A court in Odessa on Tuesday found former leader of the local branch of the Right Sector organization (recognized as extremist in Russia and banned) Sergei Sternenko guilty in the case of kidnapping and torture. He was sentenced to 7 years and 3 months in prison.
The case caused a great resonance – Sternenko himself categorically does not plead guilty and considers himself a victim of political reprisals.
Sternenko was accused of kidnapping the deputy of the local council Serhiy Shcherbich in 2015, together with his associates, demanding payment of 300 thousand hryvnias (more than 10 thousand dollars) for his release. Sternenko said he had nothing to do with the case and considered the court’s decision politically motivated. After the verdict, his telegram channel posted a call for a protest at the Office of the President of Ukraine in Kiev on the evening of 23 February.
Shcherbich was kidnapped by unknown persons in 2015. He claims that he was tortured in the basement and insists that Sternenko was among the kidnappers. The case has been considered since 2016, but the verdict has been passed only now.
- Sternenko was one of the leaders of the Euromaidan in Odessa, participated in the Kiev Maidan in 2014, after which he headed the “Right Sector” branch in Odessa.
- In 2018, three attempts were made on Sternenko, in the course of one of them the attacker was killed from knife wounds. Sternenko claims that he was talking about self-defense. The police are investigating the death of the attacker as premeditated murder. In this case, Sternenko was released on personal guarantee.
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