OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 25: Prosecutions of protesters continue

posted 20 Oct 2017, 04:58 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Oct 2017, 05:02 ]
20 October 2017

OVD-Info is a Moscow-based NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday it sends out a mailing with the latest information on freedom of assembly, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here

This week prosecutions following the rallies of 6 May 2012 and 26 March, 12 June and 7 October 2017 contnue. We report on these and other cases, beginning with updates on the major criminal trials.

The trial in the Bolotnaya Square case continues of Dmitry Buchenkov, who was not present on Bolotnaya Square on 6 May 2012. At the trial this week, Judge Semenova refused to consider as evidence in the case photographs from the events of 6 May that were of a better quality than those already in the case materials. She also ruled that additional time should not be given to questioning witnesses for the defence because they were allegedly “partial.”

“I am once again in a courtroom at Zamoskvoretsksy district court and it is as airless as it was during our trial, and as it was at the sentencing of Vanya Nepomnyashchikh. There are differences. Our judges tried to ensure an appearance of legality. Judge Semenova has ceased trying.” Read how Aleksei Polikhovich, an OVD-Info reporter and also a defendant in the Bolotnaya Square case, attended the trial of Dmitry Buchenkov.

Aleksei Politikov, a defendant in the “Case of March 26” was sentenced to two years in a general-regime prison colony. Politikov, an activist in the Artpodgotovka movement from Ussuriisk, worked for a delivery company and is married with three underage children, the youngest born in 2016. According to the prosecution, Politikov tried to push police captain Aleksandr Shvetsov to the ground and struck him with his fist in the stomach. The activist pleaded guilty, and agreed to a plea bargain. During the trial he said he repents his actions and apologised to the victim. You can see what happened at the trial by following the hashtag #судвамнедимон on Twitter.

An OVD-Info correspondent has spoken with lawyer Ilnur Sharapov and written about violations in the case of Dmitry Krepkin, also charged with using force against a police officer at the rally on 26 March 2017.

No one was allowed into the courtroom during the hearing in the case of Dmitry Myakshina, a minor and defendant in the “Case of 12 June.” The press, observers, and even one of the witnesses, were not able to enter the courtroom. Some people were not even allowed into the court building.

The Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, charged with organization of terrorist acts in Crimea that did not take place, is held in the “White Bear” prison colony No. 8 in the town of Labytnangi. You can write him a letter at the address: 629400, Yamalo-Nenetsky autonomous district, Labytnangi, 33, Severnaya Street, Oleg Gennadievich Sentsov, (born 1976). [629400 Ямало-Ненецкий автономный округ, город Лабытнанги, улица Северная 33. Сенцову Олегу Геннадьевичу, 1976 г.р.]

While the rallies of 7 October 2017 are long over, the police continue to arrest supporters of the politician Aleksei Navalny in connection with the rally.

Тhus, this week in various cities of Russia at least 12 people have been arrested in connection with the 7 October rallies. One student in Novosibirsk was arrested in the classroom. Another student the police had wanted to arrest, fortunately, had overslept, missed the lecture and was not detained.

In Sochi a court has now for the third time sent an administrative case back to the police, not wanting to convict activists from the Navalny election campaign for a photograph the police mistook for a rally.

In St. Petersburg an activist detained as he left a special detention centre was again jailed in connection with the same rally for nine days. Before that, he had spent three days in detention.

Meanwhile, in Krasnodar, social services officials dealing with young people have taken an interest in the ten-year-old son of Yana Antonova, an activist with the Open Russia movement. On 7 October Antonova was jailed for three days for holding a banner with a photograph of Vladimir Putin and the words “I shall leave and the crisis will end” (it was considered to be an advertisement for the rally, although the activist said that was not the case).

On Thursday police searched the homes of activists of the Stop GOK movement. You can read a full report by OVD-Info about the conflict between Chelyabinsk environmentalists and local authorities over the construction of the Tominsk copper processing plant.

The presenter of a YouTube channel carrying news about NGOs has been sentenced to two years in a strict-regime prison for stealing kolbasa (Russian sausage). OVD-Info has reported on this absurd prosecution and conviction.

Over the weekend in Crimea at least 37 people were arrested for taking part in single-person pickets. The regional police reported 49 detentions. The picketers were protesting against the persecution of Crimean Tatars and the fabrication of criminal charges under anti-terrorism legislation.

Finally, we have published an analytical article by a staff member of the International Memorial Society. The historian Aleksei Makarov sets out what documents you can find in the legal cases brought against individuals for taking part in public protests and rallies, and what needs to be done with them.

That concludes our roundup of events of the past week

Please remember that, in case of need, OVD-Info provides a Telegram-bot that gives advice on what to do if you are arrested, and full instructions on how to conduct one’s defence in court, using the drafts of court documents we provide. 

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