Home > Investigation > Minister of Justice of the Netherlands Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius does not want to be held responsible for torture of Ukrainian citizen in Dutch prisons

Minister of Justice of the Netherlands Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius does not want to be held responsible for torture of Ukrainian citizen in Dutch prisons

Mark Sokolovskyi’s mother seeks justice in correspondence with Dutch Minister of Justice and Defense Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius

Who is Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius?

A Dutch politician, member of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, she has been Minister of Justice and Security in the fourth Rutte government since January 10, 2022. She is also the head of Mark Rutte’s party and was expected to become the first woman to lead the Dutch government.

We have already mentioned that the minister declares the protection and strengthening of the rule of law. In words, she wants people to be confident in the protection it offers. But the official is a supporter of a tough stance against those who undermine the rule of law, and this is what we see in the fact of Dylan Yesilgoz-Zegerius’ attitude to the case of Mark Sokolovskyi. Her promises remain promises and declarations on paper, but in reality, there should be social justice. And if she promised a tough stance as a minister, then she should be able to establish the rule of law.

Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Demokratie

Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius photo from the Internet

For your understanding. In the Netherlands, the head of state is the king. The king has quite broad rights. He exercises legislative power together with the parliament, executive power together with the government, and judicial power through the courts. The king appoints the prime minister and, on his recommendation, other ministers, establishes ministries by royal decrees, and appoints commissioners in the provinces. The prime minister (head of government) must receive the support of a majority in the Second Chamber, which plays a more important political role in the Netherlands.

Executive power is exercised jointly by the King and the Cabinet of Ministers (government). The government of the kingdom is the government of the Netherlands plus ministers. The head of government, the Prime Minister, and the ministers are appointed and dismissed by the King. They are representatives of the parties that won the majority of seats in parliament.

Why did we spend so much time explaining the political system of the Netherlands? To understand why it happened that the Minister of Justice and Security Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius is openly lying, and why her ministry has created a situation where prisoners are abused, held in inhumane conditions and driven to suicide in penitentiary institutions.

In May 2023, four prisoners were found dead in Zaanstad prison. Three men committed suicide, a woman died of natural causes, and four people died in different wards of the largest prison in the Netherlands in the Westzaan.

Zaanstad Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius

The Zaanstad complex is a checkered monster with four wings and a penitentiary psychiatric center, which means five prisons in one. It all works very complicatedly, and almost no one can really control from above what is happening below. However, the minister herself claims that they have no control over what is happening in the prisons of the Netherlands.

The editorial office of “The Other Side of the Dialogue” repeatedly contacted the official and received only one response from Daniel van Dam, a spokesman for the Communications Directorate of the Ministry of Justice and Security, in which he said that the Dutch detention system is legally enshrined in the Act on the Principles of the Penitentiary System. This law sets out the powers of prison governors, the requirements that the detention regime must meet, and the rights of prisoners. This answer was understood by the editors to mean that everything that is happening today with citizen Mark Sokolovskyi, his inhumane detention in Dutch penitentiary institutions, is happening with the knowledge of the prison governors and they are responsible for everything. Of course, the spokesperson for the Directorate would not have written such a response without the approval of the Minister of Justice and Defense, because the editorial board addressed the official, not the spokesperson.

Mark Sokolovskyi

 We asked for a comment on the situation regarding Mark Sokolovskyi, namely

– the prolonged period of detention without a court conviction;

– Mark’s inhuman treatment in prison;

– to provide an opportunity to interview the Minister of Justice and Security or an authorized employee of the Ministry.

In other words, the minister put all the responsibility on the head of the prison, and that was it. The receipt of such a meaningless letter led to the journalist of the “The Other Side of the Dialogue” editorial office having to travel to The Hague and try to meet with someone from the ministry in person. Of course, no one came out to the journalist. And Mark’s mother was not allowed to hold a lone picket of the ministry. At the same time, she was sent to the municipality of The Hague for an explanation of how to properly conduct pickets in the Netherlands…

Norway Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius

For two years, the Minister of Justice and Defense of the Netherlands, Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, has not shown any desire to take the case of Mark Sokolovskyi under her personal control. Not to mention her brutal stance on the rule of law.

For two years now, Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius has been engaged in “replies”, shifting the blame for the inhumane detention of Mark Sokolovskyi in Dutch prisons to the prison managers. Mark Sokolovskyi’s representative, Olena Nekhayeva, provided correspondence with the Minister in January 2024. Mark Sokolovskyi and his representative have been filing complaints with all authorities for two years about Mark’s medical conditions. Sokolovsky cannot be extradited for the first time, he cannot be extradited for the second time, and all because of his health condition. You don’t need to have a medical degree to compare the photos of Mark Sokolovskyi before he was arrested and two years later.

Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius Mark Sokoljvskyi

Olena Nehayeva asks the Zaanstad Court Complex to pay attention to her son’s physical and mental health and asks to schedule a meeting with the medical staff. She asks to provide her son with proper medical care and to prevent her son’s extradition, as he suffers from a disorder affecting his nervous system, thus requiring constant medical care. The mother asks that her son be treated with due regard for his rights, as his health and general condition are neglected in court.

However, his health and general condition are being neglected in the Zaanstad court complex.

Neither the Ministry of Justice and Defense of the Netherlands nor the Zaanstad Court Complex listens to concerns and complaints. According to the mother’s correspondence with the minister, Ms. Nekhayeva’s concern about her son is clear, but the picture she describes in her letter is not recognized by the official, let alone the prison management.

Mark Sokolovskyi’s representative addresses the director of the Skhinpol Judicial Complex and asks him to take action:

“My client, Mark Sokolovskyi, was admitted to your detention facility on January 12, 2024, in an unconscious state and with traces of bodily injuries (bruises on his face and body, as well as a damaged eye).

The conditions of detention in which my client was placed contradict the provisions of the European Prison Rules, as well as Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Thus, the failure to provide medical care and treatment for the consequences of beating my client, placing him in a solitary confinement cell without water and toilet, abuse and humiliation of human dignity in the form of deprivation of the opportunity to fulfill physiological needs in an equipped toilet and at a convenient time for him, unsanitary conditions and pollution are absolutely unacceptable. The smell of gasoline is constantly present in the air in the detention center. He is not provided with food in accordance with his physiological needs and medical standards. The ban on books, most importantly, the ban on the Bible.

I ask you to inform me in writing whether such conditions of detention are the norm for your prison, or whether these conditions were specially created for my client. Someone has given instructions to keep Mark in inhumane conditions and take harsh measures against him.

I am asking you to inform me whether Mark Sokolovskyi was given a medical examination when he was admitted to your prison for detention. Were any beatings and bodily injuries recorded? I request to be provided with the relevant medical documents on the condition of my client, which were drawn up in your prison.

Has Mark Sokolovskyi’s personal file, together with his medical documents, been transferred to your prison from the Zaanstad complex?”

 The Ministry of Justice and Defense, instead of appointing an internal investigation and investigating, responds to Olena Nekhayeva with a false comment allegedly made by the prison director, and once again provides false information:

“In response to your letter of January 18, 2024, I am sending you a response on behalf of the management of the Schiphol Detention Center.

Mr. Sokolovski was brought to us on Friday, January 12, 2024, after he had undergone medical examination at the AMC Hospital in Amsterdam based on the medical situation during his extradition to the United States. There was no reason for further medical attention from the hospital and he was brought to us as a detainee undergoing extradition. Like all detainees, Mr. Sokolovskyi also had a medical examination upon entry. The medical examination did not provide any grounds to determine that Mr. Sokolovskyi was in need of urgent medical care, nor that there had been any abuse.

In addition, Mr. Sokolovskyi is visited daily by our medical service and his physical condition is monitored.

Based on the advice of a behavioral expert and a psychiatrist, Mr. Sokolovski is now in a cell under video surveillance. To prevent him from experiencing psychological harm, this is definitely not in solitary confinement. Given the (construction) capabilities of DC Schiphol, the only option for implementing this surveillance camera is to place Mr. Sokolovskyi in a cell that does not have direct access to a toilet and shower. However, the staff give him the opportunity to use this anytime he wishes.

According to the behavioral expert, there is no longer a need for the observation cell, and we are transferring Mr. Sokolovskyi to a regular cell.

Mr. Sokolovskyi is now on an individual regime due to the advice of the surveillance camera, but he has the opportunity to air out the cell, has telephone communication, has the opportunity to visit the library and sports facilities without restrictions, and can rest. Visits to the facility are also organized for Sokolovskyi on a weekly basis. In addition, he can supplement the standard meals in the facility according to his personal preferences using our digital options.

As Mr. Sokolowski’s representative, we will provide you with the medical data that is available to us. Unfortunately, we do not have a secure environment in which we can send you the medical record digitally. We can physically hand over the file to you at a time to be determined, or send it to you by registered mail if you provide us with an address for this purpose. We would like to hear your preference in this regard.”

Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius's false response

In confirmation of Olena Nekhayeva’s words, the editorial office of “The Other Side of the Dialogue” has two responses from two lawyers, which clearly indicate that Mark Sokolovskyi is not being extradited only for health reasons. Here is the response of a lawyer from America

response of the lawyer Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius

The planned extradition of Mark Sokolovskyi did not take place due to obvious health problems.

The lawyers know about it, and Marko Sokolovskyi’s representative knows about it. Mark, through his Dutch lawyer, says:

“Dear Ms. Nekhayeva.

