News of the Day: 8 June 2021

The Moscow Times: Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has dedicated a prestigious rights award to all political prisoners in Russia and in Belarus, his daughter told a summit of rights defenders on Tuesday. “My dad asked me today to give this award to every single political prisoner in Russia and Belarus,” Daria Navalnaya said in a video statement to the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, citing a letter from her father. “He wrote that most of them are in a much worse situation compared to me, because they’re not as well known or famous,” the 20-year-old said in her first public comments since her father’s jailing in February. “They should know that they are not alone or forgotten about.”

RFE/RL: The jailed former executive director of the pro-democracy Open Russia movement, Andrei Pivovarov, has been charged with failure to provide authorities with details of his group, which had been added to “foreign agents” registry. Pivovarov, who was arrested and placed in pretrial detention for two months last week after he was removed from a Warsaw-bound plane in St. Petersburg, wrote in a Telegram post that the charge is related to the Open Petersburg educational group that he established in 2017 and which the Justice Ministry labeled as a “foreign agent” in December. If found guilty, Pivovarov faces a fine of up to 300,000 rubles ($4,100).

RFE/RL: A court in Moscow has upheld a one-year correctional-labor sentence for Lyubov Sobol, a lawyer for jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), on trespassing charges that she has described as a move to silence her. Before the Perovsky district court announced its decision to uphold the sentence on June 8, Sobol reiterated in the courtroom that the case against her was politically motivated, as she had not committed any crime. According to Russian law, those handed a suspended sentence of correctional labor must pay the State Treasury a certain amount of their salary if they are employed. If they are unemployed, they must work at jobs defined by the Federal Penitentiary Service during the term of their sentence.

RFE/RL: Although the protagonist died one year ago, the strange saga of Russia’s so-called accidental dissident continues to play out in a courtroom in the northern city of Arkhangelsk. On May 31 and June 1, a court heard testimony in the case of Sergei Mokhnatkin, who died in Moscow on May 28, 2020, at the age of 66 after a long illness brought on, his family says, by abuse he received while in prison in the Arkhangelsk region in 2016. That incident left him with a fractured spine. Mokhnatkin is charged posthumously with “disrupting prison routine,” but his defense attorneys say the case remains crucially important because, bit by bit, detailed information about the dark side of Russian prison life is emerging.

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