7 November: Presnensky district court, Moscow. Source: Protest Moscow. We continue our partnership with OVD-Info, an NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday, we bring you the latest information on freedom of assembly.
This week’s update is dedicated to what happened on 5 November, the day of the “revolution” promised by Russian nationalist politician Vyacheslav Maltsev and what happened in the days after.
On 5 November, 484 people were detained throughout Russia: in Moscow, 404 were detained, including 22 after attending the latest in the series of Adam Smith Lectures at the Higher School of Economics, at least 20 playing Pokémon Go, and a young man with disabilities travelling on a push-scooter.
In St Petersburg, police detained 21 people, of whom eight were spectators at the Festival of Light and three who are supporters of the reorganisation of St Petersburg and Leningrad region into an “Autonomous Republic of Free Ingriya.” According to the latter three, during their detention, a pistol with bullets, a grenade and a Molotov cocktail were planted in their car. Currently, travel restrictions have been imposed on them, and a criminal investigation on charges of “possession of weapons by a group of people” has been opened.
In Novosibirsk, police detained 20 people (an approximate figure), one of whom has been remanded in custody for two months on charges of preparing and inciting large-scale riots.
In Rostov-on-Don, police detained 13 people. One man was beaten by police in an effort to force him to confess to a crime. At the police station, among other things, the police confiscated his glasses and a pen knife.
In Krasnodar, ten people were detained, three of them minors.
In Perm, police detained eight people.
In Krasnodar, seven people were detained, one of whom had been picketing a local government building. The latter was subsequently released from the police station without any charges being brought and returned to the government building to continue his picket.
In Saratov, police detained one person, also holding a single-person picket.
Sixty people were held for a whole day in police vans.
Detainees were taken to 32 different police stations. In at least 14 police stations, detainees were questioned by officers who arrived from the Investigative Committee. In almost all cases, detainees were not allowed to see lawyers, and at one police station a priest was not permitted to enter.
Between 5 and 7 November, 87 people were held in police stations.
Seven detainees were held for at least 12 hours in a police van in front of special detention centre No. 1, without being able either to go to the toilet or to drink water. One of them was held in a van for 24 hours.
Four minors were questioned both by police and by officers from the Investigative Committee.
One person’s jail sentence was quashed on appeal.
In total, at least nine criminal investigations have been opened in relation to the events in question: in Saratov, Novosibirsk, Кaliningrad, St. Petersburg, Кazan, Volgograd, Krasnoyarsk and Мoscow (2).
As promised, we conclude this week’s Update with an item of good news: Dmitry Buchenkov, a defendant in the Bolotnaya Square case who had not been present on Bolotnaya Square that day, has absconded from house arrest. At present, he is in a European state, where he has asked for political asylum. We wish Dmitry and his family the best of luck.
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For more information on OVD-Info, read this article from the organisation's founder on how OVD is breaking the civil society mould here.