war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Court guards needed to protect judge upholding acquittal

The acquittal has just come into force of 25-year-old Serhiy Tolsky from Donetsk who spent two and a half years in prison for the murder of a man he didn’t even know. According to the newspaper "", the murder of 46-year-old Hryhory Polushkov in 2008 coincided with a check by the Interior Ministry.  In their zeal to report that they had swiftly solved the crime, police officers from the Kalininsky District Police State grabbed student SerhiyTolsky. Serhiy himself and the witness confirming his alibi were tortured.  The newspaper reports that during the criminal investigation evidence was destroyed which pointed to the real murders, and criminal cases were brought against relatives to stop them fighting for the release of an innocent man.

The Prosecutor’s Office appealed however the Court of Appeal upheld the acquittal.

Serhiy Tolsky’s advocate had stated during the appeal hearing that the Prosecutor of the Kalininsky District was putting pressure on the court. She alleges that the judge in the case had her car damaged, and faced threats.  She felt the need to ask for protection from 20 court police officers stating that this was because of pressure from the Prosecutor.

Tetyana Matyash adds that the Tolsky case demonstrates that anybody can find themselves accused of any crime.  However the fact that he was acquitted does nonetheless prove that there is still a justice system in Ukraine.

Serhiy Tolsky was released from custody in March 2011, but he had spent 2.5 years in detention. His lawyers believe that he can demand from 30-60 thousand EUR in compensation.  His mother says that they will seek redress through the courts against the law enforcement officers and the state. She herself lost her job in a bank because of the charges against her son and has spent 20 thousand USD on legal aid.  Serhiy Tolsky is looking forward to leading a normal life, finishing his education and finding work.  

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