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18.07.2007

No compensation for 8 months remanded in a SIZO?

   

The Donetsk Court of Appeal has allowed the Prosecutor to not pay lawyer Serhiy Salov 2 million UAH for 8 months in a SIZO [pre-trial detention centre].  This revoked the ruling by the Voroshilovsky District Court in Donetsk which had order the Prosecutor to pay this amount in compensation for moral damages over the unwarranted detention in custody. The Court of Appeal has sent the case back to the same court for a new examination.

It is not quite clear why the original ruling was revoked – supposedly some mistakes in procedure which Mr Salov believes to be an excuse. He says, however, that he may abandon his suit.  He expressed his outrage as follows:

“I sought rehabilitation for eight years. Am I now to spend just as long trying to get compensation?”

He pointed out to the newspaper “Ostrov” that nobody had been punished for the fact that he had been held illegally in a SIZO for 8 months.

Serhiy Salov’s frustration is easy to understand.  His “case” began 8 years ago, during the Presidential election campaign. After he found a fake special issue of the newspaper “Holos Ukrainy” [“Voice of Ukraine”] which, in an address allegedly from the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada informed of the death of one of the candidates for the Presidency and the then President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma.  Mr Salov decided to show it to friends.  On 6 July 2000 the District Court convicted Salov of interfering with the civil right to vote for the purpose of influencing the presidential election results (Article 127 of the “former” Criminal Code of Ukraine). The District Court sentenced the applicant to five years’ imprisonment, which was suspended for a two-year probationary period.

As mentioned, Serhiy Salov spent 8 months remanded in custody.

The European Court of Human Rights issued a judgment over this case in 2005 finding that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 3 (he had not been brought promptly before a judge or other judicial authority in order to have his arrest reviewed), Article 6 § 1 (the right to a fair trial) and Article 10 (freedom of expression – in this case the right to receive and impart information).

On 27 January this year the Supreme Court quashed all the previous rulings from domestic courts handed down in Mr Salov’s case.

Based on information from ECHR and www.ostro.org

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