Political Prisoners. Memorial: Kirill Martiushev, a student from Tiumen, is a political prisoner

6 May 2023

Kiriill Martiushev was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of inciting extremism for a one-minute video message he posted on Telegram

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’ considers Kirill Martiushev a political prisoner in accordance with international standards. His prosecution for inciting extremism violates his rights to freedom of expression and to evaluate and criticise the actions of the authorities and state agencies, and is aimed at suppressing the anti-war movement.

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

Who is Kirill Martiushev and what is the case against him?

Kirill Martiushev, a student from Tiumen, was found guilty of inciting extremism under Article 280, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code. On 24 February 2022, after being detained at an anti-war protest, Martiushev posted a one-minute video message in an open Telegram group he created in which he articulated his emotional and expressly personal opinion that police officers who dispersed peaceful protesters could be given the death penalty by electrocution.

According to the court, in this way Martiushev publicly incited  extremist activity using the Internet.

At the time the criminal case was initiated, 40 Internet users had viewed the 58-second recording.

On 5 March 2022 Kirill Martiushev was detained and remanded in custody.

On 30 January 2023 the Central district court in Tiumen sentenced him to three years in a general-regime penal colony.

Why do we consider Kirill Martiushev a political prisoner?

Kirill Martiushev denies any intention to execute police officers. Capital punishment by electrocution has never been used in Russia, and it is used in other countries only by order of a court. Even assuming that Martiushev actually called for police officers to be executed in this way, such statements cannot be considered to be incitement of extrajudicial killings of police officers, but only for them to be put on trial.

The phrase ‘in my opinion’ used by Martiushev indicates he was expressing a personal opinion, not an appeal to others to take certain actions. The defendant himself said as much in his final statement at his trial, affirming that he did not wish anyone harm, and that he was being punished by a system unwilling to accept criticism.

It is important to note that Martiushev posted his video message on the day Russian armed forces began the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, as a result of which he felt a sense of outrage. He immediately created an anti-war group online, prepared anti-war leaflets and held a single-person anti-war protest with a placard. Martiushev observed the arrest of other participants in the protests, and was then detained himself. 

We believe Martiushev’s criminal prosecution is politically motivated and intended to force an end to criticism of the state authorities and enhance the government’s tenure of power. The punishment handed down to Martiushev is clearly disproportionate to the actual acts for which he was found guilty and to the danger they represented to society.

Further information about this case and the position of the ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’ human rights project is available on our website.

An up-to-date list of political prisoners in Russia is also 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 to Kirill Martiushev at the following address:

In Russian: 625000,  г. Тюмень, ул. Ялуторовская, д. 42, стр. 2, СИЗО-1 УФСИН России по Тюменской области, Мартюшеву Кириллу Игоревичу, 1999 г. р.

In English: Kirill Igorevich Martiushev (born 1999), Remand Prison No. 1, Russian Federal Penitentiary Service for Tiumen region, 42 (building 2), Yalutorovskaya Street, Tiumen, 625000, Russia.

You can also send an electronic letter via FederalPenitentiaryService-Letter.

You can donate to support all political prisoners via the PayPal (helppoliticalprisoners@gmail.com) or YooMoney accounts of the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners. For more information about donating, see our website.

Translated by Rights in Russia

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