News - 2017.03.27 - Afanasiev announcement

Photo provided by the Embassy of Ukraine to the United Kingdom

A talk by former Ukrainian political prisoner in Russia, Hennadii Afanasiev

27 March 2017

In conjunction with the Embassy of Ukraine to the United Kingdom, we are delighted to confirm that our next lecture will be given by Mr Hennadii Afanasiev, a former Ukrainian political prisoner in Russia and current Advisor to the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavlo Klimkin.

A Crimean civilian, Afanasiev was captured by Russian forces and imprisoned on politically motivated charges for 767 days. Released in June 2016, he will discuss his experiences, including torture and beatings, as well as the plight of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and human rights violations in Crimea.

This event will take place on 25 April 2017 at 7pm in the Macmillan Suite, Portcullis House, Bridge Street, Westminster SW1A 2LW.

This British Ukrainian Society series of lectures in the spheres of politics and culture is run in partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ukraine. It aims to give anyone interested in Ukrainian affairs an opportunity to hear from British and Ukrainian politicians, diplomats, authors, artists and experts from various professions who are in some way involved in noteworthy work relating to Ukraine.

The lectures are held approximately every two months in London at Portcullis House where the offices of British Members of Parliament and their staff are located. Each lecture offers an opportunity for the audience to ask questions, and networking receptions are also planned in the future.

Spaces are limited. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to secretariat@britishukrainiansociety.org at your earliest convenience. Due to tight security and the potential for queues, we would advise you to allow at least 30 minutes to enter Portcullis House; a map and further instructions will be sent in due course to those who RSVP.

We hope you will be able to join us, and please feel free to invite your friends and colleagues to this event. Keep up with news and events by liking our Facebook, and consider becoming a sponsor of the BUS to help our activities continue and expand.

Hennadii Afanasiev profile

Mr Hennadii Afanasiev is a former Ukrainian political prisoner in Russia and current Advisor to the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavlo Klimkin.

Then 23-year-old Crimean photographer Hennadii Afanasiev was not engaged in political activities or protests in early 2014. It was not until the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, and Russia’s subsequent occupation of Crimea, that he joined the movement to defend the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Along with taking part in street rallies, he purchased and delivered food and other essentials to Ukrainian servicemen trapped in their Crimean bases by Russia’s “little green men”. He was detained in Crimea by Russia’s FSB on 9 May 2014 and convicted of plotting a terrorist act against Crimea’s new Russian authorities.

Since the very first days of his detention Hennadii was beaten, tortured, threatened and abused. His case had initially been part of a separate proceeding where he agreed to make a deal with the prosecution, but later revealed that he had been tortured and forced to give false testimony against others involved in the case – fellow political prisoners Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko.

In December 2014, Moscow City Court sentenced him to seven years in a penal colony. After 767 days in captivity, Hennadii arrived in Ukraine on 14 June 2016 after being swapped with two individuals charged with supporting Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Hennadii Afanasiev is now an activist and a member of a Ukrainian NGO that fights for the freedom of Ukrainian political prisoners and against human rights abuses in Crimea. He is also an advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on the release of political prisoners.

Hennadii is currently travelling around Europe and America to bring attention to cases of political prisoners held by Russia and its policy of torture and abuse.

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