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Diary describing the torture of her Mark Sokolovskyi

We continue to follow the fate of Mark Sokolovskyi, a Ukrainian citizen who has been held in inhumane conditions in a Dutch prison since March 20, 2022. As a reminder, Mark Sokolovskyi was charged by the U.S. Attorney in Texas with serious cybercrime and harming U.S. national security.

Today, we spoke with Mark Sokolovskyi’s representative, who informed us about the latest developments in Mark’s case in a Dutch prison.

The torture of Mark Sokolovskyi in a Dutch prison continues. Unfortunately, the right to humane treatment of prisoners and respect for their human dignity, recognized in international law; the condition that prisoners should not be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, has been repeatedly VIOLATED in relation to Mark Sokolovskyi.

Mark Sokolovskyi

On January 12, 2024, the second attempt to extradite Mark Sokolovskyi to the United States was to take place. Until that moment, for a month, Mark, sick, mentally unstable, with skin lesions, undressed, even without underwear, in a paper robe, forced to sleep on the floor in a snail’s pose, was kept in a cold punishment cell. Mark did not breathe fresh air or see the sun for a month.  Every morning a doctor or a nurse visited him, but he was never provided with medical care. Mark asked to have a Bible brought to him in his native Ukrainian language (he has the right to do so!), but this was also denied. Mark was suffering physically and mentally, his brain needed activity, and he was not allowed to fill it even by reading the Bible. All of this led to an increase in panic attacks, increased fears, and hallucinations.  General exhaustion of the body was added. Since Mark did not receive the necessary amount of high-calorie food, he lost weight. Now he weighs about 58 kg.

The director of the prison was not concerned about Mark’s situation, nor were the doctors. It was in agreement with the prison director that essentially inhuman measures were applied to Mark. At the same time, the director refers to the recommendations of a psychologist, as if it was the psychologist who recommended such a line of behavior with Mark. The psychologist, in turn, refers to the top management of the institution, and a “mutual responsibility” arises, as a result of which everyone disclaims responsibility. This applies to both the guards and the medical staff.

From Mark’s diary on 10.01.2024:

“After a month in the punishment cell and after a huge number of letters and complaints, I was finally allowed to go to the library once, but only for 15 minutes. In the morning, the guard Reney came and said we were going to the library. When I entered the library, I immediately started to choose books that I might be interested in. But the guard began to rush me, saying that we didn’t have time and that I had to do it very quickly. I felt pressured because he was standing right above me and I couldn’t choose a book. The guard said I only had five minutes. I objected, saying that I was given 15 minutes. The guard said he didn’t have time. He told me to take any book I wanted or not at all. I was very upset, grabbed the books I had at hand and he took me back to the punishment cell. After taking me to the punishment cell, before closing the door, guard Rene asked me what I would like to order from the food. I was given permission to order some food. I told the guard that I wanted to see what was available and order it. The guard told me to tell him so in words and he would remember because he does not allow you to order food yourself. The guard added that they don’t have my pass to order food with. Although I know that they have this pass, because I personally saw and held it in my hands a few days ago. I explained that I didn’t know what was on the menu and that I wanted to see and choose for myself. The guard said: “Then don’t order,” and slammed the door of the punishment cell behind me. Against this backdrop of human treatment, I had a mental breakdown, my head hurt like it was about to burst, I started screaming hysterically, crying, smashed my face in the hope that the pain would go away (I know I shouldn’t do that, but it was uncontrollable), I started to get hysterical, dizzy and nauseous, I was choking on my own screams, my head started to buzz and my ears started to whistle loudly. I started to “glitch out” and had hallucinations.

No one came to help me, I thought I was going to die in this punishment cell.

I just wanted to order food, I was very hungry. I had been trying to get this opportunity for a month, and they brazenly took it away from me and slammed the door of the punishment cell right in my face, thus indicating my place. By telling me that I am not a person here, but just a parcel that needs to be delivered.”

Zaanstad JC Mark Sokolovskyi

The worst part of this inhuman treatment, physical and moral abuse, is that they try to explain it as care for Mark: since he had a psychological breakdown and took pills, they have intensified his care. But where is the care? Mark is forced to sleep on the cold floor, kept in the cold, restricted in food, not given books, and yet they claim that all this is for his own good. This is beyond comprehension!

On 11.01.2024, Mark was visited by a so-called “independent psychologist”.

From Mark’s diary:

“An independent doctor came to my cell. I was lying on the bed with a wet towel on my head. My face was all broken up in a fit of nervousness from a headache and a recent stressful situation. The doctor saw it all and even touched the huge lump under my right eye. I told him that I had a headache and was experiencing dizziness and hallucinations. He also confirmed that it was really cold in the punishment cell. I informed this doctor that I was under medical supervision in Ukraine and told him that my central nervous system was impaired and I had a head and brain injury.

I did not give permission to view my medical files from the prison, because I have no trust in the prison staff, and secondly, nurses and doctors, in most cases, do not even record my complaints when I complain to them about my health. The doctor listened to my heart and said it was beating faster than it should. Then I started to shake and some parts of my body began to twitch not randomly, as if convulsing. The doctor asked me what it was. How often does this happen? I answered – periodically.

After the doctor left, I was left alone in the cold cell again. After about 5 minutes, I started to convulse violently, everything started to twitch and I ended up on the floor. My head started to hurt a lot and I was dizzy. Then I heard the warden approaching and opening the punishment cell. I crawled up onto the bed, got down on all fours and put my head down because it was very dizzy. The warden advised me to breathe deeply. After I felt better, I slept the whole day.”

