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ECHR postpones consideration of Sentsov and Kolchenko cases for political reasons

The head of the Agora Human Rights Group Pavel Chikov posted a letter from the Court which said that the decision to defer consideration of the case pending examination of Ukraine’s inter-governmental case against Russia was withdrawn
19:02, 30 January 2019

Ukrainian political prisoners Sentsov and Kolchenko
Human Rights in Ukraine

The information that the European Court of Human Rights had restored the ‘priority status’ given to the case of Ukrainian political prisoners Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko were premature, as Human Rights in Ukraine reported.

“One mistake was rectified, yet the Court is still refusing to consider the men’s applications until it has examined Ukraine’s intergovernmental case against Russia over Crimea,” the message says.

Related: ECHR considers Sentsov, Kolchenko cases priority again, - human rights activist

The head of the Agora Human Rights Group Pavel Chikov posted a letter from the Court which said that the decision to defer consideration of the case pending examination of Ukraine’s inter-governmental case against Russia was withdrawn.

“The letter asked that an earlier letter adjourning consideration be regarded “as not having been sent”.  It did seem likely, and this has now been confirmed, that the earlier letter was an administrative mistake since application No. 8019/16 concerns Ukraine vs.Russia,  and should not include Crimea,” the news agency reads.

Related: Ukraine's political prisoner Sentsov writes his health and mood are fine

However, an earlier letter as of September 29, 2018 from the Strasbourg Court also mentioned that the proceedings had to be adjourned.

“The intergovernmental suit brought by Ukraine could take years to be considered and it is immensely frustrating that this adjournment appears to still be in place,” the message reads.

Related: Political prisoner Kolchenko spends three days in punishment cell

Oleg Sentsov stopped the hunger strike on the 144th day. The Russian side officially announced the statement by Sentsov but did not name the reason. According to Sentsov's lawyer, the decision to end the hunger strike was made after Russian doctors and penitentiary facility workers issued an ultimatum to Sentsov, suggesting that he either voluntarily stop the hunger strike or agree to be force-fed.  

He announced a hunger strike in May 2018, demanding to release him and the rest of Ukrainian political prisoners illegally kept by the Kremlin. During the time of his hunger strike, Sentsov has survived four health crises. 

Related: Kolchenko reads books and assembles furniture, - mother

The native of Crimea, film director, and political activist, Sentsov was illegally detained in Crimea in 2014, then taken to Russia. The Russian side has judged him and sentenced him to 20 years of imprisonment at a high-security penal colony. The prosecutors charged Sentsov with preparing terrorist acts in occupied Crimea. Sentsov denies his guilt. Ukraine's government, its citizens, and the international society - politicians, artists, public figures - urge the Kremlin to release him. 

One more Ukrainian activist, a native of Crimea, Oleksandr Kolchenko was sentenced to 10 years in prison as part of the same criminal case of the so-called "Crimean terrorists."

Related: Kolchenko meets his mother in Russian colony

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