Communist Andrei Sokolov faces trial in Ukraine

By Victor Shapinov

Important! Help spread the word. Communist Andrei Sokolov is on trial in Ukraine. He faces 8 to 15 years in prison for volunteer work in Donetsk.

Political prisoner Andrei Sokolov
According to lawyer Vitaly Dovzhenkova, a hearing is scheduled Friday, June 12, in Berdyansk, Ukraine, on charges against Russian citizen Andrei Sokolov under Article 258-3, “promoting the terrorist organization Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR).”

Sokolov is jailed in Zaporozhye (Volnyansk), and should be brought to the court. But a repeat of an earlier court hearing in the spring is likely. Then Sokolov was not transferred from the prison in Mariupol (where he was then detained), but was only permitted to listen to the hearing remotely via conference call. This is a violation of his right to a defense.

He faces 8 to 15 years in prison for volunteer work in Donetsk in December 2014. He is accused by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) of providing information to assist the Defense Ministry of the DNR (advice on production issues at the Topaz plant in Donetsk). He is charged with neither terrorist attacks nor participating in hostilities.

Sokolov was taken prisoner on December 16 at Armed Forces of Ukraine (APU) checkpoint 37 (near Krasniy Partyzan under Gorlovka), while driving in his car with Russian plates. He spent two weeks detained in the “basement” (secret prisons in Novogradovka and Volnovakha), where, under threat of torture, “evidence” of his guilt was obtained. Only on December 29 was he transferred to the SBU in occupied Mariupol. He now denies all charges.

Since January, Sokolov has been on the list for exchange of prisoners with the Donbass republics, but the Ukrainian authorities have been reluctant to exchange a citizen of the Russian Federation. Recently the exchange process has stopped completely. And so the matter was referred to the court.

Freedom for Andrei Sokolov!

June 12 Update: The court hearing was postponed to Friday, June 19, at 12:00. Andrei is now in Berdyansk. Solidarity and publicity is urgently needed.

Translated by Greg Butterfield

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