Memorial Сonsiders the Сriminal Proceedings Сonnected with the events of 6 May to Be Politically Motivated

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Human Rights Center Memorial

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Jul 11, 2012, 8:28:47 AM7/11/12
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Memorial Сonsiders the Сriminal Proceedings Сonnected with the events of 6 May to Be Politically Motivated

The public event of 6 May 2012, about which the organizers had come to agreement with the authorities beforehand, as is well known, developed into a confrontation between some of the participants and the police. On this very day, criminal proceedings were instituted pursuant to Art. 212 (mass disorder) and Art. 318 (the use of violence against a public official) of the Russian Federation Criminal Code. It is reported that the Main Investigatory Body of the Investigatory Committee of the Russian Federation has created an investigation group of unprecedented size which is carrying out large scale investigations.

Criminal charges have been brought against 14 people, 11 of whom are in custody, 1 is under house arrest and 2 are under recognizance not to leave.

Having analyzed the facts of the investigations into the events of 6 May, Human Rights Center Memorial declares the following:

1. The investigations are of a clearly one-sided nature: criminal proceedings have frequently been brought against citizens when evidence of unlawful action is not available. At the same time, no criminal matters have been instituted on the basis of documented violations and crimes committed by police (http://d-lindele.livejournal.com/137784.html), and applications regrading these crimes remain unanswered (http://grani.ru/Politics/Russia/activism/m.197795.html#dav, http://navalny.livejournal.com/706326.html).

2. We agree with the position of the Russian Federation Human Rights Commissioner V.P. Lukin that there were no indications of mass disorder during the events of 6 May on Bolotnaya Square pursuant to sections 1 and 2 of Art. 212 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code, and so it can't be stated that the crime was ever committed (http://ombudsmanrf.org/2009-11-05-14-00-18/2009-11-05-14-08-57/11938--6-2012-.html). Meanwhile, Anrei Baranov, Stepan Zimin, Denis Lutzkevich, Aleksandra Dukhanina, Yaroslav Belousov, Artem Savelov and Mikhail Kosenko have been charged under ss. 1 and.2 of Art. 212 and Art. 318. Oleg Arkhipenkov, Rikhard Sobolev, Vladimir Akimenkov and Fedor Bakhov are charged only under s. 2 of Art. 212.

3. From the position of the investigation bodies during the court examination deciding preventative measures and from other conditions of the citizen's criminal prosecution, it is possible to conclude that the prosecution is examining the actions of the accused and suspected participants of the protest outside the general context of the events of 6 May. The prosecution also need to consider the actions from the point of view of possible self defense against the illegal actions of police officers.

4. Of all those with criminal charges currently brought against them, the only people whose charges are founded upon video recordings are Dukhanina, Barabanov, and Baronova (irrespective of whether the video recordings actually provide evidence of the alleged offences).

The ground for the charges against Bakhov is his own self-incrimination, made under the pressure of the prosecution and appointed lawyer.

The charges against Savelov, Lutzkevich, Arkhipenkov, Sobolev, Zimin, Belousov, Akimenkov, Kosenko and Kamensky are based exclusively on police statements, allegedly identifying them a significantly long period of time after 6 May.

Considering that the police “victim” statements against Zimin, for example, changed from “I didn't see exactly who threw rocks at me because the rocks were flying from all sides of the crowd” on 6 May to a description of Zimin's apprearance on 6 June (http://rosuznik.org/component/content/article/2-novosti/16-stepan-zimin-pyatyj-zaderzhannyj-po-delu-o-besporyadkakh-6-maya); that Basmanniy Court Moscow handed out restrictive measures to Kamensky, who was not at Bolotnaya Square, on the basis of the statement of 3 police officers, allegedly identifying him in photographs (http://www.gazeta.ru/politics/2012/06/14_a_4626373.shtml); and also considering the widespread practice of bringing administrative charges against participants of public events on the basis of false evidence provided by police officers, it is difficult to consider the police officer statements as sufficient grounds for making criminal charges.

5. Preventive measures were ordered against all those charged, and 11 were placed in custody. We believe that the prosecution and the court, in contravention of the requirements of the Russian Federation Criminal Procedural Code, did not have sufficient grounds to order preventative measures. It appears that placing in custody and other preventative measures are being used to exert pressure on the accused.

6. The rights of the suspected and accused were repeatedly violated: many were deprived of the opportunity to receive timely legal assistance from a lawyer by agreement (this right was most blatantly violated for Bakhov, Sobolev, Arkhipenkov) and pressure was exerted on many (including Zimin, Savelov, Arkhipenkov) to incite them to falsely accuse the people who the prosecution declared to be organizers.

7. We believe that the decision to search suspects and witnesses' houses was made without an established legal basis; in contravention of established procedure, items were confiscated during the searches which were not related to the matter under investigation. In our opinion, the searches were undertaken in part to exert pressure on suspects and witnesses.

The combination of numerous violations and a clearly political nature leads us to the conclusion that the criminal prosecution of participants in the event of 6 May is politically motivated, and that Andrei Barabanov, Stepan Zimin, Denis Lutzkevich, Aleksandra Dukhanina, Yaroslav Belousov, Artem Savelov, Mikhail Kosenko, Oleg Arkhipenkov, Rikhard Sobolev, Vladimir Akimenkov and Fedor Bakhov are political prisoners*.

* Taking in account that M. Luzyanin totally admitted his guilt, asked not to consider him as a political prisoner and that there is not enough information about his case, we didn't even raise a question about considering Luzyanin to be a political prisoner.

July 11, 2012

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