P. 1 Art. 222 of the Russian Criminal Code (illegal storage of weapons and their main parts)
P. 2 (clause b) Art. 115 of the Russian Criminal Code (deliberate infliction of minor harm to hatred or hostility towards a particular social group)
3 years and 11 months
3.08.2018; Address while in detention: 613049, Kirov Oblast, Kirovo-Chepetsk, ul. Ovrazhnaya 16, IK-5
In December 2014, Kostenko, a former worker of the law enforcement organs in Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and a Euromaidan activist, returned to the annexed peninsula from mainland Ukraine. At the same time, a former employee of the “Berkut” Crimean Special Forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Polienko, who already worked in the occupation forces of the Crimea, filed a lawsuit against Alexander. He claimed that during the confrontation in the center of Kyiv, where Polienko was performing official duties for the protection of public order, Kostenko allegedly threw a stone at him. On 15 February 2015, Kostenko was detained at the entrance of his home in Simferopol. It is known that former Security Service of Ukraine employees were involved in the detention, who, having betrayed their oath, started serving in Russia’s FSB – Andrey Tyshenin and Artur Shambazov. Kostenko recognized them because they were acquainted before. According to his lawyer, Kostenko took part in disclosing a human trafficking scheme together with Tsihenin and Shambazov. The lawyer believes that the arrest of Kostenko could be, among other things, personal revenge. During his arrest, Oleksandr’s arm was broken, which was documented by doctors.
In Crimea, Kostenko has a wife with a half-year-old child. His mother underwent two strokes. Kostenko’s father went missing. A criminal case was initiated against his brother Yevhen for allegedly insulting a judge (“undermined the authority of the judiciary of the Russian Federation, the educational effect of the court and humiliated the honor and dignity of the Federal Judge of the Kyiv district court of Simferopol”, because he allegedly showed him “a gesture of a clearly offensive character, namely the fingers of the hand are compressed, the middle finger is raised up, denoting the male genitalia “).
Oleksandr Kostenko was convicted for being in Kyiv, participating in “the riots aimed at overthrowing the constitutional system” and “throwing a stone at a police officer, guided by ideological hatred for the officers of the internal affairs” (clause b, p.2, Art 115 of Russia’s Criminal Code).
In addition, it was claimed that during Kostenko’s arrest in his apartment, the trunk of a pistol was found. Because of this, an accusation of illicit possession of weapons and their main parts was added to the incrimination (P.1, Art. 222 of Criminal Code)
Evidence of innocence
- At the moment when Kostenko allegedly conducted the crime, the “victim” Polienko, as well as Kostenko himself, was a citizen of Ukraine. This crime, according to the investigation, was committed on the territory of Ukraine and, apparently, was not directed against the interests of the Russian Federation.
- The certificate of the investigation of the uncovered weapons parts says that the gun barrel was found on 5 February 2015.
- However, the protocol of the examination of the site indicates the next day, which should mean that the Russian version that Kostenko was arrested on February 6 was fabricated.
- At the trial, the witnesses stated that they had not seen the moment when the gun barrel was discovered. This may confirm that the gun barrel was tossed in by the police officers.
- Almost all the evidence in the case was obtained in violation of the rules of criminal procedural law. In particular, the search of Kostenko’s apartment was carried out without proper procedure and was presented as a survey of the premises.
- The witnesses, according to the lawyer, were subjected to pressure from investigators.
- During the trial, no convincing evidence was provided that Kostenko really threw a stone from police officers. The fault of Oleksandr is based only on the testimony of witnesses, who are former “Berkut” employees who then betrayed their oath and started working for the Russian “law enforcement” bodies.
- At the trial, Kostenko retracted the testimony he gave during the investigation, since it was given under torture.
Employees of the Crimean department of the FSB, Tyshenin and Shambazov, after detaining Kostenko, tortured him: put a package on his head which didn’t allow him to breathe, pressed an unloaded gun against the head and pressed the trigger, threatened to cut off his finger and send it to his relatives, beat him on the head, and electrocuted him. With these methods, they demanded Kostenko acknowledge that he committed crimes during the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv. The next day after the arrest, they forced Oleksandr to drink 200 grams of vodka and took him to the FSB, where Oleksandr played the role of turning himself in.
No investigation into the actions of the representatives of special services was carried out.
Kostenko’s lawyer also complained about the lack of proper medical assistance for his client: the hand which was broken during the arrest was not healing.
Kostenko continues to face pressure after his conviction and transportation to Kirovo-Chepetsky. In particular, in April 2016, he was reprimanded and placed in a punishment cell because he allegedly did not greet an employee of the colony administration.