6 April 2021
Previously, Oleg Prikhodko was repeatedly prosecuted under administrative law for his pro-Ukrainian views.
Source: Memorial Human Rights Centre
Memorial Human Rights Centre, in accordance with international guidelines, considers Oleg Prikhodko a political prisoner. We believe he is innocent of all charges and the case against him has been fabricated. Oleg Prikhodko is being prosecuted solely for his political views and in violation of the right to a fair trial.
We demand Prikhodko’s immediate release and that his conviction be quashed.
Who is Oleg Prikhodko and why has he been prosecuted?
Oleg Prikhodko, 63, is a Ukrainian activist who lives in Crimea and takes a strongly negative view of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula.
At the end of 2018 he was prosecuted for an alleged offence under Article 20.3 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences, that bans promotion of Nazi symbols, because of his clothes and tattoos on his body.
In October 2019 Prikhodko was arrested by FSB officers and charged with the following offences under the Russian Criminal Code: preparation of a terrorist act (Article 30, Part 1, in conjunction with Article 205, Part 1); illegal manufacture and storage of explosive devices (Article 223.1, Part 1, Article 30, Part 3, in conjunction with Article 223.1, Part 1, and Article 222.1, Part 1).
In March 2021 the Southern District Military Court sentenced Prikhodko to five years in a strict regime penal colony. He is currently held in a pre-trial detention centre awaiting consideration of his appeal.
Why does Memorial consider Prikhodko a political prisoner?
Having studied the materials of the case, we conclude that Oleg Prikhodko is a victim of a politically motivated prosecution for his pro-Ukrainian political views.
According to the court judgment, Prikhodko made preparations to carry out an explosion at the Saki city government building in Crimea and arson of the building of the Russian consulate in Lviv. The prosecution argued that Prikhodko did not manage to carry out the crime because of circumstances beyond his control. He illegally acquired and stored explosives at his home, independently made one explosive device and then tried to make a second.
Items seized during the search of Prikhodko’s garage, as well as his phone records and text messages, were used by the prosecution as evidence.
There are a number of important inconsistencies in the case and it is highly likely that significant pieces of evidence were fabricated during the investigation. For example, no attempt was made to take fingerprints from the explosive devices and their constituent parts seized in Prikhodko’s garage and the investigators did not even attempt to explain where the activist could obtain those parts that are not freely available.
Moreover, we believe the law enforcement agencies may themselves have fabricated the text messages which contain details of the preparation of terrorist attacks.
Similar occurrences have been identified in other cases regarding preparation of terrorist attacks in Crimea. In those cases, Memorial also recognised the defendants as political prisoners.
Finally, the prosecution paid too much attention to the political views of Oleg Prikhodko, his pro-Ukrainian position and his criticism of the annexation of Crimea by Russia. We believe that it was his beliefs that served as the basis for his criminal prosecution.
A detailed description of the case and the position of Memorial Human Rights Centre are set out on our website.
Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner, or as a victim of politically motivated prosecution, does not imply Memorial Human Rights Centre agrees with, or approves of, their views, statements, or actions.
Translated by Simon Cosgrove