Odessa Resident Given 13 Years in Jail For “Terrorism” Because He Couldn’t Prove He Was Tortured

Translated by Ollie Richardson



The Ovidiopolsky district court of the Odessa region announced on May 4th that the inhabitant of Odessa region Konstantin Kalashnikov, who is accused of exploding railway tracks near Velikodolinskoye, had been sentenced to 13 years of prison with confiscation of property.

According to the investigators, at the beginning of April, 2015, Kalashnikov colluded with certain persons (whose names aren’t mentioned in the case papers, because a separate case was opened against them). The organization of sabotage in the region was the aim of the collusion. One of the objects selected for sabotage allegedly was the site of the railroad at Velikodolinskoye on the section Akkarzha-Ksenievo.

According to the investigators, the unnamed accomplices of Kalashnikov placed an explosive device, and Kalashnikov had to on their signal (SMS sent to a mobile phone) call a number given to him by accomplices, which would activate the explosive device. However, having received the agreed signal, Kalashnikov allegedly didn’t begin to call and went home after throwing the phone into a small river. However, the explosion happened anyway: according to the investigators, the explosive device was in addition (?) equipped with a timer that worked and caused the explosion.

I.e., even according to the official version of events of the investigation, Kalashnikov didn’t actually blow anything up, and didn’t even plant an explosive — i.e. in the worst-for-himself case scenario he is an accomplice of sabotage.

On July 5th, 2015, Kalashnikov and 6 other people (residents of Odessa and Nikolaev) were arrested by employees of the SBU. During a search of Kalashnikov’s house two blocks of trotyl were allegedly found. However, the witnesses (two servicemen) who were present at the search couldn’t remember where exactly and under what circumstances these blocks were found. Fingerprint examination also couldn’t confirm that Kalashnikov is somehow connected with these blocks: they didn’t find neither prints, nor skin secretions. Kalashnikov claims that the blocks don’t belong to him and that they were planted during the search.

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It is interesting that the same trotyl blocks, and also exactly in two pieces, were found at during a search of the houses of other detainees along with Kalashnikov.

At an initial stage of the investigation Kalashnikov admitted his guilt and even participated in an investigative experiment, during which he showed and described to investigators his actions on the day of the explosion. This protocol also formed the basis of the charge: other proof directly indicating Kalashnikov’s connection to the explosion didn’t appear in the verdict.

However, later in the courtroom Kalashnikov refused his own confession, stating that it was made “under the influence of measures of physical and psychological pressure”, i.e. under torture. In fact, according to the law, the statement of Kalashnikov in the courtroom about him withdrawing his testimony given during the pretrial investigation should be enough so that the court doesn’t take his testimony into consideration.

However, the collegium of Ovidiopolsky district court consisting of Bocharov, Gandziy and Kochko acted differently: having studied the case papers, they came to the conclusion that Kalashnikov didn’t provide enough convincing evidence that he gave his testimony under pressure. And consequently, it is necessary to recognize the evidence that was earlier given to them (which he then refused) is satisfactory proof in the case. However, the judge dismissed all the arguments of the lawyer about the withdrawal of this proof, announcing as a result a guilty verdict and a sentence: 13 years of prison with confiscation of property.

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