‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Andrei Boyarshinov from Kazan is a political prisoner

4 October 2023

Andrei Boyarshinov is being prosecuted for inciting terrorism after discussing anti-war protests on Telegram

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’, in accordance with international standards, considers Andrei Boyarshinov a political prisoner. Boyarshinov is being prosecuted for inciting and justifying terrorism for posts made on the Telegram social media site. Boyarshinov’s criminal prosecution violates his rights to freedom of expression and fair trial and is intended to silence the voices of those in Russia critical of the authorities.

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

Who is Andrei Boyarshinov and what is the background to his case?

Andrei Boyarshinov, who has a PhD in biology, is a civic activist from Kazan.

On 17 March 2022, a series of searches took place of the homes of a number of civic activists in Kazan, including that of Andrei Boyarshinov. During the search, law enforcement officers seized Boyarshinov’s laptop and mobile phone. They also used threats and violence to gain access to Boyarshinov’s correspondence on his Telegram account.

The Investigative Committee considers that three posts on the ‘Protest Kazan’ Telegram channel, that discuss protests against Russia’s war against Ukraine, constitute justification of terrorism. The posts were published in the name of an administrator of the channel. According to the FSB, their author was Andrei Boyarshinov.

As a result, a criminal case was opened against Boyarshinov for justification and incitement of terrorism (Article 205.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code), and he was remanded in custody.

Boyarshinov does not deny he was one of the channel’s administrators, but claims he did not publish the posts imputed to him and says any administrator of the channel could have made the posts.

Why do we consider Boyarshinov a political prisoner?

We consider there are no grounds to believe Boyarshinov is the author of the publications imputed to him.

Regardless of the authorship, in our opinion, there is no evidence of a crime in these texts. The forensic examination, which formed the basis of the indictment, was poorly carried out and has a clear bias in favour of the prosecution. In his conclusions, the linguist who conducted the examination gives a legal assessment of the publications for which he lacks the necessary qualifications.

We categorically disagree with this forensic assessment and believe the authors of the publications were exercising their right to freedom of expression, while the texts in question present no danger to the public.

A detailed description of the case and the position of the Human Rights Project are set out 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 Andrei Boyarshinov at the following address:

In Russian: 443022, Самарская область, г. Самара, Садовый пр., 22, ФКУ СИЗО-1 УФСИН России по Самарской области, Бояршинову Андрею Владимировичу, 1984 г. р.

In English: Andrei Vladimirovich Boyarshinov (born 1984), Remand Prison No. 1, Russian Federal Penitentiary Service for Samara region, 22 Sadovy Prospekt, Samara, Samara region, 443022, Russia.

You can also send an electronic letter using either Zonatelekom or Rosuznik.

Further information about the case of Andrei Boyarshinov is available on Telegram.

Information about making donations to support all political prisoners can be found on our website.

Translated by Rights in Russia

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