Ukrainian teenager Pavlo Gryb, who was abducted last month in Belarus and subsequently resurfaced in a Russian jail, has been arrested for two months in Russia’s Krasnodar region.
On August 17, a Krasnodar district court ordered 19-year-old Gryb’s arrest until October 17 on charges of “abetting terrorist activities,” Russia’s TASS news agency reported, citing a statement from the court.
The arrest order came a week before Gryb was detained under mysterious circumstances while meeting with a female friend in Gomel, Belarus.
The news of the teenager’s arrest adds a dose of clarity to a confusing story that has shocked many in Ukraine. On August 24, Gryb departed from the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv for Gomel to spend the afternoon with a girl he had previously only spoken with online. When he failed to return home by the next morning, his father Ihor, a former Ukrainian border guard, departed for Belarus to search for his son.
There, he managed to discover that Pavlo was wanted in Russia on terrorism charges initiated by the Krasnodar regional office of the Russian Federal Security Services (FSB) — despite the fact that Pavlo had never served in the Ukrainian armed forces or visited Russia.
In the aftermath of this discovery, Ihor Gryb alleged that his son had been illegally kidnapped by FSB and spirited away to Russia. This accusation has proven increasingly true.
Photo credit: Igor Gryb facebook page
Shortly after Gryb’s disappearance, journalists managed to make contact with his female friend, a 17-year-old Russian citizen. She claimed that the FSB had blackmailed her into luring the teenager to Belarus. And, on September 7, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry confirmed to Ihor Gryb that his son was being held in Pre-Trial Detention Center No.5 in Krasnodar.
On September 11, Pavlo Gryb was able to meet with a lawyer, Andrei Sabinin. Afterwards, Sabinin wrote on Facebook that Gryb was “taken by unknown individuals” from Gomel and “handed over to other unknown individuals.” Several days later, “the detention protocol was issued in [Russia’s] Smolensk region,” the lawyer wrote.
According to Sabinin, Gryb is worried about his health because he has no access to vital medicines. As his father told Hromadske, Gryb suffers from portal hypertension, a chronic illness that affects the function of his organs.
If not allowed access to medication, jail will prove fatal for Pavlo, Gryb's family and right activists said during a press conference on September 4.
/ by Matthew Kupfer