Memorial Human Rights Centre recognizes Gennady Kravtsov as political prisoner

posted 4 Nov 2015, 07:38 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 4 Nov 2015, 07:40 ]
2 November 2015

Source: (info)
Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow) has recognized radio engineer Gennady Kravtsov as a political prisoner. Kravstov was sentenced in Moscow City Court to 14 years in prison on treason charges. 

Kravtsov, who had earlier worked in the GRU (military intelligence) was convicted of treason for allegedly divulging state secrets when he sent his CV to a Swedish company.

An analysis of the circumstances and chronology of the case makes it possible to conclude that the prosecution of Kravtsov was political motivated.

The case was brought against Kravtsov three years after he had dispatched his CV to a Swedish company at a time when the government was conducting an aggressive policy against internal enemies, ‘spies’ and ‘traitors’.

Both Kravtsov and his lawyers were denied access to a number of secret documents, which Kravtsov was accused of divulging, during the investigation and the trial.

A commission that carried out a forensic evaluation of aspects of the case inclued individuals who had served in the GRU with Kravtsov, and this was a factor that could have influenced the objectivity of the evaluation.

There were a number of other procedural violations in the investigation and trial: the first search of Kravtsov’s home was conducted without a court order, and at the closed trial an FSB officer was present who had nothing to do with the proceedings but who tried to stop Kravtsov communicating with his lawyer.

Moreover, the investigation and prosecution failed to prove that Kravtsov had damaged the security of the country by divulging classified information.

According to experts on military-space technology, the technical features of the space equipment that Kravtsov allegedly divulged were declassified at the beginning of the 2000s by the government organization that built it and were published in the organization’s catalogue. The equipment itself is no longer used in Russia.

The prosecution of Gennady Kravtsov is a consequence of conscious government policy and propaganda intended to create a war-time atmosphere in society, accompanied by witch hunts for a ‘fifth column’ and ‘enemies of the state’.

New criminal cases against ‘spies’ and ‘traitors’ are required to maintain an atmosphere of this kind, and as a result the work of law enforcement and intelligence agencies becomes focused on the fabrication of criminal cases and the criminalization of lawful actions of citizens.

Other victims of this policy have been the Sochi shop assistant Екaterina Kharebava (sentenced in November 2014 to six years in prison on charges of espionage) and the mother of a large number of children from Smolensk, Svetlana Davydova (who spent two weeks in pre-trial detention on charges of treason).

It is no accident that Andrei Stebenev, who had also been involved in the prosecution of Davydova, was Kravtsov’s government-appointed lawyer at the start of the prosecution.

On the basis of the above circumstances. Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow) has recognized Gennady Kravtsov as a political prisoner.

The criminal prosecution of Kravtsov and his imprisonment were carried out exclusively on the basis of his non-violent use of freedom of expression of opinion and dissemination of information guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, without any evidence incriminating him of a crime.

As a consequence of the prosecution, the right to fair trial was violated.

The term of imprisonment to which Kravtsov has been sentenced is clearly disproportionate with regard to the factual circumstances of the case.

The recognition of an individual as a political prisoner does not mean that Memorial Human Rights Centre shares that person’s views or statements, nor approval of their statements or actions.

For more information about the case of Gennady Kravtsov, see the website of Memorial Human Rights Centre.

Translated by Simon Cosgrove