‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Andrei Lugovoi, from Kaliningrad region, is a political prisoner

26 January 2024

Andrei Lugovoi has been charged with ‘spreading fake news’ about the Russian army for a publication on his Telegram channel.

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ in accordance with international standards, considers Andrei Lugovoi a political prisoner. He is being prosecuted for ‘knowingly disseminating false information about the use of the Russian army, motivated by hatred’ because of a publication on Telegram. Lugovoi’s criminal prosecution violates his rights to freedom of expression and fair trial.

We demand the immediate release of Andrei Lugovoi from custody and the termination of his criminal prosecution.

What are the charges against Andrei Lugovoi?

On 26 December 2023, police searched the home of 31-year-old Andrei Lugovoi, a resident of the town of Pionersky in Kaliningrad region, on suspicion of knowingly spreading false information about the Russian army, motivated by political hatred’ (Article 207.3, Part 2 [e], of the Russian Criminal Code). The grounds for the search was a post by Lugovoi in April 2022 on the Telegram channel he administers.

Lugovoi was then detained and on 28 December he was remanded in custody. He faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment if convicted.

Why do we consider Lugovoi a political prisoner?

Article 207.3, under which Lugovoi is being prosecuted, was introduced into the Russian Criminal Code immediately after the start of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. Article 207.3 effectively prohibits any criticism of the Russian authorities or of the Russian military, in violation of the right of citizens to freedom of expression.

We consider 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, the principle of legal certainty. Under Article 207.3, a Russian citizen cannot know in advance what information may be considered false in a given context. Still less is it possible to establish intent, i.e. whether a person ‘knowingly’ disseminated false information.

We do not know the content of the post that led to Lugovoi’s criminal prosecution. Nevertheless, the very fact of his prosecution under Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code allows us to consider it unlawful.

Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code is an instrument of military censorship and political repression against critics of the Russian authorities. The article should be rescinded, all criminal convictions under it quashed, and all ongoing prosecutions dropped.

A detailed description of the case of Andrei Lugovoi 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, their views, statements, or actions.

How can you help?

You can write  to Andrei Lugovoi at the following address:

In Russian: 236022, г. Калининград, ул. Ушакова, д. 2-4, ФКУ СИЗО-1 УФСИН России по Калининградской области, Луговому Андрею Вадимовичу, 1992 г.р.

English translation: Andrei Vadimovich Lugovoi (born 1992), Remand Prison No. 1, Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia for Kaliningrad region, 2-4 Ushakov Street, Kaliningrad, 236022, Russia.

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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