NewsOlena Piech freed after six years of torture by separatists

Olena Piech freed after six years of torture by separatists

Ołena Piech had been held in prisons by pro-Russian separatists since 2018.
Ołena Piech had been held in prisons by pro-Russian separatists since 2018.
Images source: © Facebook | Monika Andruszewska

10:18 AM EDT, June 29, 2024

Olena Piech has been illegally held in prison by separatists occupying part of the Donetsk region since August 9, 2018. As journalist Monika Andruszewska reported, after six years of torture, the woman is now free.

In 2018, Olena Piech, a museum worker from Horlivka, was arrested by pro-Russian separatists occupying part of the Donetsk region. Although she declared that she was Ukrainian, she was accused of "treason" and "espionage" and sentenced in a show trial to 13 years in a penal colony.

On the night of June 28 to 29, 2024, war correspondent Monika Andruszewska announced on Facebook that after six years of efforts, including those of Olena's daughter, the woman was finally free. "Countless actions, meetings, interviews, and requests for support everywhere possible - and we finally succeeded," Andruszewska conveyed.

Olena Piech released after six years of torture

Monika Andruszewska recalled what Olena Piech endured over the past six years of imprisonment. "She was tortured and driven to suicidal attempts by Russian executioners," she wrote. Additionally, Piech was also persecuted by Russians for her Jewish origin.

During this time, her release was fought for by her daughter Izabella, among others, who relayed to PAP what had happened to her mother during this period. "She was subjected to very cruel tortures, leading to a suicide attempt. She cut her veins," Izabella recounted. She also conveyed that the marks on her mother's legs indicated she was electrocuted. Olena also had screws drilled into her knees, forcing her to walk with a cane.

Report documenting russian crimes in occupied territories

The dramatic story of Olena Piech is included in the report "Do You Like It or Not, Suffer, My Beautiful – Unpunished Crimes. Sexual Violence by Russian Occupation Forces Against Ukrainian Women," prepared by the team of the Rafał Lemkin Center for Documenting Russian Crimes in Ukraine operating at the Pilecki Institute.

In a conversation with Wirtualna Polska, Monika Andruszewska said that the mentioned report collects testimonies of 10 years of Russian aggression in the occupied territories. She also stated that after the start of the full-scale invasion in February 2022, the number of people subjected to regular violence increased due to the expansion of territories taken over by Russia.

In her latest post, the journalist conveyed that Olena Piech's story shows that it is never worth losing hope. "International pressure, publicizing the fate of prisoners - it makes sense. Every entry, text, conference, meeting, and absolutely everything concerning her fate contributed to Olena's release. We thank all the good-hearted people who engaged over the years. We rejoice with Izabella and her mother - we continue fighting for the freedom of others," Andruszewska emphasized.

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