‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Daniil Seryogin from Simferopol is a political prisoner

14 November 2023

Daniil Seryogin has been sentenced to 18 months in a low-security penal colony for anti-war posts on Facebook

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’, in accordance with international standards, considers Daniil Seryogin a political prisoner. He has been convicted of repeated ‘discrediting’ of the army for social media posts, as well as for possessing drugs. The criminal prosecution of Seryogin violates his rights to freedom of expression and fair trial.

We demand the immediate release of Daniil Seryogin and that his conviction for an offence under an unlawful article of the Russian Criminal Code be quashed.

What is the case against Daniil Seryogin?

In April 2023, Daniil Seryogin, a resident of Crimea, was convicted under administrative law of ‘discrediting’ the Russian army (Article 20.3.3, Part 1, of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences) and fined 40,000 roubles for allegedly ‘shouting in public the phrase “NATO troops will soon enter Crimea”,’ and speaking ‘against the conducting of the special military operation carried out on the territory of Ukraine.’

In May 2023, he was also prosecuted under administrative law for the offences of disseminating information expressing disrespect for the state (Article 20.1, Part 3, of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences) and public demonstration of extremist symbols (Article 20.3, Part 1, of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences). At that time the Sova Research Centre called Seryogin’s prosecution unlawful.

On 9 August 2023, it became known that a criminal case had been opened against Seryogin for the offence of ‘repeated discrediting’ of the Russian army (Article 280.3, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code), and he was remanded in custody.

We do not know in connection with which online posts Seryogin was prosecuted. His Facebook page has many statements containing strong criticism of the actions of the Russian military and approval of the successes of the Ukrainian armed forces, as well as posts stating that Crimea is part of Ukraine.

During a search of Seryogin’s flat, law enforcement officers found marijuana, which served as grounds for opening a criminal case against him for possession of drugs (Article 228, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code).

On 20 September 2023, a court in Simferopol sentenced Daniil Seryogin to 18 months in a low security penal colony.

Why do we consider Daniil Seryogin a political prisoner?

Article 280.3 of the Russian Criminal Code was created as a tool to suppress dissent in Russia after the start of the full-scale war against Ukraine. It effectively prohibits any criticism of the war or of the Russian authorities, which is a violation of the right of citizens to freedom of expression.

Article 280.3 of the Russian Criminal Code contradicts fundamental principles of law and should be rescinded, and all related criminal cases closed. 

While it is not known for exactly which posts Seryogin has been subject to criminal prosecution, his conviction under Article 280.3 of the Russian Criminal Code indicates he has been prosecuted for criticising the war against Ukraine. Criticising the actions of the authorities and condemning the war is the inalienable right of every citizen.

According to international law, Crimea is Ukrainian territory currently under occupation. In line with the Geneva Convention, Ukrainian legislation should be applied on the territory of Crimea. In Ukraine there is no analogue to the article of the Russian Criminal Code on repeated ‘discrediting’ of the army; and Ukrainian law does not provide for imprisonment for possession of marijuana.

The danger to society of possession of marijuana is small, and in Seryogin’s case the use of this article of the Russian Criminal Code has been intended only to aggravate the charges against him.

A detailed description of the case of Daniil Seryogin 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 donate to support all political prisoners via our website.

Translated by Rights in Russia

Leave a Reply