Person of the Week: Maksim Panfilov

posted 4 Apr 2017, 03:26 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 4 Apr 2017, 03:27 ]
On 29 March 2017 Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky district court convicted Bolotnaya Square defendant Maksim Panfilov of offences under 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 during the Bolotnaya Square protest on 6 May 2012. The court ruled that Maksim Panfilov should undergo compulsory psychiatric treatment as an in-patient, RAPSI reported. The ruling was in line with the prosecutor's demand; the defence had argued that out-patient treatment at his place of residence was adequate. 

On 7 April 2016 Maksim Panfilov had been detained in Astrakhan, where he lives, and charged with the above offences. On 8 April 2016 he was remanded in custody by the Basmanny district court in Moscow. The prosecution alleged that Maksim Panfilov had pulled a helmet from the head of a riot police officer's head on May 6, 2012. As RAPSI reports, 'Investigators claim that Panfilov suffers from chronic personality disorder.'

As has reported [citing Ка], in court Maksim Panfilov denied the charges. He stated that he had himself been a victim, since his rights were violated at the protest and he was guilty of no wrong-dong: “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.” The prosecution claimed that riot police officer Filippov, whose helmet Panfilov had allegedly ripped off, had been hurt "due to the fact that Panfilov allegedly crushed the helmet forcefully with his hands." Panfilov said in response to the allegation: "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.”  

Panfilov also complained that the police 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.” 

On 12 April 2016 Amnesty International issued a statement about the case of Maksim Panfilov in which it stated that it considers "the charges of participation in mass riot in connection with the Bolotnaya Square demonstration on 6 May 2012 to be politically motivated." Amnesty International expressed concern "that Maksim Panfilov’s right to a fair trial has been violated. He was denied a lawyer during the first crucial interrogation while in detention, and he has been remanded in custody without due consideration of alternative measures despite concerns for his health in violation of Russian law and international human rights law and standards. Furthermore, Maksim Panfilov has been deprived of his regular medication following his arrest, which may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment." Amnesty International affirmed its view that "Most of the violence that occurred during the [Bolotnaya Square] protest [of 6 May 2012] was at the hands of the police who used excessive force against mostly peaceful protesters, or resulted from the failure of the police to effectively conduct those wishing to enter the square in accordance with arrangements previously agreed with the organisers. Nonetheless, not a single police officer has been investigated for abusive use of force." 

Bolotnaya case defendant Panfilov to undergo compulsory treatment,' RAPSI, 29 March 2017
'Maksim Panfilov: “I physically wouldn’t be able to crush a shockproof helmet”,', 20 March 2017 [for translation, see: Rights in Russia]