Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Latest update on Leonid Mikhailov

I just received the following information (in Russian) from a source close to the family of Leonid Mikhailov:

"In recent days the case of Leonid Mikhailov has taken an unexpected and incomprehensible turn.

On August 11 the Russian consul in Kharkov informed Leonid's mother that the case against her son had been closed and that he should be released. He did not explain why the case had been closed. The investigator Babenko confirmed that the case had been closed on August 8 and stated that Mikhailov had been released from the investigative isolation facility (IIF) on August 9 after being handed his passport as a citizen of the Russian Federation and a document registering his release. The same information was confirmed by the IIF. According to these statements, Mikhailov had already been free for over 48 hours. However, he had not called home and this worried his relatives.

On August 12 Mikhailov's mother visited the Special Department of the IIF in the town of Volnyansk. [Volnyansk is situated in Zaporozhye Province in Eastern Ukraine; evidently Mikhailov's mother is in Ukraine looking for her son -- Stephen Shenfield]. There she was told that 'as she had not come to pick up her son' (she could not have done this because she learned of his 'release' only two days later) 'he has been taken away by people from the Security Service of Ukraine' (SSU). Then she went to the directorate of the SSU for Zaporozhye Province, where she was assured that since leaving the IIF Leonid had not been detained again by them. At the end of the working day she was informed at the Special Department of the IIF that her son had been taken by the SSU for interrogation. It turns out that the case has not been closed and Leonid has not been released. The administration of the IIF has refused to say who exactly took Leonid 'for interrogation,' for how long, or where he is.

Leonid's mother is now going to Kiev to inquire at the main reception office of the SSU. If they do not tell her where her son is, it will be necessary to initiate a nationwide search (through the Russian consul, for example).

If you have any ideas about how to find our comrade, please share them with us! Thank you for your involvement, support, and any advice!"

In another development, a colleague has located on the internet a denunciation of Leonid Mikhailov as a "terrorist" (a term used to refer to anyone fighting on the anti-government side) together with a reproduction of a document apparently found on him at the time of his arrest -- an identity card issued by the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic" (DPR). This document does not of course prove the charge that he participated in the militia of the DPR. Presumably he needed it in order to carry out his humanitarian work in relative safety in territory controlled by the DPR, but when he encountered Ukrainian government forces the same document immediately became "incriminating."    

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