Syktyvkar City Court began its consideration of the claim of Gennady Afanasyev to the Russian Finance Ministry and the Federal Penitentiary Service; he is serving his sentence on the resonant case "Sentsova-Kol'chenko" in the penal colony number 25 in the village of Verhny Chov in Syktyvkar.
Defence asks to recognize Afanasyev's right to serve his sentence in the regions closest to the Crimea and immediately transfer him into a colony of the Krasnodar Krai, Rostov and Voronezh regions. According to the applicants, the custody of the convict in the Komi Republic violates Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees the right to respect family life as it significantly limits the possibility of the arrival of his close relatives from Simferopol on a date with him. Besides, the plaintiffs point out that there are no obstacles to direct Afanasyev into nearby regions of Crimea.
Also, the convicted applicant asks to pay compensation for moral damages in the amount of 200 thousand rubles. The second plaintiff, his mother, assessed the moral damage of 100 thousand rubles.
The lawsuit defence refers to several precedent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, including the decision of 2013 in the case of "Khodorkovsky and Lebedev against Russia" – the Strasbourg court found that both applicants were victims of violations of their right to respect family life, which implies the right of prisoners to have visits from their relatives (the oligarchs lived in Moscow; Mikhail Khodorkovsky was serving his sentence in the Chita region, and Platon Lebedev – in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District).
According to representative of Gennady Afanasyev Ernest Mezak, at a meeting the defense petitioned to request information from the Office of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in Rostov and Voronezh regions and the Krasnodar Krai on how many people actually were in a penal colony for the first time sentenced persons and on limits of filling of these institutions in 2015.
The court granted the petition in part. The court also ordered the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service to present information on the reason of choosing a place of serving the sentence in Komi.
Let us recall that Gennady Afanasyev was convicted in December 2014 by the so-called case of "Crimean terrorists"; the other defendants are Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov and anti-fascist Alexander Kol'chenko. Ukrainian is sentenced to seven years on charges of committing and preparing to commit acts of terrorism in Simferopol. On the eve of Christmas and New Year, civil society activists, supporting political prisoner Gennady Afanasyev, urged him to write a letter of encouragement.