cases in Crimea.

13 May 2022
Irina Danilovich located after two weeks and arrested following abduction

On 11 May 2022, 13 days after being abducted, woman human rights defender Irina Danilovich was located in the pre-detention centre in Simferopol. It has been reported that Irina Danilovich has been suspected of “illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation, or carrying of explosives or explosive devices” and has been arrested for two months.

On 11 May 2022, Irina Danilovich was located in the pre-detention centre in Simferopol, Crimea. Her whereabouts were unknown for almost two weeks after her abduction on 29 April 2022. It is reported that the woman human rights defender is suspected of “illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation, or carrying of explosives or explosive devices” as per Part 1 Article 222.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and that the case against her was initiated by the Investigation Department of the FSB. On 7 May 2022, the measure of restraint – 2 months’ imprisonment – was chosen for Irina Danilovich. Here she was represented by a state appointed lawyer, despite the fact that Irina Danilovich has a signed agreement with another lawyer who couldn't find and access his client since the woman human rights defender had gone missing.

An independent search for the woman human rights defender was launched by her lawyer, family and friends. They checked numerous temporary detention centres in different cities in Crimea, but were unable to find her. On 6 May 2022, 8 days since Irina Danilovich’s abduction, her lawyer managed to gain access to the pre-trial detention centre in Simferopol. However, the officer on duty denied that the woman human rights defender was at this detention centre, and there was no record card for her detention there.

Irina Danilovich’s lawyer wrote an appeal on the circumstances of her disappearance to the Russian Prosecutor’s Office of Crimea and her parents filed a statement to the police. Irina Danilovich’s lawyer additionally filed an application concerning the abduction to the Military Prosecutor of the Military Prosecutor's Office of the Black Sea Fleet and the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.

On 5 May 2022, Irina Danilovich’s family sourced and watched a recording from a surveillance camera from a gas station, that shows a woman similar to Irina Danilovich (in the same clothes) talking to four men in civilian clothing near a car. The men then dragged the woman suspected to be the woman human rights defender into a car and then the car is seen driving away. Irina Danilovich’s father filed a new complaint to the police demanding that a criminal case be initiated into the forced abduction of his daughter and demanding police to add the video from the surveillance cameras to the case file.

On 29 April 2022, Irina Danilovich was abducted while driving home from work, in Koktebel, Crimea. On the same day, Irina Danilovich’s house in the village of Vladislavovka was searched by a group from the Special Purpose Mobile Unit (OMON) wearing balaclavas. The woman human rights defender’s father was informed by the officers that his daughter was ordered 10 days of administrative arrest because of "the transfer of unclassified information to a foreign state."

Front Line Defenders expresses grave concern about the abduction and condemns the prosecution of woman human rights defender Irina Danilovich. Front Line Defenders urges the authorities of the Russian Federation to take all necessary measures to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of Irina Danilovich and guarantee her physical and psychological security and integrity, as well as that of her husband and relatives. Front Line Defenders reiterates its demand to Russian authorities to carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the abduction of Irina Danilovich, with a view to ensuring her protection, publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards.

4 May 2022
Woman human rights defender Irina Danilovich abducted

On 29 April 2022, woman human rights defender Irina Danilovich was reportedly abducted in Koktebel, Crimea. Irina Danilovich went missing when returning home from work. On the same day the woman human rights defenders house was searched by special police units OMON who informed her relatives that there is an administrative arrest order issued against the defender. Her whereabouts are currently unknown.

Irina Danilovich is a human rights defender and civic journalist who exposes problems of the health care system in Crimea, including in response to the coronavirus pandemic. She also works as a medical personnel and has been advocating for the rights of health workers through their professional trade union and her own project “Crimean medicine without a cover”. The woman human rights defender cooperates with many independent media outlets, including “INжир” and “Crimean Process” that reports on court hearings on politically motivated cases in Crimea.

On 29 April 2022, Irina Danilovich disappeared while travelling home from work in Koktebel. On the same day the woman human rights defender’s house in the village of Vladislavovka was searched by the officers of the Special Purpose Mobile Unit OMON who wore balaclavas. Irina Danilovich’s laptop, her phone, relatives’ phones, several books and documents were seized. While the court order for the search was read out to Irina Danilovich’s father, a copy of the search warrant was not left behind. The defenders father was informed by OMON officers that his daughter was sentenced to 10 days of administrative arrest because of "the transfer of unclassified information to a foreign state."

Since 29th April, the woman human rights defenders lawyer and family have been searching for her in temporary detention centres in different cities in Crimea but are unable to located her. On 2 May 2022, Irina Danilovich’s lawyer wrote an appeal on the circumstances of her disappearance to the Russian Prosecuter’s Office of Crimea and her parents filed a statement to the police. Irina Danilovich’s lawyer perceives this as an abduction as it have been 5 days since authorities have not informed the lawyer and family of her whereabouts.

Irina Danilovich has been facing increasing pressure for her human rights work. In December 2021 a series of publications labelling the defender as a “foreign agent” were posted in the telegram channel “Lis i voron”. She was one of few Crimean healthcare workers who spoke out against the issues in the healthcare system in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. In early October 2020, after Irina Danilovich and other medical personnel demanded the promised coronavirus payment, she and her colleagues were fired from odosia Hthe hospital in Feodosia.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the reported abduction of woman human rights defender Irina Danilovich. It believes that Danilovich is facing reprisals for her peaceful and legitimate work revealing problems of health care system and protecting, promoting healthcare workers rights in Crimea.