Art. 105 of Russia’s Criminal Code (attempt at murder), Art. 228 of Russia’s Criminal Code (storing drugs)
10 years in a strict regime penal colony
IK-14, 58 Kalinina Str., Krasnodar 350039, Russia, Andrei Kolomiyets, born 1993
Andriy Kolomiyets was born 1993 and lived in Ukraine’s Kyiv Oblast. He was detained in May 2015 in Russia’s Kabardino-Balkariya Republic, where he lived with his civil wife, Russian citizen Galina Zalikhanova. After being detained, he was transferred to Simferopol in occupied Crimea.
According to Galina, Andriy was arrested at their home by three people in masks and three in civilian clothes. They rebuked Zalikhanova for living with a “Euromaidan activist.” A search was carried out in the house, during which a pack of marijuana was found. Galina says that this package belonged to her former husband, and it was on his suggestion that the “law enforcement” officers came. In an interview with Russian media, she claimed that her former husband was disgusted with her new partner, and probably turned to the police from jealousy.
Andriy was at first transported to Nalchik, and then later, during the investigation and trial proceedings, he was incarcerated at the pre-trial detention center of Simferopol. He was accused of drug possession and attempted murder. The investigation accuses Kolomyets of being affiliated with the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), an organization which is banned in Russia along with UNA-UNSO and the Right Sector. Kolomiyets came to Kyiv in February 2014 “for the purpose of committing armed resistance to law enforcement officials” and “by throwing the bottles with an inflammatory mixture participated in the confrontation.” It is alleged that as a result of his throwing of Molotov cocktails, two employees of the Berkut special police unit, M. Kozyakov and A. Gavrilenko, suffered, as the two were sent on a business trip to Kyiv from Crimea. Today, both victims are employees of Russian “law enforcement” bodies of occupied Crimea.
In June 2016, Andriy Kolomiyts was sentenced to 10 years of a strict regime penal colony (6 years for the attack on Berkut” and 4 for storing drugs). It’s noteworthy that the verdict was announced by Mihail Belousov, a judge who has repeatedly made decisions in politically motivated cases in the occupied Crimea. The judge fully agreed with the charges made by the so-called “prosecutor” of the Crimea, Natalia Poklonskaya, and satisfied her demands regarding the severity of the punishment.
After the verdict was issued, the Ukrainian side immediately protested against this act of legal arbitrariness. The head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin called Andriy Kolomiyets a victim of “injustice” and his sentence “null,” and promised to fight for his release.
In Ukraine, Andriy Kolomiyets is wanted on charges of robbery (Part 3 of Article 187 of the Code of Civil Procedure). However, the case brought in in Ukraine has nothing to do with the allegations put forward by the Russian side. If Andriy Kolomiyets committed a crime on the territory of Ukraine, the case should be considered by the Ukrainian court. The jurisdiction of the Russian court cannot apply to foreign citizens who are suspected of committing a crime on the territory of a foreign state against citizens of the same state.
Proof of innocence
- Andriy Kolomiets retracted the acknowledgement 0f guilt which he made earlier. His lawyer has appealed against the court’s decision since the verdict was pronounced without taking into account the arguments of the defense, and without sufficient proof of guilt. However, the three appeals by the lawyer and one by Kolomiyets himself were rejected.
- By the time the Mikhail Kushpel joined the case, Kolomiyet’s interests were represented by 5 state attorneys. According to Kushpel, no one of his predecessors ever came to his client in the pre-trial detention center and did not send any appeal in his case. When he was appointed an independent lawyer, Kolomiyets retracted the previous testimony and announced that he was tortured. Nevertheless, the statements of the accused and his lawyer about illegal investigation methods did not elicit a proper response in court and were not examined further. On the contrary, Judge Belousov unequivocally stated that such statements “are critically evaluated and perceived as a way to avoid punishment.”
- The court did not provide convincing evidence of Kolomiyet’s involvement in storing drugs. Moreover, according to Galina, his civil wife, when the illegal substance was detected in their home, the law enforcement officers refused to write down this fact to the protocol.
- The materials of the case say that the victims of the Berkut “felt physical pain, their jackets were burned” when they were hit by the inflammatory mixture that Kolomiyets allegedly threw in their direction. The investigation qualified his actions as “attempted murder.” Black-and-white photographs of supposedly burned clothes of the victims served as evidence, but there was no expert examination of the photographs. In essence, the allegations are based solely on the testimony of the victims, who, after 1.5 years after the events of Euromaidan, were able to “recognize” in Kolomiyets the very person who allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail into them.
- Exactly one year before the verdict, the so-called “Crimean prosecutor” Nadiya Poklonskaya stated that all Crimeans who opposed the Berkut riot police during the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv will be found and punished. The first “punished” Ukrainian was Oleksandr Kostenko, the next – Kolomiyets. Overall, according to the Krym.Realii website, the Crimean Prosecutor’s Office has a list of 50 persons who are allegedly were involved in the events of the Revolution of Dignity and, accordingly, have to bear punishment for this. Some of these people have already been subjected to varying degrees of pressure.
- It remains a mystery on which basis Russian courts have empowered themselves to judge citizens of a foreign state for actions allegedly committed by them in relation to fellow citizens on the territory of the same foreign state. In this sense, the Kolomiyets case, like Kostenko’s case, fundamentally contradicts both international and Russian legal norms. According to them, the jurisdiction of Russian courts cannot extend to such cases whatsoever.
Andriy Kolomiyets stated that he was brutally tortured during his stay in the pre-trial detention center of Nalchik before he was transferred to Simferopol in order to extort confessions in his own case, as well as to slander Oleksandr Kostenko.
According to Andriy, a plastic bag was put over his head and his fingers were wrapped with a damp cloth fastened with paper clips, through which electric current was passed. He was also subjected to a brutal beating.
Galina Zalikhanova told about how, during a meeting with Andriy in the “E” center (against countering extremism) in Nalchik a few days after his arrest, he said:
I’m in pain, my backside hurts, please don’t hug me much.
Already during court hearings, Galina spoke to the judge:
He showed me the places where he was electrocuted. He had little cuts, here, here, and here. I saw them.Whispering, he told me that he was beaten.Here, he looks healthier. In Nalchik, he looked awful.
She said she was initially afraid to tell about the torture in Nalchik, because theoperatives threatened to deprive her of parental rights.