Legal Case of the Week: Darya Poliudova

posted 4 Apr 2016, 08:38 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 4 Apr 2016, 08:40 ]
On 30 March 2016 a Krasnodar court upheld a 2-year sentence against Darya Poliudova convicted of ‘inciting extremism and separatism’ for criticising Russian actions in Ukraine and attempting a peaceful ‘federalization march.’ 

Halya Coynash, writing on Human Rights in Ukraine, reports:  

"26-year-old Darya Poliudova was convicted on Dec 21, 2016 of ‘public calls to extremism and separatism, including via the Internet’. She was sentenced to 2 years minimum security prison colony and also banned from teaching or work in the media. [...] Poliudova was deemed to have made ‘public calls to separatism or extremism’ [Article 280 § 1 of the Criminal Code] in connection with the banner she held up during a single-person picket on April 4, 2014. This read “No war against Ukraine, but revolution in Russia! No war, but revolution”! She then circulated a picture of herself with the banner on VKontakte. The second ‘episode’ was claimed to fall under Article 280 § 2 (public calls to extremism via the Internet) and was the first time charges had been laid under the new ‘offence’ which can carry a sentence of up to 5 years. She had shared somebody else’s post containing the phrases “Wake up, people! Why can we not get rid of Putin and then make a socialist revolution?!!! Enough sleeping! It’s time to go out onto the square and overthrow this regime.” Another repost was of a picture with the words: “Ethnic Ukrainians of Kuban want to join Ukraine.” [...] Although a number of Russians have received prison sentences for blogs and posts on social networks, in Polyudova’s case, they do appear to have been prompted by her attempts to hold the ‘federalization march’. This is demonstrated in the fact that she and two other Krasnodar activists involved in the march were soon afterwards placed on Russia’s Federal List of Terrorists and Extremists. The other two fled to Ukraine to escape persecution (see: Federalization as a Terrorist Act

In a statement issued on 26 February 2016 Amnesty International called for the sentence against Darya Poliudova to be quashed and the criminal proceedings against her to be dropped. Amnesty International stressed that Darya Poliudova is being prosecuted for peacefully exercising her right to freedom of expression and urged the Russian authorities to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association for all people in Russia, without discrimination against people with dissenting political and other views.

Photo: Human Rights in Ukraine [Placard reads: 'Ukraine we are with you']

Halya Coynash, 'Darya Polyudova gets 2 years for criticising Putin and war in Ukraine,' Human Rights in Ukraine, 31 March 2016