Danylovich’s lawyer Aider Azamatov has been searching for her in detention centers on the peninsula for the past 12 days. He told CNN that, like her friends and family, he was repeatedly rejected and told by authorities that they had no information about Danylovich.
That all changed on Wednesday afternoon.
“We went back to the detention center in Simferopol and I was finally told that Iryna is there. They didn’t let us talk or see each other,” he said.
Azamatov told CNN that he had received documents showing that Danylovich has been charged with illegally handling explosives or explosives, a charge she denies.
Danylovich’s father Bronislav told Radio Liberty-affiliated news site Krym.Realii that his daughter went missing on the morning of April 29, after she finished her shift at a medical facility in Koktebel, southeastern Crimea.
Around the same time, Azamatov said, balaclava-clad officials from the Russian special police unit arrived at the house Danylovich shares with her parents in the village of Vladislavovka, near Feodosiya. Vladislavovka is located about 34 kilometers (21 mi) from Koktebel.
He told CNN that officials who searched the family’s home told her father she had been sentenced to 10 days of administrative arrest for “transferring unclassified information to a foreign state.”
However, they refused to hand over any documents.
Crimean authorities were not immediately available for comment on Wednesday afternoon.
When CNN inquired about Danylovich on Tuesday, Crimea authorities declined to comment. The duty officer of the prosecutor’s office of Russian-occupied Crimea referred CNN to authorities in Danylovich’s hometown.
When CNN reached the police station in Feodosiya on Tuesday, the person who answered the call said he had no knowledge of the matter and hung up.
The Interior Ministry of Russian-occupied Crimea did not respond to a written request for comment. A telephone number on the website cannot be reached.
Through her work as a citizen journalist, Danylovich has exposed problems in Crimea’s healthcare system, including in her response to the coronavirus pandemic. She has written for a number of Ukrainian media outlets and has published her findings on Facebook.
Human rights organization Krim SOS said on Wednesday that Danylovich could face up to eight years in prison.
“Human rights activists are now investigating whether there has been falsification of evidence. It is known that Iryna does not admit her guilt and has refused to testify,” the group said in a statement.
It added that the case contains “all the elements of an enforced disappearance”.
The term enforced disappearance describes disappearances committed by state actors or by others acting on behalf or with the support of government agencies, followed by a refusal to disclose the person’s fate and whereabouts.
Because the authorities refuse to recognize detention, the victim has no legal protection whatsoever and perpetrators are rarely prosecuted, the UN said.
The UN says the practice is often used as a strategy to spread terror in society.
Danylovich’s case is the latest in a series of disappearances of activists, journalists and ordinary citizens reported in Crimea over the past decade.
The UN said it was mainly kidnappings and kidnappings and that some of the victims – 39 men and four women – had been subjected to ill-treatment and torture. Eleven of the men remained missing and one man was still in custody at the time of the report.
The UN said it had been unable to document any prosecutions related to any of the cases.
Anna Chernova of CNN has reported.