Home > Investigation > US seeks extradition of Ukrainian IT specialist on unprecedented cybercrime charges

US seeks extradition of Ukrainian IT specialist on unprecedented cybercrime charges

Since March 20, 2022, Mark Sokolovskyi, a Ukrainian citizen, has been held in a Dutch prison in inhumane conditions, accused by the US Attorney for the State of Texas of a serious cybercrime and harming US national security. In many ways, this story resembles the script of some Hollywood blockbuster about spies and hackers, but reality is much more interesting than any human fantasy.

This is our first publication about Mark Sokolovskyi, but not the last. We decided to conduct our own public journalistic investigation and find out all the details of this case, why a Ukrainian citizen has been detained in inhumane conditions in the Netherlands for so long, why the US government is so concerned about the fate of the Ukrainian, and why Ukraine has not yet intervened in the situation.

Sokolovskyi has been publicly charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and related computer-related activities; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; and one count of aggravated identity theft. As Mark Sokolovskyi’s lawyers have informed our publication, this indictment has not been officially served on Mark, but was recently received by Mark’s lawyer in a Texas court, and we have been promised full information on this matter for our next publication.

On September 13, 2022, the District Court of Amsterdam decided to extradite the defendant to the United States. Mark Sokolovski appealed this decision, but the appeal was denied and on 07.12.2023, the Minister of Justice and Defense of the Netherlands, Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius, planned to hand over Mark Sokolovski, he was to be taken from the Netherlands on a charter flight to Texas, accompanied by FBI agents. However, the extradition has been disrupted twice already due to the deterioration of Mark Sokolovskyi’s health.

If Mark Sokolovskyi is found guilty, he could be sentenced to 47 years in prison on all charges. However, it should be remembered that any person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law. At the moment, there is no court verdict against Marko Sokolovskyi, and no investigative actions involving Marko have been conducted for two years.

For a long time, from 20.03.2022 and until 07.12.2023, Mark Sokolovskyi was detained in a special institution in the Netherlands – the Zaanstad judicial complex, where he could not receive the specialized medical care he needed, was prohibited from using a computer, and was restricted in access to books and information. And on December 07, 2023, after a psychological breakdown, Mark Sokolovskyi was transferred to a cold punishment cell, where he was held in inhumane conditions until January 12, 2024.

The official website of the Netherlands Judicial Facilities Agency says about the Zaanstad complex:

“The Zaanstad Judicial Complex (JC) can accommodate more than 1000 prisoners, including detained psychiatric patients. Special care for them is provided in the closed clinic of the Prison Psychiatric Center (PPC).”

The facility offers prisoners opportunities to maximize their independence (individual freedom of movement), prevent hospitalization and better prepare them for re-entry into society.

The JC Zaanstad meets all modern requirements and standards, such as daylight and ventilation, and offers connectivity to modern ICT and security technologies.”

However, in reality, according to Mark Sokolovskyi, it is quite the opposite.

From Mark’s diary (when he was in the punishment cell), which was provided to us by his mother and representative Elena Nekhaeva:

“The guards are very angry, sometimes they have sadistic tendencies, they can give you 75 ml of tea instead of 150 ml, or give you waste instead of food and say ‘we don’t have normal food’ (as it was on 06.01.2024 at about 11:00). Or they can do this several times in a row, forcing you to eat the waste out of desperation and hunger and watch it on camera, then come and mock you, asking, “Well, is it tasty”? Seeing you throwing up in the toilet. Or they might say, “Even my dog eats better.” They may spit in your tea. They may call you names in front of your colleagues and laugh at you. When you tell them that you have rights and you are violating my human rights, some guards just start laughing.

In December 2023, at the initiative of Mark Sokolovskyi’s representative, Elena Nekhaeva, a group of Ukrainians met with Mark in an isolated room in the presence of two guards from the Zaanstad, at the very moment he was being held in the punishment cell.

The participants of the meeting stated:

 – “We were looking at a thin man with a grayish-yellow complexion, with inflamed red eyes, a man whose skin was scratched and inflamed. He looked like a teenager, short in stature. His height and weight is approximately 55-58 kg. He was wearing dirty, stale clothes that were three sizes too big for him. When he saw us, he shrunk back with his whole face, became frightened and anxious. At that moment, he gave us the impression that we were talking to an emotionally ill person …

Mark Sokolovskyi has been fighting for his rights for two years now, and he has serious health problems and needs medical care. It is absolutely undesirable to interrupt the treatment that Mark has been receiving on the outside, as evidenced by medical certificates. Mark Sokolovskyi constantly informed the Zaanstad complex and the medical staff about his health and pain, filed complaints and asked for help. He told the judges in the courts that he was suffering from severe pain, that everything hurt, he asked for help and the judges promised to look into the problem, but no one did anything, it was all just empty promises. Everyone is informed that the guy is in severe pain because he has a number of chronic diseases. His most serious illness is a congenital disease of the central nervous system, atopic dermatitis, and metal plates in his head after surgery, which began to shift and cause him pain. Mark, during his stay at the Zaanstad complex, did not receive the systematic treatment he had previously received in Ukraine. The lack of treatment has led to a deterioration of his health in the Zaanstad Complex. For two years, he has been receiving only paracetamol as treatment, just to relieve pain.

