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Several dozen people in Moscow joined demonstrations in support of protesters in Armenia. Many were arrested, and prosecutions have been brought against three of them. About 300 people took part in a protest in Moscow outside the Armenian Apostolic Church. About 40 protesters were arrested. They were subsequently sentenced to fines and community work by a court. Two days after the protest, it became known that charges have been brought against two of those arrested for attacking police officers, and one other has been charged with hooliganism. Most likely these are individuals that the police dragged violently out of cars. The incident was captured on video.
Charges of using violence against a representative of public authority (Article 318 of the Russian Criminal Code) are not infrequently brought against those arrested against whom the police themselves used violence. Back in 2012, OVD-Info published a report on this practice.
- The authorities have refused to permit a protest by supporters of Alexey Navalny to take place under the slogan, “He’s not our tsar.” The protests were planned for 5 May 2018, two days before the inauguration of president Vladimir Putin. Refusals have been received by organisers of rallies in 36 cities.
- The Supreme Court has refused to quash the conviction of Oleg and Alexey Navalny in the Yves Rocher case (involving charges of fraud and money laundering). Earlier, the European Court of Human Rights found violations in the case.
- A court has extended by 30 days the pre-trial detention of Konstantin Saltykov, charged with using force against police. During the Voters’ Strike protest, Saltykov had tried to stop the arrest of Alexey Navalny. Investigators consider that he struck police officers “at least once” on the thigh, the left and right cheekbones, and on the back. Saltykov himself was beaten in a police van immediately following his arrest. Since 28 February 2018 the activist has been held on remand. He has not been questioned.
Moscow City Court has told media about the outcome of a hearing before it had begun. The Court’s press service reported a decision to uphold the sentence handed down against Natalya Sharina, ex-director of the Library of Ukrainian Literature, before her appeal has been heard. News of the non-existent decision was given to RAPSI, the Rambler news aggregator, and the portal BFM.RU. The reported decision left Sharina’s suspended four-year sentence in force.
An organiser of the documentary film festival Artdocfest has been questioned by the Investigative Committee regarding a complaint over “incitement of hatred towards the Russian people”. Director Vitaly Mansky was summoned for questioning on grounds of a complaint by Anatoly Greshnevikov, a State Duma deputy and member of the Just Russia party. This year the festival had faced a number of difficulties. Organisers are not certain they will be able to hold the festival again in Russia in future.
“You’re a normal guy, you understand everything”: A defendant in the Network case, Viktor Filinkov, has told how FSB officers have treated him. He has alleged they tortured him in a forest. In addition, the Investigative Committee has refused to open an investigation into the torture of another defendant in the Network case, Igor Shishkin.
A prosecution for inciting hatred towards atheists has been dropped. The Investigative Committee has officially ruled that the poet Maxim Drozdov did not incite hatred towards atheists, nor towards “heretics”. The charges had been brought on grounds of the humorous verse that included these lines:
The bluebells flowered in the forest,
Far away a bird is chattering.
On the camp fire, with a faint crackle
The remains of the woman heretic burn...
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