In early March 2014 a group of human rights defenders and civil society activists ‘Euromaidan SOS’ send mobile brigades to monitor the situation in Russia-annexed Crimea and temporarily occupied areas of Donbas.
Their investigation was published by ‘Ukrainska Pravda’.
The brigades managed to find 79 places were hostages were held. These were administrative buildings, military enlistment offices, private apartments, hotels and hostels, catering establishments, industrial enterprises, plants and factories, basements, garages, sewer wells, cages, and even dog kennels. In most cases, they were absolutely unsuitable even for short-term custody.
According to the human rights defenders, murder of 22-year old Donetsk activist Dmytro Chernyavsky during a peaceful gathering and torturing of Ukrainian deputy Volodymyr Rybak, captured for his attempt to raise Ukrainian flag over a building, were the first signals of human rights violations in the area.
Currently, there are special forces operating on the territory of the so-called ‘republics’. Their officers are hunting for ‘politically undesirable’ persons, who are further held in captivity.
According to official statistics, over 1,333 civilians, 27 journalists and 38 volunteers were captivated and subsequently released. Currently, 131 persons including civilians are still kept in hostage.
Volunteers, however, claim that the number of captives is significantly higher.
More detailed information may be found here.