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News on the case of Alexander Kolchenko

On April 9, Lefortovskiy district Moscow court prolonged detention of Alexander Kolchenko for a month, till May, 16. On May 16 a year will pass away since Kolchenko had been arrested in the Simferopol center as a terrorist attack suspect. 22/05/2014 he had been sent to Moscow together with other defendants and had been held in a pretrial detention center "Lefortovo" since then.

Till May 16th, Moscow City Court would ether prolong Kolchenko's detention, or change the form of pre-trial restraint. But considering the severity of charges, Kolchenko will definitely remain staying in pretrial detention. Currently he and his lawyer must begin familiarizing themselves with the case. Most likely, the case will be transfered to the military court in Rostov-on-Don this June. But it also possible, that court will decide to sent judges to Simferopol, as it would be simpler then calling 25 witnesses to Rostov-on-Don, which stays quite far from Simferopol and difficult to travel to due to long lines for a ferry at Kerch Strait.

Only after transferring of the case to the court a written non-disclosure pledge given by lawyers will expire. This prevents them to tell what they have read in case materials and have known during the investigation actions. For now, public only knows contents of indictment in bare outlines.

On April 21, Alexey Chirniy was sentenced to 7 years in prison for the same case. He was accused regarding to Russian Criminal Code article 205 pp. 5, 3, article 30 p. 3, and article 222 p. 3 (terrorism and illegal purchase, transfer, selling, storage, transportation or carrying of weapons). Chirniy admitted guilt and agreed for a plea bargain. Prosecution asked for him a sentence of 12 years in high-security prison colony, but court decided to sentence him to a term of 7 years. His collaboration with the investigation means that Chirniy, as well as Afanasiev, will witness in a way advantageous for investigation and denounce other defendants. In particular, a case against Oleg Sentsov as "organizer of a terrorist group" is framed using such witnesses.

On April 23, an appeal, regarding to the citizenship of Alexander Kolchenko, to the decision of Kievskiy District Court of Simferopol was considered by the Supreme Court of Crimea Republic. Lawyer has appealed the court decision on "automatic" provision of Kolchenko with Russian citizenship. From perspective of Russian authorities, a fact of receiving by a person a Russian citizenship as a result of living in Crimean Republic at the moment of annexation makes void the fact of his Ukrainian citizenship. Russian Federation declares Kolchenko as its own citizen and on this ground does not allow him to meet Ukrainian consul.

In April 2015 solidarity actions of different form with Alexander Kolchenko took place in 19 cities of 10 countries. Inhabitants of Paris, Bremen, Saint Petersburg, Biarritz, Minsk, Tel Aviv, Kharkov, Lviv, Tyumen, Thessaloniki, Strasbourg, Marseilles, Krivoi Rog, Warsaw, London, Milan, Leipzig, Wrocław, and Kiev demanded to set Kolchenko free immediately.


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