Political Prisoner Litvinov Freed From Eastern Ukraine Prison
13 July, 2019
Ukrainian political prisoner Serhiy Litvinov speaks to journalists after his release from a penal colony in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine on July 13. Hromadske

Serhiy Litvinov – a political prisoner who was jailed in Russia on charges widely believed to be fabricated and, later, in a mysterious way ended up in a penal colony in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv – has now walked free. 

This was confirmed by a Hromadske journalist working on the ground.

The news comes less than 24 hours after the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered to ensure his immediate release. 

READ MORE: Zelenskyy Pardons Ukrainian Political Prisoner Serving Russian Sentence in Ukraine

Litvinov has been in the colony in Kharkiv for over four months after being transferred from the Russian Federation. In Russia, he spent five years in jail: the political prisoner was sentenced to 8.5 years for supposed robbery, although at first, the court wanted to sentence him to 25 years for the murder of non-existent people in Luhansk region, when Litvinov was allegedly part of the Dnipro-1 battalion.

READ MORE: Ukrainian Political Prisoner Found Serving Russian Sentence in Eastern Ukraine

According to Litvinov himself, the prisoner was subject to serious torture in Russian prisons. 

"I was tortured by the investigators, prosecutors and high-profile people close to Moscow and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. I want to say that Putin is not a nice person. They tortured, mocked and humiliated me – anything you could imagine.  I did not see anything positive in there, everything [I encountered] was painful and cruel," Litvinov told journalists about his Russian imprisonment on July 13.

In an exclusive comment to Hromadske, Litvinov said that his plan is to return home (he lives in the village of Komyshne, Luhansk region – just 22 km east of Stanytsia Luhanska where the demarcation line between the Ukrainian government-controlled and uncontrolled areas lies). 

"I am grateful to the president and the lawyer for the fact that I'm free. I will work in my hometown as I did before," Litvinov said on July 13.