25 Dec 2019 21:59

Crimea's Supreme Court upholds arrest of blacksmith charged with plotting terror attack

SIMFEROPOL. Dec 25 (Interfax) - The Supreme Court of Crimea on Wednesday dismissed the defense team's appeal against the decision of the first instance court to extend the arrest of 61-year-old Oleg Prikhodko, who is charged with plotting a terror attack on the peninsula, from two to four months.

"The Supreme Court of Crimea today considered our appeal against the decision of the Kyivsky District Court of Simferopol, which was upheld," Prikhodko's lawyer Nazim Sheikhmambetov told Interfax.

The lawyer and his client participated in the hearing via video link from the Simferopol detention facility. Prikhodko is being held in a special block there. He is sharing a two-person cell with another man who is under investigation.

"The court declared a hearing in camera, but it allowed Oleg Prikhodko's relative to attend the reading of the ruling, granting our request," Sheikhmambetov said.

Federal Security Service (FSB) operatives detained Prikhodko, a smith from the Crimean village of Orekhovo, the Saki region, on October 9. He is charged with plotting a blast in the building housing the local administration of a small town of Saki in western Crimea. Law enforcement officers discovered in Prikhodko's garage an improvised explosive device, its parts and tools for making it, and incendiary bottles.

The Crimean resident said that explosives had been planted on him. He views this case as a politically motivated one and considers it as persecution for his pro-Ukrainian stance.

The FSB public relations center described the defendant as "a Russian citizen, follower of the Nazi ideology, member of Ukrainian extremist organizations."

Prikhodko said he believes his only citizenship is Ukrainian and says that his Russian passport was issued to him against his will in 2016. He compared it to the documents the Nazis issued to people in the occupied territories. He additionally said he is a member of "neither extremist, nor terrorist communities."

Simferopol's Kyivsky District Court arrested Prikhodko for two months on October 10 and later extended his arrest until February 10, 2020.

The maximum prison term Prikhodko may face is 7.5 years in a high-security penal colony.

Crimea, which remained part of the independent Ukraine as an autonomous republic following the collapse of the Soviet Union, joined Russia in March 2014 following a regional referendum. Ukraine does not recognize the referendum's results and considers the peninsula its temporarily occupied territory. The United States and the countries of the EU call Russia's actions annexation and have imposed sanctions on a number companies, politicians, and businessmen. Russia says the issue of Crimea is closed permanently and the peninsula belongs to it.