“Memorial” Considers the Criminal Case Against Komarova and Kharlamova to be Illegal and Politically Motivated

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Apr 18, 2012, 7:54:44 AM4/18/12
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“Memorial” Considers the Criminal Case Against Komarova and Kharlamova to be Illegal and Politically Motivated 

Olga Komarova and Tatyana Kharlamova were charged under the Article 282.2 (taking part in activities of extremist organizations) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (CCRF), in connection with their participation in a peaceful demonstration that took place in the hall of the Russian Ministry of Foreign  Affairs (MFA) on July 2, 2008.
On January-February 2012 it became clear that the criminal prosecution would go ahead. At that time the prescription for the minor offense allegedly committed by Komarova and Kharlamova ran already out in July 2010. The pretext to continue the proceedings was that the defendants were allegedly on wanted list and were hiding from the investigation. Meanwhile, the decision to put them on the wanted list was signed by the investigator after the expiration of the limitation period. During the time they were allegedly on wanted list, the police repeatedly detained the defendants at public events. Furthermore they did not receive any court notification and one of the defendants was living at the address she was registered at. The continuation of the criminal prosecution is clearly illegal.

In our view, on the whole the criminal case against Komarova and Kharlamova under the Article 282.2 of the CCRF does not have any real basis. Their participation in the demonstration in the MFA does not prove that they are members of the banned National Bolshevik Party (NBP): the  demonstrators themselves deny it. The symbols and the denomination of the group that took part in the demonstration were similar to the symbols and denomination of the NBP but by no means identical. Moreover, the banning of the NBP was carried out in a obvious violation of the law.

The Human Rights Center “Memorial” qualifies as vicious the practice of prosecuting under the Article 282.2, which charges people simply with participation in organizations' activities no matter if the accused committed any offenses.

The Center “E” (the Counter Extremism department of the Ministry of Interior) was involved in the persecution of Komarova and Kharlamova. The persecution is only linked to their civic activity and not to criminal offenses. They are solely charged with alleged participation in the NBP. The case is part of the larger illegal repression of activists of the former NBP and the party “Another Russia” and proves the political character of the persecution of Komarova and Kharlamova.   

The Human Rights Center “Memorial” considers the persecution of Kharlamova and Komarova illegal and politically motivated and calls for its immediate interruption.
Get more information on political prisoners Komarova and and Kharlamova at: http://www.memo.ru/d/3402.html (in Russian).

See the list of persons recognized as political prisoners  by the HRC “Memorial” at : http://www.memo.ru/section/list/id/121/rubric3/256 (in Russian).

April 18, 2012

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