Crimea: On the case of Andrei Kolomiets

posted 26 Sept 2016, 06:33 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 26 Sept 2016, 09:48 ]
19 September 2016


Photo: Mikhail Kushpel, the lawyer acting for Andrei Kolomiets

The lawyer of Andrei Kolomiets, Mikhail Kushpel, has stated that it has not yet been possible to lodge an appeal against the judgment on the basis of which the Ukrainian was sentenced in Crimea to 10 years' imprisonment, the Crimea Human Rights Group reports.

The sentence was imposed on 10 June 2016. However, when the lawyer attempted to obtain the case file and original copy of the sentence on 20 July, they would not give it to him.

The lawyer filed a complaint against the actions of the judge in the so-called Crimean Supreme Court.

The lawyer stated that he had sent an appeal against this sentence by post, however the letter had come back in an unopened envelope. The defence counsel maintains that this is a gross violation of the law, as Simferopol’s Kiev district court was under an obligation to forward the appeal to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Crimea.

The lawyer then sent follow-ups to the appeal, though he expects that these follow-ups may now be rejected, given that the appeal itself was rejected. The lawyer claims that by so doing, conditions are created so that the deadline for appealing the sentence is missed.

The impossibility of appealing the sentence violates the right of Andrei Komoliets to have access to justice.

The text of the sentence itself, notes the lawyer, contains politically motivated language.

A large proportion of the sentence has little in common with a legal text but rather constitutes a value judgment:

"On the stage at the Maidan at that time were prominent individuals such as P A Poroshenko, A P Yatseniuk, O Y Tyagnibok, Y V Lutsenko, A V Turchinov, A B Avakov, A A Parubiy and the singer Ruslan, who were actively promoting nationalism, suggesting that the Ukrainian people was superior to others, stirring up hatred of the police and the then Government in Ukraine, and voicing various extremist slogans, including those directed at stirring up hatred in the Russian population of Ukraine," reads the verdict.

The Crimean court is not only accusing Andrei Kolomiets of committing a crime, the evidence for which is extremely dubious; it is also denouncing events in Ukraine.

"…In addition, a bus would routinely arrive in the daytime with subsidised Maidan activists. Men and women aged 50-60 would get off, people dressed as priests and other types of people whose appearance would evoke sympathy. They would get off the bus holding placards and yell at law enforcement officers not to kill their children. Someone would make it look as though they were crying... The pseudo-priests got to work right in front of the police officers...," it states in the sentence.

According to experts at the Crimea Human Rights Group, such remarks demonstrate that the sentence was clearly politically motivated.

The lawyer acting for Andrei Kolomiets, Mikhail Kushel, has called the sentence egregious and cynical. The Ukrainian citizen is being implicated in circumstances that are not supported by the materials of the case. The events described in the sentence took place in Kiev, Ukraine. The people named as victims were also citizens of Ukraine at that time and served in the Ukrainian security services.

Namely, Police Lieutenant M V Kozlyakov, who served as Commander of Squad 1, Platoon 2, Operational Company 1, of BMON 'Berkut', while the victim A V Gavrilenko was Chief Inspector of a combat and specialist training group, a joint task force with the personnel of BMON 'Berkut'.

At the lawyer's request a response was received from the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine that criminal proceedings had been opened into these events. The document was submitted straight away by the lawyer during the hearing but was not taken into account by the court.

Yet the court did take as evidence of Andrei Kolomiets' testimony against himself that he maintains was given under torture. The lawyer filed a complaint about the torture with the police, the General Prosecutor's Office and the Investigative Committee. However, the lawyer still has no information about any investigations being carried out into these allegations.

The sentence was imposed on Andrei Kolomiets on 10 June 2016 in Crimea. He was found guilty of attempted murder (Art. 30, part 3 (a, b, e, l), Art. 105, part 2 of the Russian Criminal Code and Art. 69, part 3 of the Russian Criminal Code) and the possession of drugs (Art. 228, part 2 of the Russian Criminal Code), and was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment.

Tranlated by Lindsay Munford