Torture, Penza, Petersburg

More information on the Russian security services' arrest and torture of anarchists and anti-fa in Petersburg and Penza emerges. 

2 February 2018

31 January: a picket at FSB headquarters in Moscow in support of Pavel Nikulin. Source: Journalist and Media Workers Union.

This article is part of our partnership with OVD-Info, an NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia.

We would like to stress how important it is to sign an agreement on legal representation with a good lawyer, designate an authorized representative who in case of your arrest will know what to do, and also to strengthen the security of your electronic devices.  

Last week, we reported that the computer programmer Viktor Filinkov went missing on his way to Pulkovo airport and two days later a court remanded him in custody on charges of terrorism.

- The day following Filinkov’s arrest he was visited in detention by members of the local Public Oversight Commission. The observers identified numerous traces of burns from an electric shock device on his chest and on his right thigh, and also a bruise on his right ankle. Filinkov has said that people in masks took him to a forest, beat him for five hours, and demanded that he make a confession using specific words they insisted he should learn by heart. In other  words, he was tortured.

- Filinkov’s lawyer says that when he visited his client in a pre-trial detention centre, an attempt was made to open his bag containing documents, a telephone and a laptop.  

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Viktor Filinkov. Source: Facebook. - Filinkov also said that he was visited in the remand centre by an FSB officer who had taken part in the torture. He told the computer programmer that the “games being played by the Public Oversight Commission” were not in his best interests and sought to persuade the young person to collaborate with him.

- On 25 January, Igor Shishkin, a Petersburg resident, went missing after he took his dog for a walk. Law enforcement officers subsequently turned up at his apartment with the dog and proceeded to conduct a search of the property. The Court remanded Shishkin in custody on the same charges as Filinkov. Journalists were not allowed into the court hearing and some were detained. Those who saw Shishkin in court reported that he was covered in bruises..

- “Don’t write to me, don’t bring me anything, go away, the farther the better, and don’t ask about me, it’s all over with me”: we have published an article about the terrorism investigation ongoing in Penza, out of which the prosecution and torture of St Petersburg left-wing activists has derived. The defendants in the case have alleged unlawful use of force, torture, psychological pressure and the planting of weapons by FSB officers.

- MediaZona has published the story of one other Petersburg resident Igor Kapustin, who works as an industrial climber, who has been tortured by means of electric shocks and questioned about Penza.

The home of journalist Pavel Nikulin was searched. He has been questioned as a witness in a terrorism case.

- The law enforcement officials visited Nikulin on account of his article “From Kaluga on Jihad,” published in The New Times. The article contained an interview with a Kaluga resident  who “became disappointed with Russia, anarchism and the workers’ struggle,” adopted Islam and left to fight in Syria.

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Pavel Nikulin's apartment after it was searched by police on 31 January. Source: Telegram.

- The investigation, in which Nikulin figures as a witness, has been brought under Article 205.3 of the Criminal Code (undergoing training for the purposes of carrying out terrorist activities). The authorities seized electronic equipment, t-shirts and a copy of the unofficially published (“samizdat”) journal Moloko plus.

In St Petersburg, human rights defender Dinar Idrisov was severely beaten.

- Idrisov's arm was broken and he requires a major operation. In addition, he also suffered a broken cheekbone, a head injury and concussion. Idrisov does not know the cause of the attack, but does not exclude that it could have been related to his Facebook post about the arrests of Filinkov and Shishkin.


Dinar Idrisov after he was attacked on 28 January. Source: Facebook.

On Sunday, people supporting Alexey Navalny’s call for a “Voters’ Boycott” protested in Russian cities

- In total, 371 people in various cities were arrested. Lists of those detained can be seen here, and the outcomes of the court hearings here.

The historian Yury Dmitriev and mathematician Dmitry Bogatov have been released under travel restrictions, the former from pre-trial detention and the latter from house arrest. Hooray!

Thank you

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