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Relatives of "6 May Prisoners" send letter to Moscow Mayor Sobyanin

1 October 2013 

Source: (info)
Relatives of the 6th May Prisoners have sent a letter to the mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, in which they tell him about the conditions in which the defendants are being held and the poor health of some of them. In the letter they invite him to attend the trial of the Bolotnaya defendants to see for himself that “there is no presumption of innocence in this case, and the trial has the appearance of a circus… if only it was not for the fact that they are our children in the glass cubicle in the courtroom.”

Novaya Gazeta published the letter. 

“To the Mayor of Moscow, Sergei Semyonovich Sobyanin

From Natalya Nikolaevna Kavkazkaya
From Viktor Ivanovich Savelov 
And other relatives of the defendants and those under investigation in the “Bolotnaya case”. 

Dear Sergei Semyonovich, 

We are the relatives of the defendants and those under investigation in relation to the so-called case “on the riots of 6th May, 2012”, the hearings of which are taking place at Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky district court. 

Almost all of us are Muscovites and many received your election campaign letter which contained many warm words. “Moscow is the city to which you gave your energy away, your talent and soul” – you wrote. And this is true: we have given many years of our lives to the wellbeing, security and defence of our city and country. 

And indeed, as you rightly noticed, we would like to “feel secure in Moscow and sure of tomorrow”. However, unfortunately, at the moment no one in Moscow can feel “secure and sure of tomorrow.” It doesn’t matter how much you make Moscow beautiful, it won’t protect Muscovites, if their civil rights are violated.

During the trial hearings it has become obvious to us that the main reason for the events at Bolotnaya Square on 6 May 2012 was a sudden change of the route of the rally by the Moscow police authorities, which had been earlier jointly agreed by the event organizers and Moscow city government. The change in the route caused confusion among participants, and resulted in pressure by a cordon of riot police against people, thereby increasing an already unbearable crush. The police brutally beat the protesters in an attempt to clear the streets. However, no criminal cases have been initiated in relation to police behaviour. And instead of the real culprits of the clashes, our relatives have found themselves in custody. The trial of the majority of defendants began in June 2013 and it is most likely that it will continue for a long time.

On the days of the court hearings our relatives have to get up early (5-6 a.m.), and they return to the cells late at night (around midnight and even later). They have to sit for long hours in a tiny box, with dry snacks mixed with water for lunch, and endure long court hearings. These kinds of conditions would cause serious deterioration in the well-being even of a healthy individual. And among the defendants there is an individual, Mikhail Kosenko, who suffers from serious disabilities (whose mother recently died and who wasn’t informed either of her illness or her death, and who wasn’t even allowed to attend the funeral) and Vladimir Akimenkov, who could soon face total blindness. 

Sergei Semyonovich, we hope that for you we, as Muscovites, are not a faceless crowd, but individuals with their lives and needs. And we want an answer as to why for more than a year our relatives have had to suffer without any proof of guilt, while those police officers who beat them up are free and appear as victims at the trial who often can’t identify the defendants and have nothing to do with them?! One of them had their finger cut by unknown persons, another was merely pushed, as a result of which he felt “acute physical suffering”, a third one was pulled by his clothes, and a fourth got a bruise…

On 6 May in Bolotnaya Square there weren’t any riots involving major destruction, arson or use of weapons, so we could simply put the matter to rest. However, the whole trial is actually based on the idea of “riots”. Obviously, a trial hearing of this kind cannot withstand any criticism. 

In your letter you invited us to vote, implying, of course, that the elections would be fair. Fair elections were exactly what our children, brothers and husbands were demanding, And for exactly that they are now in custody facing long terms of imprisonment. According to your letter you want to make our city better and make Muscovites happier. However, it doesn’t add up when in Moscow before everyone’s eyes innocent people – young people, scientists, journalists, the future of the country - are on trial. 

If you are really worried about the appearance of Moscow then you will pay attention to the ugly spectacle which is taking place in Moscow City Court and which disgraces our country and city! We appeal to you to attend one of the court hearings which takes place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in the building for appeals at Moscow City Court, room 635 (from 1 October the hearings have been moved to Nikulinsky district court. – ed). And you will see for yourself that the judge takes the side of the prosecution, and that the prosecution witnesses – the police officers – are forced to lie under the oath. Come to the trial and see for yourself that there is no presumption of innocence in this case, and the trial takes on the appearance of a circus… if only it was not for the fact that they are our children in the glass cubicle in the courtroom.

We are asking you to look into this “trial” and to make sure that in the future no Muscovite or visitor to the city who attends a peaceful rally that has been given official approval will end up being beaten by police officers, accused of “rioting” and thrown into jail. 

We ask you, Sergei Semyonovich, to do everything to save our relatives. 

We await your reply. 

Sincerely yours, 

Natalya Nikolaevna Kavkazkaya (mother of Nikolai Kavkazky) 
Yury Nikolaevich Kavkazky (father of Nikolai Kavkazky) 
Viktor Ivanovich Savelov (father of Artem Savelov) 
Aleksei Polikhovich (father of Aleksei Polikhovich) 
Tamara Yurievna Likhanova (wife of Yuroslav Belousov) 
Stella Sergeevna Anton (mother of Denis Lutskevich) 
Artem S. Naumov (husband of Aleksandra Dukhanina-Naumova) 
Ekaterina Tarasova (mother-in-law of Leonid Kovyazin) 
Vasily Nikolaevich Kovyazin (brother of Leonid Kovyazin) 
Olga A. Ignatovich (mother of Ilya Guschin) 
Ksenia Aleksandrovna Kosenko (sister of Mikhail Kosenko) 
Maria Nikolaevna Baronova (defendant) 
Tatiana Nikolaevna Barabanova (mother Andrei Barabanov) 
Aleksandra A. Kunko (fiancée of Stepan Zimin)”.