Andrii Kolomiiets

Andrii Kolomiiets

Date of arrest: 15.05.2015

Charges: attempted murder and drug possession

Court verdict: 10 years in prison

Waiting for him: wife Halyna, 4 children

Andrii Kolomiiets was born in Kyiv oblast. In 2014, he moved to the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (RF) to join his future wife Halyna and her four children.

Andrii was detained on May 15, 2017, although the documents state it happened on May 17, his wife Halyna points out. "We were working in the garden near the house. Someone rang the gates, and Andrii went to open them. After 15 minutes I started to worry, followed him and saw that the law enforcement officers had him pressed him against a hot fence,” Halyna recalls that day. According to her, three men armed with assault rifles arrived wearing uniforms and masks, but no chevrons. A search of Halyna`s son's closet turned up a package of marijuana. According to Mrs. Kolomiiets, the package was planted by the law enforcement officers themselves, because they went directly to this closet and did not search anything else.

Law enforcement officers threatened to deprive her of her parental rights. When Andrii heard it, he claimed that he owned the package.

Only on the third day after Andrii was taken away did he inform his wife that he was being held in the Center to Counter Extremism in Nalchik and asked her to bring him clothes.

"When I arrived, an employee of the center started pressuring me, saying, "He's a Maidan activist, a terrorist.' and demanded that I testify against Andrii, but I refused to lie,” Halyna recalls.

Halyna later learned that Andrii was tortured with an electric jolt during an interrogation in Nalchik, thus forcing him to sign a confession. "He was tied to a chair. His fingers were wrapped in wet wipes, grafts were fastened and an electric flux was running through them,” Kolomiiets says. On August 13, Andrii was taken to the Simferopol pre-trial detention centre, although her husband had never lived in the Crimea.

On June 10, 2016, the Kyiv District Court of Simferopol sentenced Andrii to 10 years in a maximum security prison on several counts: murder of two or more persons (ongoing), possession of drugs, and attempted crime. Andrii was found guilty of attempting to kill two former employees of the Berkut unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine during the events on the Maidan in Kyiv. At the time of Andrii's detention, they were serving for the Crimean occupying authorities.

Andrii is serving his sentence in the penitentiary #14 in Krasnodar, Russia. "Andrii is often sent to a disciplinary cell for not shaving or dressing incorrectly. They used to lick him there simply because he was a ‘Maidan activist,’ or because of my Facebook posts about him,” says Halyna.