Legal Case of the Week. Seven convicted in New Greatness trial; three receive long prison terms.

Week-ending 7 August 2020

On Thursday, 6 August, 2020, Judge Aleksandr Maslov at the Lyublino district court announced guilty verdicts against seven members of the so-called New Greatness movement on charges of “organizing an extremist group intending to carry out crimes of extremist character” “plotting to overthrow President Vladimir Putin.” The seven are Petr Karamzin, Dmitry Poltetayev, Ruslan Kostylenkov, Vyacheslav Kryukov, Anna Pavlikova, Maria Dubovik, and Maksim Roshchin. Police detained three activists who had worn police uniforms while staging a protest performance in front of the court building.

Later in the day when sentences were announced, four activists received suspended terms for organizing an extremist community, three other defendants were sentenced to imprisonment, RAPSI reported from Lyublinsky district court. Dmitry Poletayev, Maxim Roshchin, Maria Dubovik and Anna Pavlikova received suspended sentences of six, six and a half, and four years of suspended sentences respectively. The movement’s leader Ruslan Kostylenkov was ordered to serve 7 years in penal colony, Vyacheslav Kryukov and Petr Karamzin were imprisoned for 6.5 and 6 years in jail respectively. On July 14, the prosecutor asked the court to sentence Kostylenkov to 7 1/2 years in prison; Karamzin to 6 1/2 years; and Kryukov to six years. The defence will appeal.

On Tuesday, 4 August 2020, a group of activists and former political prisoners from Russia had called on people to attend the announcement of the verdicts in the “Novoe Velichie” (New Greatness) extremism case at Moscow’s Lublinsky Court on 6 August, Meduza reported. The call in support of the defendants took the form of a video message published by the independent television channel TV Rain (Dozhd). The appeal reads in part: “The truth is obvious to everyone, including, it seems, the judge: ‘New Greatness’ is not an organization, it’s not extremist, the defendants were not, were never, involved in those things that are shamelessly attributed to them. However, we don’t know what sentence the court will give them. As we understand, there aren’t any acquittals in Russia anymore. But this is precisely a case where there must be an acquittal.”

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