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Russia: three years for a smashed head. A concert broken up. And, once again, torture

The latest in freedom of assembly news from Russia, via OVD-Info. 

Dmitry Pchelintsev, one of the Penza anti-fascists facing terrorism charges. Source: rupression.comThis week there have been many important events in the realm of political repression. As always, we do our best to set out what has happened succinctly and with clarity.

The charges against the mathematician Dmitry Bogatov for incitement to riot and justification of terrorism have been dropped. Another person has now been remanded in custody in the case. Bogatov’s prosecution was based on posts published on the web forum SysAdmins.ru by a user with the nickname “Airat Bashirov”. He used the Tor anonymiser administered by Bogatov. Thirty-three-year-old Vladislav Kuleshov, administrator of the Energomer database, is the new suspect in the case. He has pleaded guilty and, according to a statement by his lawyer, “does not want” to appeal against being remanded in custody.

Vyacheslav Shatrovsky, a resident of the village of Sharya charged with using force against a police officer during the so-called “Maltsev revolution”, has been sentenced to three years in a general-regime prison colony. Shatrovsky says that on 5 November he was standing on Novopushkinsky Square in Moscow waiting for his son, Maksim, in order to pass a bag on to him. When Maksim got into a conflict with a police officer, his father intervened on his behalf and during the ensuing dispute the police officer threw Shatrovsky over his shoulder. The investigation considers Shatrovksy attacked the police officer. Vyacheslav Shatrovsky suffered an open head wound along with numerous bruises to his head, a diagnosis confirmed by doctors at the Sklifosovsky Institute. Later, the stitches on Shatrovsky’s head, done while he was in hospital, were removed in his cell with the help of fellow detainees.  

A court ruled that Konstantin Saltykov, charged with using force against a police officer during the Voters’ Strike protest on 28 January, must remain in pre-trial detention. Even the prosecutor had requested that Saltykov be transferred to house arrest.

The so-called “Network” investigation continues. Nine young people in Penza and St Petersburg have now been charged with taking part in the “Network” terrorist group. Allegedly, members of the group made preparations for disturbances in the country. A number of defendants have alleged they were tortured by the FSB.

  • - “From now on you will do what the investigator says you will do. If he says white is black, you will say it is black. If they cut off your finger and say eat it, you will eat it.” Defendant Dmitry Pchelintsev has retracted his earlier guilty plea and has told his lawyer he was tortured to make him withdraw his previous allegation that he had been tortured. Pchelintsev was again subjected to electric shocks and threatened with his wife being raped. He has stated that if he retracts what he has said once again, this will mean he has again been victim of torture.

  • - St Petersburg City Court has ruled that the Petersburg defendants in the case, Viktor Filinkov and Yulia Boyarshinova, are to remain in pre-trial detention.

  • - On the Russian-Ukrainian border a friend of the accused, Viktoriya, has been detained.

In St Petersburg, officers of the counter-extremism department and SOBR special purpose mobile police units broke up a punk music concert. All those at the concert were photographed and had their ID checked. A number were arrested. The organiser of the concert said that “for some reason the police said the biggest guys were Nazis, some of them were even photographed with White Power signs, although our concert was an anti-fascist event.”

The administration of Moscow State University tried to break up a “Festival to Get Rid of the Bolsheviks”. An hour before the festival, Moscow State University authorities blocked all public spaces of the university’s main building with ribbons and barriers, while, nearby, employees of a private security agency and police officers in civilian clothes were on duty. The hall where the festival was due to be held was flooded with water, and then, when the group Arkadii Kots was performing, one of the group’s musicians was arrested. Students at the university were protesting against the creation of a fan-zone for Bolsheviks on the territory of the university during the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

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OVD-Info was launched by volunteers in 2011 as a means of quickly monitoring arrests during mass protests. It has evolved into a full-scale analytical project dealing with law enforcement issues in Russia. Find out how you can help here.

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