Developments in the Dmitry Bogatov Case

posted 4 May 2017, 07:00 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 4 May 2017, 07:04 ]
25 April 2017


Moscow City Court has ruled that 25-year-old mathematician Dmitry Bogatov be kept in pre-trial detention. He is accused of publishing appeals to terrorism and riot on a forum of systems administrators. While that was happening, the account from which the appeals were published was restored on the very eve of the court session, when Bogatov was already in a pre-trial detention centre.

According to the Investigative Committee’s version of the story, Dmitry Bogatov posted, under the pseudonym Airat Bashirov, appeals on a forum on to bring “rags, bottles, gasoline, turpentine, styrofoam, and acetone” to an unsanctioned April 2 protest, and published “video recordings showing insubordination towards lawful demands of the police and showing mass disturbances.” The mathematician himself denies he is guilty, according to the BBC.

During the court session it became known that the president of the Association of Veterans of the Anti-Terror Unit “Alpha,” Sergei Goncharov, vouched for Bogatov. The only evidence presented by the investigation was that the network address (IP), which “Airat Bashirov” had once used, belonged to Dmitry Bogatov. The defence points out that Bogatov set up on his computer an exit node of the Tor network, i.e. made his address available to anyone seeking anonymity on the internet.

In a presentation to the court session, the investigator in the case spoke against the release of Bogatov and for him to be placed under house arrest. On the eve of the trial, “Airat Bashirov” restored his account on the forum, from which he had earlier published the appeals. The owner of the account confirmed to the BBC that he was their author. He had earlier accessed the network from other accounts under the same name; even so, in the interview with the BBC, he used the very same account which figures in the case.

“Airat Bashirov” called Bogatov an accidental victim of political repression. He once again posted to his account material critical of authority, and in the signature replaced an image of Bogatov with Nazi symbols.

The Tor network convolutes an internet junction, randomly distributing it among nodes around the world. It also allows one to gain access to the “Deep Web,” a segment of the internet not accessible to search engines.

When using Tor, the owner of a site, or a monitoring authority, sees only the last web address in a chain, the exit node. Dozens of exit nodes are situated in Russia.

Translated by Mark Nuckols