In accordance with the agreements reached, I am attaching to this letter the records concerning the situation of Mr. Sokolovskyi. I made these notes during my visit to Mr. Sokolovskyi on 15/01/2024.

Notes on the visit on 15/01/2024 at about 14.30, Schiphol Judicial Detention Center, the client told me the following:

About the events of 12/01/2024:

Client says he was dizzy before being taken to the airport. He was lying on a bed in the Zaanstad Prison Center and asked to call a doctor, he was having difficulty breathing. The transportation officer refused to call a doctor. The officer put transport handcuffs on the client. He wrapped the client in a sheet or blanket. The client had a seizure and felt unwell. The seizure passed, but the client did not understand what was happening and kept asking for a doctor. The client was then placed on the floor of the bus, head down, on his chest. The transport service employee put his foot on the client’s face.

There was no mattress on the bus floor. The client asked if he could sit up straight when the bus left. The client asked in Ukrainian, feeling that he was in a state of shock. The client lay down on the floor and two people sat down next to him. He did not straighten up.

Then he was taken to Schiphol Airport. The transfer took place there. He was transferred to the Americans (judicial officials). The client asked to talk/communicate with his lawyers both with the authorities of the Netherlands and with the Americans. This was denied.

The Americans then took photographs. Both from the front and in profile. The client asked for a doctor, then he met “Doug”, I don’t know if this is a real name. The client also asked for an interpreter, he did it through Google translate. He asked for names, positions and titles. He also asked for documents for translation. All of this was denied.

The client then waited in another room to continue. The client felt sick and fainted. He asked again to call a doctor. He was ignored. He was also told to be quiet, otherwise they would put a mask on him.

The client was then transferred to another part of the airport with a Dutch driver and American officials. His registration number was 4770. One of the escorts, according to the client, was drunk. But, according to the attendant, he was carrying an alcoholic hand sanitizer.

When the client did not voluntarily board the plane upon arrival, he was forcibly put on the plane. And then they threw him on the seat with aggression. They were outraged that the client did not behave like a “gentleman”. According to the client, there were diplomats in the room. The client continued to shout, asked for a lawyer again, shouted that he was being kidnapped, and was attacked again. After that, he does not remember anything. Until he came to in the basement of some institution, he does not know where exactly. Then in the Schiphol detention center. When the client regained consciousness, he was sick, everything was stiff and painful.

About his situation in the Schiphol detention center:

Now the client has no normal clothes, no TV remote control, he cannot buy food, no free access to the toilet, sometimes the guards do not let him go, then he has to relieve himself in the room if he cannot take it anymore.

Complaints about the eyes. The client would like to know what happened between the airplane and waking up in the basement. Since then he has been suffering from eye pressure and poor vision.

The books I wanted to leave behind (a Bible and a book on physics) were not allowed to be transferred to me. Even through the prison administration. No items from the outside were allowed.

I hope I have informed you sufficiently about this.

If you have any questions, you can always contact me.”

Report of the lawyer Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius
report by adv. Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius

Why is this happening? Why, before the day of extradition scheduled for January 12, 2024, Mark Sokolovskyi was held in solitary confinement for 31 days, in a cold isolation ward, restricted in everything and constantly hungry. For 31 days he did not breathe air and did not see the sun. His chronic diseases worsened, and the doctors of the institution did not respond to his complaints. For two years, not a single examination or treatment was prescribed, and Sokolovsky was in dire need of more than just medical care. Physically and psychologically, his body was exhausted every day.

And here the questions arise, not rhetorical, but in fact, to the Minister of Justice, Ms. Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius

– why Mark Sokolovskyi has not been provided with qualified medical care and has not been treated for two years.

 – why Mark Sokolovskyi was transferred to a new prison without a full examination of the injuries and beatings he suffered on January 12 during an attempted extradition;

– why Mark Sokolovskyi is still being held in a solitary confinement cell and does not have conditions of detention that meet European standards and principles of humane treatment of a person who has not been duly charged with a criminal offense and who has not been convicted by a court;

– why no measures have been taken against the persons who participated in the extradition of Mark Sokolovskyi on January 12, 2024, with the use of beatings, threats and physical humiliation;

– why the Minister of Justice and Defense has not ordered an investigation into the inhumane detention of Mark Sokolovskyi in prison, and why no measures have been taken to bring to justice the officials who allowed the inhumane treatment of Mark Sokolovskyi.

It should also be noted that the editors of “The Other Side of the Dialogue” have repeatedly addressed the Minister of Justice of the Netherlands, and have repeatedly addressed the administration of the specialized institutions where Mark Sokolovskyi is being held, asking them to comment on the situation regarding the detention of a Ukrainian citizen in inhumane conditions, but no adequate response has been received.

Our editorial team will continue to cover what is really happening in the Netherlands and how officials treat the Ukrainian citizen. People need to know the truth.

More to come.

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