Legal Case of the Week: Maksim Panfilov

posted 11 Apr 2016, 07:26 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 11 Apr 2016, 07:37 ]
On 7 April 2016, in the latest development in the long-running 'Bolotnaya Square investigation',
Maksim Panfilov was arrested and charged with participation in mass riots and use of violence against a law enforcement officer in connection with the demonstration which took place on Bolotnaya Square on 6 May 2012. According to reports, on 8 April a court remanded Panfilov in custody until 7 June 2016. Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, writing in The Interpreter notes: 'Panfilov, 30, of Astrakhan, was charged at the time with assaulting a police officer and trying to rip off their helmets. Back in 2012, [he] was arrested but only fined 1,000 [roubles] along with others in the march and released. His relatives says he suffers from Tourette's Syndrome.' Fitzpatrick goes on to comment: 'While it seems hard to believe, nearly four years after the Bolotnaya Square demonstration May 6, 2012, Russian authorities are still finding protesters to arrest and charge with offenses related to that fateful day. Already dozens of demonstrators have been tried and sentenced to length terms up to 4 or more years, but investigators keep finding more people.'

Amnesty International, in a statement by John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International, has said in relation to earlier prosecutions in the Bolotnaya Square case:

“What happened on Bolotnaya Square on 6 May 2012 was not the quelling of a riot, but the crushing of a protest. The Bolotnaya trial has not exposed orchestrated violence, but rather a criminal justice system that is entirely malleable to the dictates of its political masters. The defendants in this trial were confronted by abusive use of force by police. Some of them sought to prevent violence, others to protect themselves. A few were just caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. All are victims of a politically motivated show trial. Contrary to the official line, there was not a mass riot. There was violence, but most of it was at the hands of the police. To this day, however, not a single police officer has been brought to justice for these abuses.” 

'Yet Another Bolotnaya Demonstrator Arrested, 4 Years On,' The Interpreter, 8 April 2016
'Investigators seek detention of new defendant in Bolotnaya case,' RAPSI, 8 April 2016
'Russia: Guilty verdict in Bolotnaya case - injustice at its most obvious,' Amnesty International, 21 February 2014
'«Болотное дело»: арест Максима Панфилова,' Mediazona, 8 April 2016