Sister speaks out in war of words with Russia as aid worker dies

Tragic Briton ‘tortured by Putin’s thugs’: Sister speaks out in war of words with Russia as diabetic aid worker dies in prison after being arrested over bogus mercenary claims

  •  Paul Urey, 45, a diabetic aid worker died behind bars in Russian-held Ukraine 
  •  The father-of-two had his sister, Lyndsey Coulton, speak to the Foreign Office 
  •  His death has triggered a furious diplomatic dispute between the UK and Russia
  •  Last night Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: ‘Russia must bear full responsibility’

A British aid worker who died behind bars in Russian-held Ukraine was tortured by Vladimir Putin’s henchmen, his sister said last night.

Her claims about Paul Urey, 45, a type 1 diabetic, were shockingly backed up by a human rights group which said his death echoed those of others tortured in Russian jails.

Mr Urey’s sister, Lyndsey Coulton, spoke out after the Foreign Office informed the family of the father-of-two’s death. It came after over ten weeks of captivity in the hands of separatists in the Donetsk region. ‘[The Russians] did something to him, I think they tortured him,’ she said.

‘Officially he died due to chronic illness and depression, but I don’t think it was that.’ She added: ‘More could have been done to save him. Why wasn’t he part of a prisoner swap?’ Vladimir Osechkin, founder of anti-torture group Gulagu, supported her claims.

Paul Urey, 45, a British aid worker captured by Russian forces in Ukraine on April 25, died of ‘illness and stress’ while in jail on July 10, Moscow-backed separatists said 

Linda Urey, Paul’s mother (pictured at the time he was originally captured), has branded his jailers ‘f***ing murderers’ who ‘let him die’

‘Our source said from 28 April 2022 [Paul Urey] was kept in Donetsk torture pre-trial detention centre, where torture experts from FSIN (the Russian penitentiary system) and FSB (the Russian secret service) worked with him,’ he said. ‘The Briton suddenly got colossal health issues, related to disrupted work of kidneys and other vital organs. Exactly the same diagnoses are given by Russian prison doctors to those who are tortured to death in jails.’

Mr Urey’s death has triggered a furious diplomatic dispute between the UK and Russia.

Last night his mother Linda Urey, 62, who had a special relationship with her son having reunited after he was put up for adoption, said of his captors: ‘Murderers, that’s what you are, murderers. I hate you all. I told you he was a sick man, I told you he was diabetic.’

Liz Truss has summoned the Russian ambassador, and said the country must ‘bear full responsibility’ for Mr Urey’s death

Mr Urey, from Culcheth near Warrington, had been working for humanitarian organisation the Presidium Network, seeking to rescue women and children from Ukrainian villages near the frontline. He was detained at a Russian checkpoint on April 25 and accused of ‘mercenary activities’. Prior to his death, Mr Urey was held in Ukrainian territory occupied by pro-Russian separatists.

They have set up a people’s republic and pledged allegiance to Moscow. Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) official Daria Morozova claimed that ‘British representatives ignored the possibility of negotiating his return’ and alleged they ‘did not provide the necessary medical supplies through the Red Cross’.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss led a chorus of outrage last night, saying: ‘Russia must bear full responsibility. He was helping Ukrainian people in the face of the unprovoked invasion. Those responsible will be held to account.’

The UK’s refusal to recognise the DPR may have proved an obstacle to negotiating Mr Urey’s release and that of other captured Britons. Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner are awaiting execution having been found guilty of the false charge of being mercenaries.

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