10 October 2021
OVD-Info is a Moscow-based NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests and prosecutions in Russia. Each week OVD-Info publishes a bulletin with the latest news, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here.
Hi! A suspect in the Network case has been tortured again, a Belarusian journalist has been removed from Moscow, and a human rights activist from Uzbekistan has escaped deportation.
A suspect in the Network case has been tortured, and he confessed to murder. Maksim Ivankin has been found in a pre-detention centre in Ryazan after relatives and lawyers searched for him in the depths of the Federal Penitentiary Service for weeks. Until this he had been in the hospital at Prison No. 3 in Vladimir, where FPS officers along with prisoners loyal to the administration, obtained from him a confession in the Artem Dorofeyev and Ekaterina Levchenko murder case. According to Ivankin, they stretched him out and beat him in that position, then forced him to memorise a confession.
- Why do I need to know this? Unfortunately the thing that many people feared has come to pass: the investigation did not start investigating the Dorofeev and Levchenko case, but went down the usual path of torture and pressure. Prior to the Medusa text, the authorities did virtually nothing in the Dorofeev and Levchenko case, and now the fuss obliges them to somehow make up for their incompetence. There is a small chance that, set against the background of multiple reports of abuse in prisons and prison hospitals some changes will occur in the FPS, which will at least temporarily alter the situation for the better. But this is unlikely to help Ivankin avoid an increase in his sentence.
Human rights activist Valentina Chupik has left Russia. Chupik was detained at Sheremetyevo airport on 25 September. The authorities wanted to deport her to Uzbekistan, but in the end she was flown to Armenia – the Uzbek authorities having given her a new passport. The ECHR prohibited Russia from deporting the woman to her home country, as she might be in danger there. In our country, this human rights activist has helped immigrants and refugees, and in her opinion they wanted to deport her because she complained a lot about corruption at the Interior Ministry.
- Why is this important? We are used to rejoicing at provisionally good news of this kind. That is, news that isn’t entirely bad, but could have been very bad. Chupik has been banned from entering Russia and expelled from the country, but at least she hasn’t ended up in Uzbekistan, where her health and life would be in danger. But in general there is little cause for optimism: the security forces continue to get rid of all institutions and people who might speak out against their actions, in the most varied spheres.
A journalist has been taken from Russia to Belarus and imprisoned there. Gennady Mazheiko, a journalist working on Komsomolskaya Pravda, was secretly detained in Moscow on charges of incitement to hatred and insulting representatives of the authorities. He is now in the Okrestin Street remand prison in Minsk. It is not yet clear whether he was detained by the officers of the Belarusian special services or their Russian colleagues. Mozheiko is the author of an article about Minsk resident Andrei Zeltser who opened fire on KGB officers who came to his flat and killed one of them. Zeltser himself was also shot.
- Why is this important? Belarus is a fast train rushing somewhere in the direction of Chechnya. More than 150 people have already been detained for commenting on the news about the dead KGB officer; now a journalist from a respected (respected by the authorities, in fact) old Russian publication, absolutely not the opposition and not a media “foreign agent”, has been detained on stupid, trumped-up charges. Russian propaganda, which has been bawling so much about sovereignty and the threat of foreign influence, takes blows from Lukashenko silently and peacefully.
The prosecution has requested three years in prison for a Kolomna activist for participation in peaceful rallies. The prosecutor’s office has asked for a prison sentence for Vyacheslav Yegorov, an activist from Kolomna accused under the “Dada” article. The case has been pending since 2019; first Yegorov was under house arrest, then the sanction was changed to a ban on his taking certain actions, and later to a ban on his leaving the city. Yegorov is defended by OVD-Info lawyers Maria Eismont and Mikhail Biryukov.
- Why do I need to know this? Like all cases under the article on repeated violation of the law on rallies, the case against Yegorov should be dropped. People should not be criminally prosecuted for administrative offences, given how our protocols are falsified and how blind the courts are to police misconduct. In addition, the Constitutional Court confirmed that a case under 212.1 of the Criminal Code can be initiated if the suspect’s actions have endangered the public.
When they came for the Communists. The CPRF won 19% of the vote in the last Duma elections, after which the party’s supporters faced unprecedented pressure. It is almost as if this wasn’t the CPRF, but virtually the Anti-Corruption Foundation. Here is Alexander Litoi’s piece about the systemic pressure being exerted on what would seem to be a systemic party.
About the detention centre in Sakharov. Mark Frangulyan, a participant in a rally against Duma election fraud, was sent to Sakharov detention centre for foreign citizens for 15 days. OVD-Info publishes the account given by his girlfriend Anastasia Sukhova.
Translated by Anna Bowles