The Ukrainian Court Released the Ukrainian Political Prisoner Nikolay Sidorenko on House Arrest

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


On December 17th a regular hearing concerning the case of Nikolay Sidorenko, who was tortured by law enforcement officers during his detention, took place in the Kramatorsk city court.

Due to the deterioration of his state of health, Nikolay Sidorenko participated in the hearing via videoconference. The court made the decision to change the defendant’s measure of restraint to around-the-clock house arrest for the next 2 months. The lawyer and relatives of the defendant went to the pre-trial detention center for the quick release of Sidorenko and his return home.

As a reminder, on April 21st 2017 strangers, having presented themselves as police officers, kidnapped Nikolay Sidorenko from his workplace. During the period from April 21st to April 24th they illegally held and tortured him (they put a bag on his head, bound his hands with tape, and struck his back, head, and legs). Afterwards he wrote a confession to committing a crime in 2014. His detention was officially issued on April 24th 2017. Nikolay Sidorenko is unreasonably accused of committing serious crimes, including under Article 260 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (creating a militarised or paramilitary group that is not covered by the law). Nikolay Sidorenko spent nearly 1.5 years in a pre-trial detention center without an alternative.

As the human rights activists of “Uspishna Varta” found out, a number of procedural violations took place in the case of Nikolay Sidorenko. In particular, one of the judges was an investigative judge in this same case earlier, which violates Article 76 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine (inadmissibility of the repeated participation of a judge in criminal proceedings).

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In addition, Nikolay Sidorenko submitted a claim to the ECHR for illegal detention for a long period of time, as well as assault and torture during detention, which violates Article 39 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The ECHR adopted a statement and demanded that the judges submit documents that characterise his state of health.

As the lawyers of “Uspishna Varta” noted on Facebook earlier, Sidorenko’s detention by law enforcement bodies was carried out with a violation of Article 208 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine and with a violation of the requirements of Article 3 – Prohibition of torture – and Article 5 – the right to freedom and security of a person – of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

As a reminder, during a speech at a plenary session of a OSCE Meeting in 2018 in Warsaw the experts of “Uspishna Varta” spoke from the high tribune about the use of torture in relation to the political prisoners who are in Ukrainian prisons and pre-trial detention centers. Mentioned in particular was the case of Nikolay Sidorenko, in relation to who people, having presented themselves as law enforcement officers, used brute force and tortured him for the purpose of extracting from him a confession to committing a crime that he didn’t actually commit.

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