19:47 11 Oct 2023

Spanish volunteer has gone missing again after being held hostage in occupied Crimea

The 75-year-old Mariano García was illegally detained in Kherson on 19 March 2022 after a protest demonstration against the Russian occupation.

The man was released after being held hostage in Crimea; however disappeared again, his wife Tetyana says.

Mario was taken from the Simferopol detention center at the end of September this year. There, he was illegally detained for a year and a half without any charges at all and later for so-called "involvement in actions aimed at harming Russia's security."

Mario was repeatedly tortured despite his age and citizenship. He was probably moved to the occupied village of Chongar in the Kherson region, where the invaders recently opened an unofficial detention center.

Ukraine's human rights Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets demands the immediate release of Mariano and all Ukrainian civilians who should not be held on false charges in detention centers in the occupied territories of Ukraine or Russia.

Mariano García has been working in Ukraine since 2014 as a volunteer, where he came from his native Valencia after retirement. The man's friends started a campaign to get him released.

Civilian prisoner Yevhen Yamkovyi, who was held in the same cell with the Spanish volunteer, said after his release in April 2023 that during the next roll call, Kalatayud was bitten by a service dog on the knee, leaving a deep scar on his leg. The Russians also wanted to know the pin code of Mario's bank card, and for this purpose, they tortured the Spaniard with a stun gun and beat him mercilessly.


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