Kostenko’s arrest for 15 days found just and legal

On December 10th, 2011, the first complaint on arrests during mass protests after the elections was considered in the Kuybyshev district court in Saint Petersburg. The judge decided that the activities of the police during the mass demonstrations were legal and well-based, and the punishment of 15-day prison sentence for participating in a peaceful gathering was just and adequate.

The lawyer of the public and human rights activist Filipp Kostenko, who was sentenced to spend 15 days in a detention centre at Zakharyevskaya, 6 (protesting the court’s decision, the arrestee went on hunger strike), appealed against the unjust and inadequate punishment for “insubordination to the police workers”. The lawyer pointed out that many defects in proceedings had occurred as well as that no administrative violation could be found in the activities of the arrestee. Besides that, the lawyer gave legal evaluation to the illegal arrests in St Petersburg and substantiated why the right to assemble is so important, especially when realisation of this right is “an immediate answer to a public high-profile event”.

The judge, A.P. Dondik, ignored the arguments for violation of the European Convention and declared that holding demonstrations “right at the exits from underpass” is dangerous and the activities of the police were legal. During the court trial the judge denied the request to summon the police officers who arrested Kostenko to appear as witnesses, although the protocols written by them contain contradictory data. As a result, the judge remedied the most obvious procedural violations from the decree of his colleague named Kuznetsov, but left the decision on proven guilt and punishment unchanged, being, probably, led, just as another judge, by “additional proofs” which are not announced.

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