Human Rights Council asks State Duma to support amnesty for those charged in “Bolotnaya case”

7 May 2013 

Source: (info)
The Presidential Human Rights Council has asked the State Duma to support a bill for an amnesty for those charged in connection with the “Bolotnaya case”. The bill was drafted by deputies from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Boris Kashin and Anatoli Loktem.

As reports, 35 members of the Human Rights Council signed the letter, including Aleksander Verkhovsky, Elizavetta Glinka, Pavel Gusev, Sergei Karaganov, Elena Masyuk, Leonid Parfenov, Nikolai Svanidze, Irina Khakamada, Pavel Chikov, Maksim Shevchenko, Liliya Sibanova and Igor Yurgens.

The letter states: “The charge of pre-planned and organised ‘mass disturbances’ is not convincing in the eyes of those members of the public who were present on Bolotnaya Square on 6th May 2012.” The signatories note that “this part of the public, which is far from small” is sure that the separate skirmishes between demonstrators and police were provoked by the actions of the police.

According to the authors of the appeal, the referral of the “Bolotnaya case” to court has intensified confrontation between the authorities and “peaceful civic opposition”. The members of the Human Rights Council warn: “Besides the radicalisation of protests, this is fraught with the further reduction of public confidence in the courts, whose guilty verdict seems a foregone conclusion and, consequently, in all government bodies.”

The signatories added that they will approach President Vladimir Putin with a request for him to “politically support” the idea of an amnesty.

The bill prepared by Kashin and Loktem was brought to public attention on 29th April 2013. The authors consider that the bill could be passed to coincided with the State Duma’s 20th anniversary.

There are 28 people charged over the “Bolotnaya case” at present. The most recent is anti-fascist, Alexei Gaskarov, who was detained on 28th April 2013 and arrested the following day. 16 of the accused are being held in pre-trial detention and two are under house arrest.

On 26th April 2013 a criminal case concerning 12 of the people arrested in connection with the disturbances on Bolotnaya Square was passed to the General Public Prosecutor’s Office. After the final version of the charges has been approved by the Prosecutor’s Office, the case will be sent for trial.

Vladimir Akimenkov, Nikolai Kavakazsky and Leonid Kovyazin are accused of participation in mass disturbances (Article 212 Section 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Andrei Barabanov, Stepan Zimin, Denis Lutskevich, Yaroslav Belousov, Artem Savelov, Sergei Krivov, Alexandra Dukhanina and Alexei Polikhovich are also accused of using violence against representatives of authority (Article 318 Section 1). Marie Baronovoi is charged under Article 212 Section 3 (inciting active disobedience towards the legal demands of representatives of authority and inciting mass disturbances).

Earlier, the cases of Maksim Luzyanin and Mikhail Kosenko were allocated for separate legal proceedings. Luzyanin fully confessed his guilt and, at the beginning of November 2012, received a sentence of 4.5 years imprisonment. Kosenko is threatened with forced treatment in a psychiatric hospital. Moreover, former member of the Russian socialist movement, Konstantin Lebedev, reached a plea bargain with investigators. On 25th April 2013 he was sentenced to 2.5 years in a low-security penal colony.