Week-ending 21 May 2021
On 19 May 2021 Nikolai Platoshkin, a former diplomat and prominent academic, video blogger and opposition activist designated by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, was given a five-year suspended sentence and fined 700,000 roubles on charges Amnesty International described as ‘absurd’ of ‘incitement to commit mass disorder’ and ‘dissemination of false information’. Amnesty described Platoshkin’s conviction as ‘clearly fabricated to prevent him from participating in public life.’
Amnesty International: Responding to the conviction of former diplomat, renowned opposition activist and prisoner of conscience Nikolai Platoshkin on absurd charges of “incitement to commit mass disorder” and “dissemination of false information”, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director Natalya Zviagina, who attended the trial, said: “Handing Nikolai Platoshkin a five–year suspended sentence is another nail in the coffin for the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association in Russia. The case was clearly fabricated to prevent him from participating in public life and punish him for daring to criticise Putin’s stranglehold on power. His conviction must be quashed. “The absurdity of the charges against Nikolay Platoshkin, the speed of his court hearings and a blatant disregard for some basic fair trial guarantees is extraordinary even for the Kafkaesque Russian justice system. The prosecution’s farcical logic, rubber-stamped by the judge, is simple: to express views critical of government policy equals incitement to riots and is a crime.
The Moscow Times: A Moscow court has handed prominent political scientist and academic Nikolai Platoshkin a five-year suspended sentence on charges of “inciting unrest,” the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported Wednesday. Platoshkin, a former diplomat at the Russian Embassy in Germany who heads the For New Socialism movement, is also a popular YouTube blogger who has openly criticized last year’s constitutional amendments and the pro-Kremlin United Russia party. His allies claim the charges against him were trumped-up in order to keep him from running in this fall’s parliamentary elections. In its verdict, Moscow’s Gagarinsky District Court said Platoshkin spread fake information on his YouTube channel by criticizing the Russian authorities for what he called ineffective measures to protect the public from Covid-19. He then called on people to resist these anti-coronavirus measures.
RFE/RL: A well-known Russian video blogger and political activist has been handed a five-year suspended prison sentence for an online post that criticized the government and urged people to attend unsanctioned anti-government rallies. Nikolai Platoshkin was also fined 700,000 rubles ($9,500) by a Moscow court on May 19 in what human rights defenders denounced as part of the authorities’ “harsher” crackdown aimed at silencing critical views ahead of parliamentary elections in September. A former diplomat, Platoshkin was placed under house arrest in June after investigators charged him with calling for unsanctioned rallies and mass disorder. He pleaded not guilty.