According to the informations we received from Ukraine, the trial will begin on July 21st. It is thus important to continue and amplify the mobilization for the liberation of Koltchenko, Sentsov and all the other political prisoners detained in Russia!
“The first hearing on the actual charges against renowned film director Oleg Sentsov and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko is due to take place on July 21. At the preliminary hearing on July 9, Judge Sergei Mikhayuk extended the two Crimeans’ detention until Dec 16 and rejected two applications from the defence, including permission to video the trial. Russia certainly has a lot to hide in this case, and even with the hearings from July 21 open, the undertaking forced upon the lawyers to not divulge any details will still extend to any information deemed a ‘state secret’. Since this would always be the case, it remains to be seen how broadly the term ‘state secret’ is applied in this case. Certainly charges of ‘terrorism’ have been used extremely loosely in the prosecution of four Ukrainian opponents of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Both Sentsov and Kolchenko reject all charges of terrorism. Kolchenko fully admits to hurling a Molotov cocktail at a building housing pro-Russian organizations, but denies, quite correctly, that this was terrorism. Importantly, Kolchenko also rejects the claims made by the other two men arrested which constitute the sole ‘evidence’ that the ‘case’ against Sentsov is based on. Gennady Afanasyev and Oleksy Chirniy were also arrested in May 2014 and held without access to lawyers or contact with their families for some time. While Sentsov and Kolchenko have both insisted that they were tortured during that period and threatened if they didn’t ‘confess’, the other two men did provide ‘confessions’ and later chose to cooperate with the prosecution, for which they received 7 year sentences against the 17-20 years which Sentsov and Kolchenko face.”
Information from an human rights organization in Ukraine. Read the article here.