‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Daniil Vodolagin, a student from Volgograd, is a political prisoner

5 January 2024

Daniil Vodolagin has been remanded in custody on charges of spreading ‘fake news’ about the Russian army

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ in accordance with international standards, considers Daniil Vodolagin a political prisoner. Vodolagin is being prosecuted for spreading ‘fake news’ about the use of the Russian army because of a post on social media. Daniil Vodolagin’s criminal prosecution violates his rights to freedom of expression and fair trial.

We demand the immediate release of Daniil Vodolagin and that all criminal charges against him be dropped.

What are the charges against Daniil Vodolagin?

In October 2023, Daniil Vodolagin, a second-year student at Volgograd Technical University, was remanded in custody for spreading ‘fake news’ about the Russian army under Article 207.3, Part 2 [c], of the Russian Criminal Code. 

We do not know in connection with which social media posts he has been charged, but we do know that in the spring and summer of 2023 Vodolagin was twice convicted of an offence under administrative law for publications on the VK social media site.

Under Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code, Vodolagin faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment if convicted.

Why do we consider Vodolagin a political prisoner?

Article 207.3, under which Vodolagin is being prosecuted, was added to the Russian Criminal Code immediately after the start of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. It effectively prohibits any criticism of the Russian authorities and their military actions, which violates the right of citizens to freedom of expression.

We believe that Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code contradicts both the Russian Constitution and Russia’s international obligations, as well as fundamental principles of law, in particular, that of legal certainty. Under Article 207.3, for example, a citizen cannot know in advance what information may be considered false in a given context. All the more, since it is impossible to establish whether a person knowingly, i.e. with intent, disseminated false information.

While we do not know which publications served as grounds for Vodolagin’s criminal prosecution, the fact of prosecution under Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code allows us to consider his prosecution unlawful.

Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code serves as an instrument of military censorship and political repression against critics of the Russian authorities. Article 207.3 should be rescinded and all criminal prosecutions under it closed and convictions quashed.

A detailed description of the case of Daniil Vodolagin and the position of the Human Rights Project are available on our website.

Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner does not imply the project, ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ agrees with, or approves of, their views, statements, or actions.

How can you help?

You can write a letter to Daniil Vodolagin at the following address:

In Russian: 400080, г. Волгоград, ул. им. Довженко, д. 34Б, ФКУ СИЗО-4 УФСИН России по Волгоградской области, Водолагину Даниилу Сергеевичу 2002 г. р. 

English translation: Daniil Sergeevich Vodolagin (born 2002), Remand Prison No. 4, Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia for Volgograd region, 34B Dovzhenko Street, Volgograd, 400080, Russia.

You can also send an electronic letter via the Zonatelekom service.

Please note that letters in languages other than Russian are highly unlikely to reach the recipient.

You can donate to support all political prisoners via our website. 

Translated by Rights in Russia

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