Russia launches another 17 criminal cases for draft evasion in occupied Crimea.

Russian occupation authorities in Crimea have opened 17 criminal cases against the local residents for refusing to serve in the Russian army.

That’s according to Ukrinform referring to the Crimean Human Rights Group.

"In July, the Crimean Human Rights Group recorded 17 new criminal cases against Crimean residents under Art. 328 of the Criminal Code (Russian army draft evasion). In addition, 12 new sentences were handed down under Art. 328 of the Criminal Code," the report reads.

As of late July, the CHRG recorded a total of 244 such criminal cases, forwarded to the Crimea "courts," including 222 where guilty verdicts have been issued and another 22 pending cases.

Read also: Crimea n Platform: Kuleba reveals summit’s four thematic panels

The rights group reminded that the conscription of residents of the occupied territories to the occupying power’s army ranks, as well as continuous propaganda of military service with the Russian army in Crimea violate Article 51 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

In addition, transferring Ukrainian citizens for military service in mainland Russia violates Article 49 of the said Convention.

Read also: 29 countries confirm participation in Crimea n Platform

Head of the Crimean Human Rights Group, Olha Skrypnyk, explains that, under Ukrainian law, citizens currently living in the occupied Crimea, even if they were forced to obtain Russian passports, are still recognized citizens of Ukraine.

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