Evgeniya Vichkanova (state-appointed lawyer)
- part 1 of article 30 and part 2 of article 205 of the Russian Criminal Code (preparation of a terrorist act)
- part 2 of article 222.1 of the Russian Criminal Code (illegal bearing of explosive devices)
- part 1 of article 322 (illegal crossing of the state border of the Russian Federation)
August 26, 2016
12 years in a strict regime colony and a fine of 250 thousand rubles
days in custody
Oleksiy Syzonovych, a 62-year-old Ukrainian pensioner from Krasnodon (Luhansk Oblast), was arrested in August 2016 at the Izvarino checkpoint while crossing the border between the territory of the self proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (“LNR”) and Russia. He is accused of having created in April 2014 in Kyiv, together with an “unidentified person,” a criminal group that planified terrorist attacks in the territory of the “LNR” and in the Rostov Oblast (Russian Federation). According to the case materials, Syzonovych prepared explosive devices upon instructions that had been given to him, and he received financial rewards. Among the terrorist attacks mentioned by FSB investigators, Syzonovych is accused of having planified bombings near railway and bus stations in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky (Rostov region) on the days of the elections to the State Duma in September 2016.
On 31 July 2017, Oleksiy Syzonovych was sentenced by the North-Caucasian District Military Court to 12 years of imprisonment in a strict regime colony and to a 250 thousand rubles fine.
Despite Syzonovych pleading guilty to all the charges against him, the speed at which his case for terrorism was examined (and the fact that self proclaimed “”LNR authorities have requested his extradition – the first addressed to Russia concerning a Ukrainian citizen – raise concerns over the political nature of the case. Indeed, Russia’s acceptance of such a request would equate to recognition of the “LNR” judiciary. There is also a lack of information about Syzonovych’s arrest at the Izvarino checkpoint that raise concerns that he may had been handed over by “LNR” forces to the Russian law enforcement agencies.
According to some testimonies, Syzonovych was arrested on 26 August 2016 – when he attempted to sabotage railway tracks- but he managed to escape by jumping from a bridge into a river. However, during the court hearing Syzonovych declared that he can’t swim. This is the only objection Syzonovych made during the court hearings.
All twelve prosecution witnesses, among which are members of the self-proclaimed “LNR” security forces, were absent and their testimonies weren’t fully read. The examination of the evidence supporting the charges was made expeditiously, in roughly an hour and a half.
Tortures and pressure
Syzonovych says that he was severely beaten and tortured with electric shocks when he was detained in Rostov-on-Don. He reported that he has twice been in a state of clinical death. He also suffers from severe headaches and heart problems as a result of the torture he endured.
He was prevented from meeting with a representative of the Ukrainian consulate for a year and a half. It is only after his transfer to the penal colony that he was able to meet with the Ukrainian consul in Novosibirsk in March 2018.