Boris Stomakhin: "The inability to relax for a single second; the constant anticipation of trouble or at the very least unpleasantness; and the frightening, oppressive internal tension triggered by this anticipation [...] is the worst, most difficult aspect of life in the prisons and penal colonies"

posted 10 Jul 2018, 12:44 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Jul 2018, 12:51 ]
"The inability to relax for a single second; the constant anticipation of trouble or at the very least unpleasantness; and the frightening, oppressive internal tension triggered by this anticipation. That, I suppose, is the worst, most difficult aspect of life in the prisons and penal colonies after all of these years." 

- Boris Stomakhin, a left-wing publicist, currently in his fourth year of a seven-year sentenced based on two subsequent convictions. On 9 May 2018 in Stomakhin v Russia, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Stomakhin had been a victim of a violation of Article 10 [freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court concluded, inter alia,  'In view of the above, and particularly bearing in mind the authorities’ failure to demonstrate convincingly “the pressing social need” for an interference with the applicant’s freedom of expression in respect of a number of the impugned statements (see paragraph 124 above) as well as the severity of the penalty imposed on him, the Court finds that the interference in question was not “necessary in a democratic society”. There has accordingly been a violation of Article 10 of the Convention.'

RFE/RL comments: "The European Court of Human Rights last month concluded that Russia violated Stomakhin's right to free expression, but also said that authorities in some instances justifiably intervened due to his statements that "glorified terrorism and advocated and promoted violence and hatred." The court ordered Russia to pay Stomakhin 12,500 euros ($14,600) in damages, adding that Russia lacked "sufficient" justification for the "exceptional severity" of the five-year sentence and three-year ban on publishing for his 2006 conviction on charges of hate speech and public incitement to extremism. The Moscow-based Sova Center, a respected monitor of the use and abuse of antiextremism legislation in Russia, has called the charges against Stomakhin in that case "appropriate," while adding that it was "perplexed" by the harsh sentence. A well-known Russian neo-Nazi, by comparison, received a suspended sentence in 2006 after being convicted of hate speech that involved, in part, a manual for "street terror" posted on his political movement's website, the Sova Center noted. Now in his fourth year of a seven-year sentenced based on two subsequent convictions, Stomakhin says he is incarcerated "for thoughtcrime" -- using a term from George Orwell's dystopic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four -- "and nothing else."'

Source: "
'Only For Thoughtcrime': Meet Boris Stomakhin, Russia's Longest-Serving 'Hate-Speech' Prisoner," RFE/RL, 6 July 2018
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