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Kosenko’s Trial

The Latest Developments:

Oct 8. The verdict: Kosenko sentenced to compulsory psychiatric treatment.

Sep 27. Four defence witnesses testify. Report from the May 6 Public Commission and another video exonerating Kosenko are added to case materials. Read more>>

Sep 25. On second attempt, video evidence of Kosenko’s innocence is allowed by the judge. Direct eyewitnesses who stood next to Kosenko on May 6 testify in court. Read more>>

Sep 23. Psychiatrists testify in court. Judge refuses to allow video exonerating Kosenko as evidence. Read more>>

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Mikhail Kosenko, like most other defendants, is charged with participation in mass riots and assault against a police officer. In his case the assault is considered threatening to the life and health of the police officer Alexander Kazmin.

In the video recording of the incident, Mikhail is seen standing motionless, while Maxim Luzyanin and other unknown people are allegedly assaulting a police officer. No aggressive actions by Kosenko are shown in the video. Luzyanin has already been convicted, but in his case the assault was determined to have been NON-threatening to the life and health of the officer.

Mikhail Kosenko is under detention since June 2012.

Kosenko’s trial is being conducted under special procedural rules after specialists from the Serbsky State Scientific Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry found him mentally ill. Mikhail has been suffering from continuous mild schizophrenia for the last 10 years, but with regular medication, treatment at home, and taking good care of himself, the state of his mental health has remained stable.

Mikhail’s diagnosis was changed to a more-severe paranoid schizophrenia. Among the justifications for the change in diagnosis, psychiatrists cited his “political views” that in Russia “government is separate from society”, while “a person is not protected”. Doctors from the Serbsky Center also found a lack of logic in Mikhail’s decision to attend protests and express his views.

According to his medical history, Mikhail’s illness manifests as episodes of depression, apathy, emotional alienation, and elevated attention to personal hygiene. Aggressive behavior or diminished intelligence are not among the symptoms. Witnesses describe Kosenko’s conduct during the trial as very competent, and his questions as appropriate.

If convicted, Kosenko will be subjected to indefinite compulsory treatment.

Kosenko’s trial started in November of 2012. Breaks between hearings often reached up to a month. Hearings have been postponed due to illness of the victim OMON officer, illness of another OMON officer who is a witness for the prosecution, and no-shows (for various reasons) by two more OMON witnesses.

OMON officers Sanaev and Lukyanov, who arrested Kosenko, testified during a closed court session in June. Meanwhile, according to the attorneys, Maxim Sanaev had witnessed the scuffle that left Kazmin battered. Sergei Lukyanov did witness the assault. During his first deposition, he described at least three people, who were assaulting the OMON officer.  None of the people described bear any resemblance to Kosenko. At the confrontation Lukyanov positively identified Kosenko as one of the assailants. However, in the courtroom, he was not able to explain which of his statements are to be believed, or to describe the exact nature of Kosenko’s actions: “moved his hands in the direction of Kazmin”.

Alexander Kazmin, a victim in Kosenko’s case, testified in Zamoskvoretskiy court in July. He explained that he did not see his assailants since he was knocked off his feet. He saw a person in a red shirt (Mikhail Kosenko) in the crowd. However, Kazmin had to confess, that he had noticed Kosenko for the first time only when watching the video, and that he could not tell if Kosenko did in fact strike him, and that he does not have any grievances against Mikhail.

OMON officer Roman Puzikov testified in Zamoskvoretskiy court in September. The police officer was expected to recount the alleged assault against his colleague Alexander Kazmin, but it turned out that Puzikov did not witness the events in question. According to his testimony, he came to the scene only after Kazmin, who lost his equipment in the brawl with the protesters, was battered and needed help. Puzikov does not remember any of the people who were around at the time.

As for Mikhail Kosenko, Puzikov testified in a deposition that he saw and remembered a man in a red shirt, who is also seen in the video. In the courtroom Puzikov testified that he did not remember anyone involved. In the end, he did not witness the scuffle at all – neither with Kosenko’s involvement, nor without.

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On Septemper 5 Mikhail lost his mother Nina Kosenko. Zamoskvoretskiy Court judge Liudmila Moskalenko does not allow Mikhail Kosenko to attend his mother’s funeral. She explained her decision by lack of precedent, and “mental incompetence” of Kosenko, who is a “danger to himself and others”.

Before that officials at the Butyrka prison censored a letter from Mikhail’s sister about the grave condition of mother.

As for precedent, the European Court of Human Rights has already taken several decisions that prisoners and detainees have the right to a last visit to severely ill relatives, and a right to attend their funerals. In particular, National Bolshevik activist Vladimir Lind has won a case in the European Court – he was not allowed to attend his father’s funeral in Netherlands.

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