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2 June 2016

posted 2 Jun 2016, 02:30 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 2 Jun 2016, 02:30 ]
Russia rejects appeal against Ukrainian filmmaker Sentsov’s 20-year sentence

Russia’s Supreme Court has refused to even consider the cassation appeal lodged against the sentences passed on world-renowned filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko. The move was predictable, yet still profoundly disturbing given the lack of any grounds for the charges and “Stalinist” nature of the trial. Dmitry Dinze, Sentsov’s lawyer, had earlier explained that they were appealing against virtually every point in the first court’s sentence and seeking an acquittal. This was a cassation level appeal, since the sentences passed on August 25, 2015 had already been upheld by a Supreme Court military panel on Nov 24. The November appeal hearing had been insultingly short. Sentsov and Kolchenko were not brought to the court, but watched the proceedings by video link from the remand prison. Neither man was under any illusion then about the chances for a fair hearing, and Sentsov positively refused to stand when answering questions from the court. “I don’t usually stand when I watch television, your honour”, he responded when the judge tried to reprimand him for this. This time the appeal was not even heard, although the defence had presented compelling grounds for disputing the verdict. Vladimir Samokhin, who is also representing Sentsov, explained in detail how the court had convicted Sentsov of creating a terrorist organization without seeing any evidence that such an organization had existed, let alone that Sentsov had been a member of it. The indictment against the men did not contain any elements of the ‘terrorism’ they were charged with. Samokhin outlined also the numerous infringement of procedure during the trial.  The cassation appeals were much more detailed, but essentially repeated the key findings which prompted the Memorial Human Rights Centre to declare both Sentsov and Kolchenko political prisoners. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [written by Halya Coynash]