European Parliament adopts resolution demanding to stop the persecution of Ukrainian teenagers Tihran Ohannisian and Mykyta Khanhanov
The European Parliament has adopted a resolution on the torture and criminal prosecution of two Ukrainian minors from occupied Berdiansk, whom Russia wants to sentence to up to 20 years in prison.
MEPs demand that Russia stop the process against the children and allow them to leave for the territory controlled by the government of Ukraine. They also call on the International Committee of the Red Cross to facilitate the safe movement of schoolchildren. The document also calls on the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children to investigate the case. MEPs propose to add those responsible for the persecution of Tihran Ohannisian and Mykyta Khanhanov to the EU sanctions list.
In addition, the resolution calls for the release of all Ukrainian citizens illegally detained by Russia.
According to Olha Reshetylova, coordinator of the Media Initiative for Human Rights, the European Parliament resolution was a response to MIHR’s call to the international community to urgently take all possible measures to release Tihran Ohannisian and Mykyta Khanhanov from persecution by the Russian authorities as soon as possible.
“After this resolution, and before that the OSCE’s reaction, we hope that the occupation authorities will stop the trial of the teenagers, and give them the opportunity to leave for the territory controlled by Ukraine or third countries where they will be safe. And what is most important, is that they will not take the case to court. After all, once they take the case to court, they will have no way back. We know the names of all the investigators, we know the names of the heads of these investigators, and we will know the names of the judges who will conduct this trial. And we will definitely ensure criminal liability for them,” says Olha Reshetylova, coordinator of the MIHR.
On September 30, 2022, 16-year-old Tihran Ohannisian was abducted by the Russian military from his home. The boy was brutally interrogated for 5 days by the “investigative authorities” – he was beaten and tortured with electric shock. The teenager was demanded to confess to preparing a sabotage at the Melitopol Railroad, which was supposed to prevent Russian forces from receiving supplies. Tigran’s classmate, Mykyta Khanhanov, was also suspected of the same and fortunately managed to avoid arrest. On May 24 this year, the minors were charged by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. The children face up to 20 years in prison. Both minors are not allowed to leave the occupied territory and are obliged to report to investigators every day.