Press release August 24, 2015
Russian Military Court Convicts Ukrainian Demonstrators for “Terrorism”
Russia's concerted campaign to silence critics of its actions in Crimea shows the truly repressive nature of its actions in Ukraine.
Following a Russian military court’s conviction of Oleh Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko, pro-Ukrainian activists from Crimea, on the charge of conspiracy to commit terrorism, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Russia convicted Oleh Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko on a farcical charge of conspiracy to commit terrorism,” said Mark P. Lagon, president of Freedom House. “Russia's concerted campaign to silence critics of its actions in Crimea shows the truly repressive nature of its actions in Ukraine.”
In May 2014, Russian security forces in Crimea arrested Sentsov, an Ukrainian filmmaker, and Kolchenko, a civil society activist, and placed on them on trial in a closed military court in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.
Sentsov and Kolchenko were arrested after participating in pro-Ukrainian demonstrations and actions in Crimea, and then charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism. Authorities tried them as Russian citizens, after issuing them Russian passports against the defendants’ will. The charge of conspiracy to commit terrorism is based primarily on testimony extracted during alleged torture.