18 January 2023
Stanislav Andreev and Aleksei Shamardin were both sentenced to two and a half years in a low security penal colony on charges of stealing two ‘disabled parking’ signs from a parking lot
Source: Political Prisoners Memorial
‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ a human rights project, considers bloggers Stanislav Andreev and Aleksei Shamardin political prisoners in accordance with international standards. We believe their criminal prosecution is retaliation for criticism of the security forces. In the course of the criminal prosecutions of Andreev and Shamardin, there were gross violations of their right to a fair trial. The court-ordered punishments – terms of imprisonment – are clearly disproportionate to the public danger of their actions.
We demand the immediate release of Stanislav Andreev and Aleksei Shamardin and that all criminal charges against them be dropped.
Who are Andreev and Shamardin and why are they being prosecuted?
Stanislav Andreev and Aleksei Shamardin are well-known video bloggers in the Kuban. On their YouTube channels, ‘Inspector Andreev’ [Inspektor Andreev] and ‘Our Oversight’ [Nash Nadzor] they publish videos about corruption and violations of the law by public officials.
On 17 March 2021, criminal proceedings were initiated against Andreev and Shamardin for theft (Article 158, Part 2[a], of the Russian Criminal Code). The reason for this was a ‘raid’ [surprise inspection] that the bloggers conducted on 1 February 2019 during which they removed two ‘disabled parking’ signs from one of the parking lots in Timashevsk in Kuban. According to Andreev and Shamardin, the signs had been illegally installed.
In addition, a criminal case was opened against Andreev for insulting a representative of authority (Article 319 of the Russian Criminal Code). On 16 February 2019, Andreev called bailiffs, who were preventing him from attending a session of Krasnodar regional court, ‘spongers’ [darmoedy].
On 16 November 2022, Timashevsky district court sentenced both Andreev and Shamardin to two and a half years in a penal colony and ordered Andreev to pay a fine of 40,000 roubles for insulting law enforcement officers.
Why do we consider them political prisoners?
We consider that the actions of Andreev and Shamardin cannot be qualified as theft.
In February 2019, the two bloggers conducted a surprise inspection to detect traffic violations in Timashevsk. Subsequently, they told traffic police officers about the illegal installation of ‘disabled parking’ signs in one of the city’s parking lots. Traffic police inspectors then summoned officials from the Timashevsk city administration responsible for the location of traffic signs in the city. The officials said there had been no official decision to place the ‘disabled parking’ signs there, and they should be removed. With their permission and in their presence, Shamardin removed the signs and kept them as ‘trophies’ with the officials’ consent. In other words, it is impossible to qualify the bloggers’ actions as ‘secret theft committed by prior collusion.’
Moreover, the value of the ‘stolen’ signs is less than 2,500 roubles, the ceiling for criminal liability for theft.
Similarly, we consider the criminal prosecution of Andreev for insulting public officials completely disproportionate. The blogger, in response to the violation of the principle of openness of court proceedings, expressed the value judgment that the bailiffs were engaged in harmful activities, for which they receive a salary. The public danger of this act is negligible and does not attain the level of criminal liability.
Further information about this case and the position of the human rights project, ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ are available on our Telegram publishing platform.
An up-to-date list of political prisoners in Russia is 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.
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Translated by Rights in Russia