Zaanstad JC Mark Sokolovskyi

Mark felt unwell, looked sickly, had anxiety, and an increased heart rate. He reported that he had been suffering from severe, constant pain for a long time, which could make him lose his mind. His skin is constantly itchy (this is how atopic dermatitis manifests itself) and his teeth hurt – he feels pressure from the chains that support the plates (implanted during maxillofacial surgery performed in Ukraine). Mark was trembling, he started to convulse. The doctor asked if this happened to him often. The prisoner confirmed that this condition was getting worse, the trembling and convulsions were becoming more frequent because he was not receiving treatment. Mark said that all the time he is only observed like a monkey in a zoo, but no injections, vitamins, or medications that could improve his condition are given. They always suggest only increasing the intake of paracetamol. The doctor recorded Marko’s words, but in his conclusion, he stated that he was healthy and subject to extradition.  The conclusion is false, drawn up in favor of the system, and not in defense of the prisoner who needs help, because he really suffers from the illegal actions of the system that led to the loss of health. It is precisely because of such unjustified conclusions of doctors, cruel and unjustified actions that people die in penitentiary institutions and commit suicide.

It is necessary for the public to know that human rights are being brutally violated in the Dutch prison – Mark has a congenital disorder of the central nervous system, atopic dermatitis, a condition after complex maxillofacial surgery, he spent almost 2 years in prison and all the time wrote complaints asking for help, not to leave him without treatment.

Mark Sokolovsky's complaint

Instead of treatment, he received cruel treatment, a cold punishment cell, dozens of paracetamol pills and complete indifference to a man whose guilt has not even been proven.

In a condition that the doctor recognized as healthy (but in fact Mark was exhausted, sick, physically and mentally unstable), he was forced, rudely and brutally, with beatings, into a vehicle on January 12, 2024, to be transported to the airport for extradition to the United States. He was not put on a seat, but thrown face down on the floor. One of the guards pressed Mark’s face to the floor with his booted foot and held it there the whole way. Mark felt something crunching in his face. (Details of Mark’s torture on the way to the airport will be provided later, after receiving a certificate and supporting documents). Mark lost consciousness three times. In the American plane, the attendants, seeing Mark in an unconscious state, refused to transport him further and sent him back.

Thus, the Netherlands does not recognize Mark as sick, they recognized him as fit to fly, and the American attendants saw the real picture and did not risk transporting a person in such a state. One would hope that after such an incident Mark would finally be provided with the necessary medical care, but it happened differently: the torture intensified, he was brought to another prison (Skhinpol, 3rd floor, sector B) near the airport, he is in a semi-basement, in a cell with only a table and a chair. When Mark needs to relieve himself, he has to ask the guards. No one comes to see him for a long time, and since he cannot stand it, he relieves himself in the corner of the cell. For this, the guards force him to clean up his excrement with his hands (according to the lawyer who was allowed to meet with Mark; other supporting documents will be provided later, as soon as Mark’s trusted representative and his mother are allowed to see him). These things are even scary to imagine!

After an unsuccessful extradition attempt, Mark was returned to the Netherlands, but neither his trustee nor his lawyer was notified in time. Only in the evening, when the lawyer became concerned, did he receive a phone call saying that Mark, who had lost consciousness, had been taken to the hospital and was now in prison. Mark does not remember how he was taken to the hospital and what happened to him there. So, again, no help was provided and Mark was brought to prison unconscious. He regained consciousness only in his cell.  On Sunday, the mother went to her son’s new place of detention, provided the prison administration with documents confirming her rights and asked to see Mark to see his condition and to witness the beatings. It had to be done urgently, before the beatings had subsided, so that it would not be possible to claim that Mark had not been beaten. The conversation lasted for 2 hours, and finally the mother was told that she could come tomorrow with a lawyer and be allowed to see Mark at 13.00 to record the beatings. They arrived, but only the lawyer was allowed to see Mark. Mark’s mother was refused without any explanation and even in a rude manner. The girl at the reception demanded that the mother leave, and when asked to introduce herself, she said that it was not customary. The mother refused to leave and demanded that she be given the legal right to meet with Mark. However, she was again denied. She demanded that the police be called to witness the violation of her rights. Eventually, two police officers arrived, a man and a woman, who also refused to introduce themselves, and after listening to her mother, said that they understood everything, but could not help. They would not draw up any documents and would not testify to the violation of her rights. The police also asked the woman to leave the room. The boy’s mother demanded a meeting with the management, asking how it could be that yesterday the meeting was allowed, but today it was banned. After all, she had traveled 150 kilometers to meet Mark with the permission of the prison administration, and now she is not allowed to? She doesn’t trust the doctors (because they have been declaring Mark healthy all along, which is not true), nor the prison staff and guards, who will unanimously say that there were no bruises or beatings, so the mother needed to record the beatings right now. The reaction was negative and she did not receive permission to meet.

From all that happened, Sokolovsky’s mother draws a conclusion:

“Mark’s rights and my rights as a trustee are being brutally violated: Mark is being beaten and kept in terrible conditions, and I, as a trustee, am deprived of the opportunity to record the beatings and see with my own eyes what is wrong with my son.

I will definitely continue to collect information, statements, and testimonies about Mark’s condition and will disseminate information to the public. My only hope to save Mark is to rely on the support of the public.”

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