UKRAINIAN political prisoners’ advocates are appealing to peace mediators to help free a young woman maimed while defending herself from rape by soldiers.
Nadezhda Kozlova was 19 on September 8 2014 when drunken soldiers dragged her into a car and attempted to gang-rape her in the city of Chasiv Yar in the Kiev regime-occupied part of Donetsk.
In her desperation she pulled the pin on a hand grenade on one of her assailant’s belts.
One soldier was killed and another seriously injured, while Ms Kozlova had her left forearm amputated and suffered severe injuries to her legs.
Nevertheless, she was convicted of murder by a Ukrainian court in February 2016 and is serving a 14-year sentence in Artemivsk prison, near Chasiv Yar.
That was despite a court medical report that she cannot walk or care for herself.
On Tuesday, the Union of Political Prisoners of War in Donbass wrote to the Trilateral Contact Group, the peace talks facilitation group formed of representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The union urged humanitarian subgroup head Viktor Medvedchuk to intervene to secure Ms Kozlova’s release.
“[The union] appeals to you … to solve the issue of saving the life of a political prisoner,” it said, adding that Ms Kozlova “preferred death to suffering rape but survived as an invalid.”
It said Ms Kozlova is tormented by phantom pain from her severed arm and needs constant care.