Protestors against residence registration rules summoned for questioning

posted 24 May 2013, 06:13 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 27 May 2013, 02:55 ]
22 May 2013 

Source: (info)

Moscow city and Moscow region

Harassment of activists

Five participants in a protest action on Red Square against the law on residence registration ('propiska') held on 18 March have been summoned to Moscow police department for questioning as witnesses. Summonses for 22 and 27 May were sent to Gennady Stroganov, Vladimir Michurin, Oleg Prudnikov, Aleksey Nikitin and Anastasia Zinovkina.

According to Stroganov's Facebook page, police handed them the summonses in Special Detention Centre No. 1, where all five have been serving terms in prison for an anti-government protest held on Moscow's Tverskaya Street on 9 May entitled 'Death to the Kremlin Occupiers'.

Detective Aleksander Zotov and Police Captain Sergey Gladkov had initially planned to speak to the activists without summonses. The arrested individuals were told that some human rights defenders wanted to have a word with each of them, but the ruse did not work, writes Stroganov. After this, Zotov and Gladkov appeared in chambers, having assured that they would enter the refusal to give testimony under Article 51 of the Constitution on every record. Yet still the activists refused to answer any questions without summonses, reveals

A few hours later, the police returned with the summonses, none of which specified the case number. Once Zotov had entered the number by hand, four of the activists agreed to accept the summonses, but Zinovkina refused to sign one, and the document was served on her in the presence of witnesses.

Stroganov, Prudnikov and Nikitin, who had been summoned for questioning on 22 May, were freed the night before. The Main Internal Affairs Directorate agreed to postpone the questioning until 27 May, on account of the fact that the activists had not had the chance to make arrangements with their lawyers. The management of the special detention centre did not allow them to make a phone call. 13 participants of the 'Death to the Kremlin Invaders' protest action on Tverskaya Street were given terms ranging from 10 to 15 days for "disobeying orders by the police", whilst in the special detention centre activists held a collective hunger strike.

The case regarding the protest action on Red Square was initiated on 20 March under Part 2, Article 213, of the Criminal Code ("hooliganism committed by a group of persons in a preliminary conspiracy or an organised group, connected with resistance to a representative of authority or to any other person who fulfills the duty of protecting the public order or who prevents violation of the public order"). The maximum punishment given under this part of the Article is seven years' imprisonment.

The Office of the Public Prosecutor for the Central Administrative District of Moscow has authorised that criminal proceedings be commenced. "It has been established that on 18 March 2013 on Red Square a group of young people held an unauthorised picket, which involved the use of obscene language and placards bearing corresponding phrases. When the police attempted to stop this breach of the peace, picketers resisted law enforcement officers, using lit flares as weapons," said a statement by the press office.

14 members of the protest action against the Law on Registration were arrested on 18 March in Red Square in Moscow.