Maksim Panfilov: “I physically wouldn’t be able to crush a shockproof helmet”

posted 3 Apr 2017, 10:36 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Apr 2017, 10:45 ]
20 March 2017


The defense has finished presenting evidence at the hearing in the case of political prisoner Maksim Panfilov. On March 20, 2017, the accused was questioned, Ка reports. In court, Maksim Panfilov explained that he went voluntarily to the protest on May 6. “My rights were violated by the rigging of the elections. Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, on the right to peaceful protest without weapons, was violated during this very protest. Riot police began to constrict the crowd, they used special equipment, beat people with nightsticks, and sprayed some sort of caustic gas.”

Maksim Panfilov also explained that, beforehand, he did not know Filippov, the riot police officer whose helmet he allegedly ripped off, as if to hurt him, because the helmet was fastened. In addition, the prosecution claims that Officer Filippov felt pain due to the fact that Panfilov allegedly crushed the helmet forcefully with his hands.

“I don’t deny that I took off Filippov’s helmet, but it was not fastened. When I took it off, I threw it aside. I did not crush the helmet, it’s steel, shockproof, I physically wouldn’t be able to do that. I acted this way to distract him, because he was twisting someone's arms, but he didn’t even pay attention to me. I took off his helmet and ran off to the side. I didn’t see anything else. I’m not even sure that it was Filippov; he didn’t even turn his head towards me,” Maksim Panfilov explained.

The "Bolotaya Square" defendant also complained that officers used force when detaining him: “They detained me very roughly, tearing my clothes. They tore off a piece of my turtleneck, they tore my coat, they hit my legs with a nightstick. I fell down, after which four riot officers took me by the limbs, another squeezed me around the neck, choked me, and carried me to a police van. There’s a picture of this on the internet. At the police station, they fined me for 'insubordination,’ I paid it, back in Astrakhan.”

The defense also asked the public commission, headed by Liudmila Alekseeva, to put together a report on the dispersal of the peaceful protest on Bolotnaya Square on May 6, 2012, and a map of the march’s route, posted on the site of the police department. The mother of the accused, who is Panfilov’s legal representative, was interrogated in private.

Panfilov is accused of committing the crimes stipulated in Section 2 of Article 212 (“Participation in Civil Unrest”) and Section 1 of Article 318 (“Use of Force against an Official”) of the Russian Criminal Code. The media reported on the morning of April 7, 2016, that he had been detained in Astrakhan. After a search of his apartment, Panfilov was taken to the police station, and after that he was transported by plane to Moscow.

According to investigators, at Bolotnaya Square on May 6, 2012, the accused “struck police officers who were protecting public order, trying to rip off their helmets.”

Maksim Alekseevich Panfilov, born in 1985, resident of Astrakhan, suffers from a neurological condition, and wasn’t working at the time of his arrest. He has been charged under Section 2 of Article 212 (“Participation in Civil Unrest”) and under Section 1 of Article 318 (“Use of Force against an Official”) of the Russian Criminal Code, as part of the Bolotnaya Case. He has been in custody since April 7, 2016. He is recognized as a political prisoner, since the prosecution is being carried out on a charge of lawbreaking for which there is no evidence, while his right to a fair trial is being violated and he is being held in custody that is disproportionate to his actions.

For more information about the Bolotnaya Square case, see here.