2 November 2021
Said-Mukhamad Dzhumaev was given an unprecedentedly harsh sentence of five years in a penal colony, although no police personnel were injured by his actions
Source: Memorial Human Rights Centre
Memorial Human Rights Centre, in accordance with international criteria, considers Said-Mukhamad Dzhumaev a political prisoner. He has been imprisoned in connection with the exercise of his right to freedom of assembly. The severe sentence handed down to Dzhumaev is clearly inappropriate given the acts with which he was charged and is at odds with current judicial practice
We believe the exemplary severity of the sentence handed down to this participant in an opposition rally is intended to intimidate all those who disagree with the policies of the Russian authorities.
We demand an impartial review of Said-Mukhamad Dzhumaev’s case.
The case against Dzhumaev
On 23 January 2021, Said-Mukhamad Dzhumaev, a student at Moscow State University, took part in the ‘Free Navalny!’ rally in Moscow.
A short video from the rally, showing Dzhumaev involved in a clash with police officers, was widely circulated online. The footage shows Dzhumaev emerging from a crowd of protesters and walking quickly towards OMON riot police who, in full protective gear with batons at the ready, are attacking the crowd of protesters. Dzhumaev falls back under the blows of truncheons. As he does so, he punches and kicks at the riot police. One of the OMON riot officers grabbed Dzhumaev by the arm. Dzhumaev managed to break free, but fell down on the road. Protesters dragged Dzhumaev back into the crowd, shielding him from the batons.
Said-Mukhamad Dzhumaev was not arrested that day. His name was placed on a federal wanted list. On 28 January 2021 he was arrested in Pskov region and taken to Moscow.
Dzhumaev was charged under Article 318, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code (‘Use of force against a public official not dangerous to health’). According to investigators, he had struck two riot police officers and one ordinary police officer several times.
On 19 August 2021, a judge sitting in Tverskoi district court in Moscow found Said-Mukhamad Dzhumaev guilty and sentenced him to five years in a general-regime penal colony.
Why Memorial considers Dzhumaev a political prisoner
Having studied the available materials in the case of Said-Mukhamad Dzumaev, we conclude the following:
- No injuries were caused by Said-Mukhamad Dzhumaev. The officers who were the victims in the case were in full protective gear with helmets and did not sustain any injuries. Moreover, they withdrew their claims in court. Furthermore, video footage shows that, as a result of Dzhumaev’s blows, none of them fell down or lost balance. Nor did they stop hitting him with their truncheons.
- The verdict handed down in Dzhumaev’s case was unjustifiably harsh. It is clearly inconsistent with the practice in such cases. Even taking into account the fact that Russian courts apply Article 318 differently in ‘political’ cases, the sentence given to Dzhumaev stands out for its severity – even in comparison with those handed down in other cases related to participation in public protests.
- Law enforcement authorities treat actions by law enforcement officers and protesters very differently. According to OVD-Info, on 23 January at least 64 protesters across Russia were injured by the actions of law enforcement officers. At the same time, not a single criminal case has been initiated against a law enforcement officer. Only protesters have been prosecuted.
- Dzhumaev’s clash with OMON riot police occurred during the unlawful dispersal of a peaceful protest rally. The Russian authorities grossly violated the right of citizens to peaceful assembly. As a result, every protester risked being unlawfully arrested and assaulted. The atmosphere of police violence during those hours suggests that Dzhumaev’s actions could be classified as justifiable self-defence.
- After the arrest of Aleksei Navalny, political repression intensified in Russia and participants in demonstrations in support of Navalny were added to the number of its victims.
More information about the case and the position of Memorial Human Rights Centre is available on our website.
Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner does not imply Memorial Human Rights Centre agrees with, or approves of, their views, statements, or actions.
How you can help
Address for letters: 109388, г. Москва, ул. Шоссейная, д. 92, ФКУ СИЗО-6 УФСИН России по г. Москве, Мархиеву Микаилу Михайловичу*, 2000 г. р. [Mikail Mikhailovich Markhiev (DoB 2000), Pre-Trial Detention Centre No. 6, Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia, Moscow Division, Shosseinaya Street, Building No. 92, Moscow, 109388]
*For family reasons, S.-M. Dzhumaev has changed his name in his passport.
You can support all political prisoners by donating to the Fund to Support Political Prisoners of the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners via PayPal, using the e-wallet at [email protected]
Translated by Simon Cosgrove