Perhaps this is because Mark’s case is subject to a Dutch court decision to extradite him to the United States, so the Dutch penitentiary service does not consider him “theirs” – they will extradite him and get rid of the problem. The prolonged detention of Marko Sokolovskyi and the legal restrictions imposed on him, the lack of adequate medical care and treatment, and the constant psychological pressure on him by the administration of the Zaanstad complex have led to a significant deterioration in Marko Sokolovskyi’s physical and mental health.

As a result, Mark Sokolovskyi suffered a mental breakdown. But instead of placing him in a medical facility for the treatment of mental illness, since 07.12.2023, he has been isolated in a cold punishment cell in order to force him to abandon the defense of his rights and to stop his complaints against the Dutch government. In this punishment cell, Mark was subjected to inhuman treatment and detention conditions with signs of torture, which was recorded by outsiders: The Initiative of activists fighting against torture in the Zaanstad complex (as mentioned above), Mark Sokolovskyi’s Dutch lawyer and the Ukrainian consul in the Netherlands. Such inhumane treatment of Mark Sokolovskyi has been going on all this time and up to now.

The other day, on January 12, 2024, they tried to extradite Mark Sokolovskyi in a very serious condition (with a battered face, and the “fasteners” that hold the iron plate placed in the guy’s face have already been torn off) to America. The medical staff of the penitentiary institution in the Netherlands wrote that he was completely healthy. Mark Sokolovskyi’s representative, Elena Nekhaeva, believes that this is a lie to please the Dutch Minister of Justice. Marko’s Dutch lawyer has made conclusions, and this is a quote from his letter:

– “So the Ministry of Justice has reneged on its promise to conduct a psychiatric examination before making a decision? This is a shocking breach of trust.”

Quote from the second lawyer:

– I will formally request that the Minister and the Prosecutor postpone this flight, as we conclude that Mark cannot undergo procedures in the United States due to his medical condition.

According to Mark Sokolovskyi, on the morning of January 12, the staff of the facility came to pick him up and ordered him to get dressed to leave. Mark already knew that he would be escorted to the plane to the United States.

According to his lawyer, the Ministry reported that Mark fainted/froze on the plane. The doctor on board the American plane did not want to risk the flight, not knowing for sure that Mark was okay, and without any additional medical information. Since Mark refused to share his medical information, the Americans decided to return without Mark on board.

The lawyer says that this came to light only after he managed to talk to one of the ministers, who ordered an ambulance to come for Mark for a medical examination and transportation to the hospital. There, at the hospital, all the tests were positive, and the medical report said that everything was fine.

However, according to Marko himself, this was not the case.

In the morning, a large number of Zaanstad employees came to the cell and told Mark that he was being extradited today. And everything would have been fine, if not for a few “buts”.

Firstly, no one warned Mark Sokolovskyi that he would be extradited today.

Secondly, on Tuesday, Mark was scheduled to have an interview with the Migration Service regarding his refugee status, which he requested from the Dutch authorities.

His first attempt was unsuccessful. It all ended with Mark getting sick on the plane, losing consciousness, and the FBI officers did not take responsibility for transporting the prisoner to America in such a state. The same cannot be said about the Dutch officers. They not only exceeded their authority, but also beat Mark while transporting him to the plane.

According to the lawyer, Sokolovskyi was sent to the hospital from the plane; according to Mark himself, he was taken to a cold basement in a prison near the airport, covered in bruises and with a damaged face plate. Mark was given the opportunity to call his lawyer and told his representative Elena Nekhaeva that in the morning the staff forced him to the floor, one of the guards stepped on his face with his boot and damaged his face plate. He was taken by force to the plane, where he lost consciousness. Mark does not remember how he ended up in the basement. Mark also managed to say that he was allowed to use the phone only once every two weeks, and he does not know what will happen to him.

 How could they not examine Mark for bodily injuries when they admitted him? They just dragged him in like a sack of potatoes.

And these are just a few days out of the two years Mark Sokolovskyi has been detained in the Zaanstad court complex. A few days of abuse of a Ukrainian citizen whose guilt has not been proven by the court. A few days out of two years of abuse. Dozens of written complaints to all instances remain unanswered. The Minister of Justice and Defense of the Netherlands, Ms. Dylan Jesch Ilgoz-Zegherius, knows about Mark Sokolovskyi, but complaints addressed to her remain unanswered. On the official website of the Dutch government, Dylan Eschilgez-Zegherius positions herself as a fighter for justice:

– I am going to promote, protect and strengthen the rule of law. I want people to be confident in the protection it offers. And we will take a tough stance against those who undermine the rule of law.

But, judging by the testimony of Mark Sokolovskyi and his representative, this is far from the case.


The Consul Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine to the Netherlands, Oleksandr Karasevych (in office since June 2023), knows about the Dutch prisoner Mark Sokolovskyi, but apparently he has other problems and is not up to Ukrainian prisoners in the Netherlands. We also have correspondence from Olena Nekhayeva and lawyer Mark Sokolovsky with the Ukrainian consul.

We very much hope that the representatives of Ukraine in the Netherlands will be able to give an interview to our editorial board and will finally begin to fully exercise their powers to protect Ukrainian citizens in the Netherlands.

To be continued.

P.S. Mark Sokolovskyi is currently being held in the Schiphol court complex in the Netherlands after an unsuccessful attempt to take him on a charter flight to the United States.


The complex is located next to Schiphol Airport and is a DJI location built and operated under a public-private partnership. A DJI is a form of cooperation between a government and one or more private companies.


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