12 Dec 2018 14:45

LPR transfers 42 convicts to Kyiv-held territory - commissioner

KYIV. Dec 12 (Interfax) - Forty-two convicts who expressed the wish to serve their sentences in Kyiv-held territory have been transferred from the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), according to Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Commissioner Liudmyla Denisova.

"I have just accepted the convicts of ours who were held in the uncontrolled areas of the Luhansk region, in the town of Schastya. [...] Forty-two persons were transferred to us this time. The Ukrainian side also received their criminal files," Denisova wrote on Facebook.

This is the first transfer of convicts from uncontrolled areas of the Luhansk region, Denisova wrote.

"They expressed the wish to be transferred and serve their time in the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government via families, friends, or human rights activists," she wrote.

Kyiv is ready to accept all convicts that might be transferred from the uncontrolled territory, Denisova wrote.

According to the Ukrainian representative to the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine (TCG)'s humanitarian subgroup, Iryna Herashchenko, the convicts were transferred in furtherance of the agreements reached by the subgroup in Minsk. Those people were convicted before the conflict broke out in 2014, and their crimes had nothing to do with the Donbas conflict, she wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.

Ukraine is also expecting Donetsk to transfer convicts who wish to serve their time in Kyiv-held territory, Herashchenko wrote.

"The transfer of persons unrelated to the conflict, who were convicted before the war, will continue from occupied Donetsk on Thursday," Herashchenko wrote on Facebook.

About 1,000 convicts and their families asked the Ukrainian authorities for this transfer, she wrote.

Luhansk confirmed that the transfer took place.

"Indeed, the ombudsmen of both sides agreed in direct dialogue to transfer to Ukraine 42 Ukrainian citizens convicted before the establishment of the republics and held in penitentiaries in the territory of our republic, who have expressed their wish to continue serving time in the territory of Ukraine," a representative of the LPR Council of Ministers told Interfax.

He said that the exchange was not part of the TCG effort.

"This is an absolutely humanitarian deed, a goodwill gesture of ours. Ukraine has done everything to prevent families from visiting the convicts in our republic, sending packages, or even writing letters. Now they can do so. These convicts will be serving time closer to their homes, closer to their families," he said.