Team 29: 🏆 Celebrating our warriors

31 May 2021

Hi, it’s Dmitry Zair-Bek from Team 29

Our weekly newsletter is a little late. We decided to put it out today, and for good reason: 31 May is Russian Advocacy Day. My warmest congratulations to all involved! Within Team 29, we’re honouring our superb lawyer-colleagues Ivan Pavlov, Evgeny Smirnov, Anton Golubev, and Valery Vetoshkin. They’re our warriors, and I’ve huge admiration for them.❤️

Appeal against the arrest of Ivan Safronov

Moscow City Court has considered an appeal against the latest extension to the detention of our client, journalist Ivan Safronov. The detention itself was upheld. However, the hearing stands out for more than just that:

🔻 Vanya’s sister wasn’t allowed into the courtroom;

🔻 For the first time, the FSB investigator, Chaban, whom Ivan Pavlov believes to have instigated the case against him, was a no show;

🔻 We spotted an official from TsPE [the Centre for Combating Extremism] outside the courthouse; and

🔻 Safronov was led in without an FSB escort.

Now, we’re just guessing here, everyone, but what could the failure of Mr Chaban to appear at the hearing mean? That some more important cases turned up, or that he was afraid to look Ivan Pavlov in the eye?

Findings in relation to Arseny Vesnin handed over to the SK [Investigative Committee]

Several months ago, Ekho Moskvy journalist Arseny Vesnin reported that police officers in St Petersburg had eaten burgers that some activists had brought along for detainees at a rally. In response, security officials opened a libel investigation. Several days ago, we learned that the findings of this review had been handed over to the Investigative Committee.

The thing is, though, that the SK doesn’t handle libel cases. The worry is that the journalist may be charged with something much more serious. We are representing Arseny’s interests in this case and will be following events closely.

Preliminary inquiry into the case of Margarita Yudina underway

At the January protest, a policeman kicked 55-year-old Margarita Yudina in the stomach. She fell, hitting her head and suffering a concussion and closed head trauma. An investigation into Yudina’s case has begun but, by the looks of it, as usual, the police have no intention of finding a culprit. The investigator has already questioned several people who were standing nearby when the kicking incident happened and saw everything, and has obtained CCTV footage. Not long ago, it was acknowledged in the expert medical analysis that Margarita’s health had been damaged. The truth is out there: we just need to find that police officer, Kolya, who allegedly kicked Margarita. 

Look, listen and read

❗️Attention! The links to all content can be found at the end of this message

📺 Making an appearance on the Komanda [Team] YouTube project was Anna Rivina of the [No To Violence] Centre. Alisa Taezhnaya spoke to her about feminism, domestic violence, family relationships and useful(-less) state deputies. The Centre is having a tough time. Not long ago, it was entered in the Foreign Agents’ register, a decision that our colleagues are strenuously challenging. We believe they’ll succeed!

🔉 The draft law on ‘accidental’ corruption is addressed on the Precedent of Russia podcast. In the new episode, we explore with our senior lawyer, Darya Sukhikh, and the Director of Transparency International in Russia, Ilya Shumanov, whether state deputies are planning to legalise corruption and how this law will work in practice if passed.

📖 Team 29 is to publish its first major feature bringing together all the convictions we know of that were made under the articles on treason and espionage from 1997 to 2020. The punishments for such offences are harsh – up to 20 years in a prison camp. In a single infographic, we’ve gathered information on terms, reviews of sentences, and pardons. See our website for more details.

We have lots of interesting things coming up next week. The biggest one, in my view, is the advent of summer. I just love it, as I do my best working and sleeping in the summer. We’ll be in touch soon.

Happy Advocacy Day!

Dmitry and Team 29 

Translated by Lindsay Munford

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