A group of human rights defenders has issued an appeal to the Russian prosecutor general to investigate reports of prisoners being sent to war in Ukraine.
“Information was widely disseminated (in the show ‘Besogon TV,' [and] in the show ‘Vesti’ on the ‘Russia-1’ channel " on Sunday, August 7, 2022) that now throughout Russia there are thousands of prisoners with unserved terms for [committing] various -- including serious crimes -- who are sent to Ukraine to participate in a special military operation,“ the activists stated in the letter addressed to Russian Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov.
"In connection with the above, we ask you to clarify, on what basis are these persons released from prison, if this information is true?” the appeal asked.
The appeal also stated that prisoners should only be released before finishing their sentence under certain terms: a pardon from the President, amnesty from the State Duma, or parole by a court decision.
The activists that signed the appeal are associated with the Human Rights Council of St. Petersburg, a Russian NGO which monitors human rights violations.
Some context: CNN has done prior investigative reporting on the increasing evidence that prisoners across Russia have been recruited by the Russian military in exchange for contracts reducing their prison sentence.