Legal Case of the Week: Aleksei Shestakovych

posted 26 Sept 2016, 02:29 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 26 Sept 2016, 02:31 ]
On 20 September 2016 Judge Elena Toshina fined Aleksei Shestakovych 1,000 roubles for a video he reposted 4 years before Russia occupied Crimea. As Human Rights in Ukraine reports: "Shestakovych had notified his intention of holding a picket of the FSB on 20 September. Two days earlier, on the day of the elections, he was stopped by four men in plain clothes, one of whom produced police ID. They demanded to see his identification, and when Shestakovych showed his passport, they took him away, purportedly for a narcotics test. He was taken to the so-called ‘Centre for Countering Extremism’ where they began drawing up an administrative protocol over his posting of a video in 2010 on the social network VKontakte. The video has since apparently been found to be ‘extremist’ by a Russian court in Russia." According to Shestekovych, the officers also claimed that he had either drawn graffiti, or knew who had, calling on people in Simferopol to boycott the upcoming elections. Shestakovych told the officers he supported the boycott, but denied that he had anything to do with the graffiti. 

It was reported that the trial had numerous procedural irregularities. For example, as Human Rights in Ukraine notes, at the beginning of the hearing the judge rejected the application for permission to video proceedings; the protocol for the examination of the "offending material" had no name on it; the judge described as "small discrepancies" records showing that one of the witnesses for the prosecution had begun providing his report before the alleged offence was noticed; and one officer gave a date for the alleged offence at variance to the date on an official protocol.

The same day another Simferopol court rejected Aleksei Shestakvych's appeal against a 20,000 rouble fine for a peaceful picket in support of political prisoners. In July Human Rights in Ukraine reported that Shestakovych had been detained "for organizing a small picket calling for the release of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko and others." At that time he was charged with "infringing the rules on holding a public gathering”. A video of the event, however, shows the participants standing in a row with placards in defence of political prisoners. As Human Rights in Ukraine report: "The police appeared and demanded to see their ‘permit’. The protesters were outnumbered by the police, and the only heavy-handed measure was the administrative protocol against Shestakovych. This resulted in the 20-thousand rouble fine which has now been upheld."

Photo: Human Rights in Ukraine

Halya Coynash, 'Crimean activist fined for "extremist post" 4 YEARS before Russian annexation,' Human Rights in Ukraine, 22 September 2016
Halya Coynash, 'Crimean activist detained for defence of political prisoners Sentsov & Kolchenko,' Human Rights in Ukraine, 4 July 2016