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09.09.2015

Oleg Sentsov sues Russian TV channels for defamation

   

A Moscow court is due to hear a defamation suit brought by one of the lawyers representing Ukrainian film director and recognized political prisoner Oleg Sentsov against mainstream Russian television channels.  The law suit will certainly be rejected, but it can at least highlight the way in which the Russian media followed the FSB in treating Oleg Sentsov and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko as ‘terrorists’ from the outset. 

Sentsov’s lawyer, Dmitry Dinze explained to Radio Svoboda that one of his colleagues is dealing with the suit, due to be heard by a district court in Moscow on Sept. 9. 

The defence argues that the media circulated the FSB’s statement about a terrorist group with specific names, and spoke about them from then on as though their guilt was proven.  

This is undoubtedly true, but there are problems.  The first is that the FSB report, while observing certain formalities, such as the use of the word ‘suspect’, also demonstrates total contempt of the presumption of innocence.   It claims that the four men were members of a Right Sector ‘diversionary terrorist group’ and that their main aim was to carry out ‘diversionary-terrorist’ acts in Simferopol; Yalta and Sevastopol. 

The other problem is the political nature of the entire prosecution, and the lack of any grounds for believing that a Russian court will issue a law-based ruling.  There is literally no evidence against Sentsov except for the testimony of the other two men arrested, both of whom had given ‘confessions’ and received minimum sentences for cooperating with the investigators.  One of the two men – Gennady Afanasyev appeared in court on July 31 and retracted his testimony, saying that it had all been given under torture.   Kolchenko does not deny his role in a firebomb attack late in the night on the deserted offices of a pro-Russian organization closely cooperating with the Russian forces who invaded and occupied Crimea.  He, his lawyer and the renowned Memorial Human Rights Centre point out that the offence can in no way be deemed ‘terrorism’. 

As, unfortunately, expected, all of the above was ignored, and on Aug 25, the military court in Rostov on the Don (under judges: Sergei Mikhailyuk,  Viacheslav Korsakov and Edward Korobenko) found both men guilty of all charges presented by prosecutor Igor Tkachenko.  Sentsov, as supposed ‘mastermind’ of the alleged terrorist group was sentenced to 20 years, Kolchenko to 10. 

Dinze says that the defence have already lodged their appeal against Sentsov’s conviction and are seeking his total acquittal.  Kolchenko will be doing the same.

More details here:

Russia’s Sentsov – Kolchenko case - "an absolutely Stalinist trial"

Sentsov & Kolchenko declared political prisoners as rot exposed in Russia’s Crimean ‘terrorist’ trial

PLEASE WRITE TO BOTH OLEG AND OLEKSANDR!

Oleg Sentsov

344082, г. Ростов-на-Дону, ая 2710, Сенцову Олегу Геннадьевичу, 1976 г.р.

Oleksandr Kolchenko 

344082, г. Ростов-на-Дону, ая 2710, Кольченко Александру Александровичу, 1989 г.р.

Details and one possible suggestion can be found here: Oppose Russian tyranny with your pen!

Halya Coynash
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