Ihor Kiiashko

Ihor Kiiashko

Date of arrest: 10.04.2018

Charges: espionage and attempted smuggling of military aircraft parts

Court verdict: 8 years in a maximum-security prison

“The strongest recollection I have about my husband is the time when I was giving birth to our baby, and he was with me,” recounts the wife of political prisoner Ihor Kiiashko. “Ihor was convicted by a Russian court for alleged “espionage in the interests of Ukraine.”

Ihor was arrested on April 10, 2018 in Nizhniy Novgorod for allegedly attempting to buy parts for the engines of MiG-29 jet fighters, along with secret Russian documents, in order to bring them to Ukraine. He was later accused of spying for Ukraine.

“During these two years, I have never visited him because of the threat that I may not be able to come back,” Maryna Kiiashko says.

“Two or three times every week, they used to put a bag on his head and bring him somewhere to beat him till he lost consciousness. Then they poured water on him and went on beating him,” says Maryna. “Ihor suffers from high blood pressure, and he was diagnosed with thrombophlebitis in prison, so his torture and beatings have caused great complications for his health.”

In December 2018, a Russian court sentenced Ihor Kiiashko to eight years in a maximum security penal colony. Maryna hopes for prisoner exchange so that her husband can come home. Yet no one has given any explanations to prisoners’ families about when another exchange will take place, what is being done to make it happen, and what these families can hope for.

“Currently, all of us – political prisoners’ families – communicate every day. We don’t understand what we are supposed to do. We just want strong support from journalists, from our authorities, and we want the latter to keep their promises. Because now we are supported by our own hope alone,” Maryna Kiiashko says.

“I was left alone with my baby, and only my mother is here to stand with me. Our son is 2.5 and he misses his father, he is waiting for him and asks a lot of questions. Yet his father still has not come home,” she laments. 

“The greatest fortune is to have your nearest and dearest with you. It hurts so much when they are far away, and we cannot do anything about it. Perhaps this petition and people who sign it will somehow facilitate bringing our family members back home,” Maryna Kiiashko says.