Sentsov-Koltchenko trial will start on July 21

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!

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“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.

 

Free Alexandr koltchenko and Oleg Sentsov !

Crimean Antifascist militant, kidnapped and detained by the Russian State

Alexandr Koltchenko has been known for several years in Crimea for his antifascist, trade union, anarchist and ecological commitments. In 2009, he had already been the victim of a knife attack by a fascist mob for having issued a film on the murder of Crimean independent journalist Anastasia Baburova. He kept on leading his Human Rights actions, participating as such in the distinctly antifascist in Maidan Square, that led to the ousting of Ukrainian president Yanukovich, whose clan was robbing the country and exploiting its population.

During the Russikoltchenko4an military intervention, Alexandr koltchenko organized non-violent protest actions alongside the Tatar, Ukrainian and Russian citizens in protest against the military occupation who falsified the referendum. Some days before these demonstrations, the Russian police (FSB) kidnapped several organisers of the popular resistance. This was the case of Alexandr koltchenko, on the 16th of May 2014.

Along with 3 other abducted people he was accused of organising a terrorist group tied to the Ukrainian extreme-right. This is followed by a litany of delirious accusations: koltchenko would have masterminded the explosions that went off near the statue of Lenin in Simferopol, on May 8 and 9 ; sabotaged rail lines, attempted to set fire to the Russian Unity, and Crimean Russian community precincts (April 18, May 14).

Alexandr koltchenko is an antifascist militant that the Russian police wants to pass off as a fascist. Alexandre koltchenko is a man that considers himself a Ukrainian citizen, that the Russian police intends to try as a Russian citizen. He is detained in draconian conditions, his lawyers are refused elementary rights to defend him, and he is under the threat of of 15 to 20 years in a labour camp.

The trial will be between the 5th and the 15th of July, recently saying the Alexander’s advocate.

Koltchenko’s situation is symbolic of the type of repression taking place in that part of the world. But his case is far from being the only one. Through Alexandr Koltchenko’s, we are defending everyone’s democratic freedoms. We are, as he is, making a stand against those that would restrain these freedoms.

We also ask for the end of the the pursuits and the liberation of the ukrainian moviemaker Oleg Sentsov, who is accuse in the same case and who will be judge with Alexander.

As many civil rights, labour and political organisations, we call for a broad movement of international solidarity for koltchenko and Sentsov’s immediate liberation, for democratic liberties in all countries.

We denounce the kidnapping and detention of A. koltchenko and O. Sentsov by the Russian authorities, demand his immediate liberation, and for the Ukrainian government to demand likewise in an explicit way.

Beyond this campaign for Koltchenko and Sentsov, we also stuggle in solidarity with all the political prisonners of the Russian federation, the anarchists, the antifascists, the ecologists, the feminists and all the progressists activist of the social movement of Russia who are more and more numerous in work camp and jail in Russia.

After last international actions the last month, we are launching a subscription campaign to finance legal expenses and help support committees to conduct the solidarity campaign ion both Russia and Ukraine.

Campaign led by organizations of the Anakismo network : Alternative libertaire (France) ; Federación Anarquista de Rosario (Argentina).