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Ukraine Urged to Probe Alleged Abduction of Russian Activist

  • VOA News

Ukrainian human rights and opposition activists protest in central Kiev, October 27, 2012.

Ukrainian human rights and opposition activists protest in central Kiev, October 27, 2012.

International rights activists are calling on the Ukrainian government to investigate allegations that Russian agents abducted a Russian opposition activist in Kyiv earlier this month.

Leonid Razvozzhayev, an assistant deputy of the opposition Just Russia party, disappeared in the Ukrainian capital while trying to claim political asylum on October 19. He resurfaced two days later in a Moscow court to face charges of plotting mass protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin. He told reporters that he was kidnapped and tortured into signing a confession that his lawyer said he later retracted.

Amnesty International said Monday that international law requires Ukraine to investigate the Russian activist's allegations of torture. The London-based group said it is "illegal" to transfer people from one country to another without any kind of judicial or administrative process.

Amnesty noted that Ukraine is a party to several international treaties that obligate governments to avoid returning anyone to a territory where they would be at risk of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Russian news agency Interfax said several Ukrainian human rights and trade union groups also rallied outside the Ukrainian Security Service headquarters on Monday to demand a government investigation of the Razvozzhayev case. The protesters also called for the suspension of Ukraine's security and border service chiefs until the case is clarified.

Russia's Investigations Committee has said Razvozzhayev turned himself in to authorities in Ukraine. He is one of three members of Russia's opposition to be charged by Russian authorities with plotting mass protests.

The other activists include Left Front party leader Sergei Udaltsov and his aide, Konstantin Lebedev. The three face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.