Human Rights Weekly Report September 15
September 15, 2017
Hello everyone and a big thank you to you all! You helped us to gather enough funds to help the Tomsk pensioners, who were being hounded by the authorities for daring to speak out about corruption publicly.
Many of our cases are still ongoing and have not yet come to and end, but check out what we’ve been up to this week. Remember, the Human Rights Team runs exclusively on donations, so if you’d like to get involved in helping people facing political repression in Russia, you can make a donation here.
Basmanny Court Extends Schoolboy Galyashkin’s Arrest
The Moscow Basmanny District Court has granted the investigator’s request and extended the house arrest of 17-year-old Mikhail Galyashkin, who was accused of assaulting a policeman during a demonstration on June 12 by spraying an OMON officer with pepper spray. The arrest will remain in place until October 12. Galyashkin is forbidden to leave his house unless it is to go to an educational institution, to have contact with anyone apart from close relatives and his defence and is forbidden access to the internet.
The Moscow Basmanny District Court has granted the investigator’s request and extended the house arrest of the 17-year-old Mikhail Galyashkin, who was accused of assaulting a policeman during a demonstration on June 12. The arrest will remain in place until October 12.
Open Russia lawyer Sergei Badamshin, who is representing the interests of Galyashkin, insisted that house arrest is an excessive measure for the minor. He has been accused for the first time of a crime of average severity. Badamshin also noted that during the investigation his client had never tried to hide or interfere with the investigation. Badamshin asked not to satisfy the motion and release his client under a written agreement for him not to leave the city of residence.
Judge Nikolaeva granted the investigators’ request and extended the house arrest until 12 October.
Sergei Badamshin says, “The investigation is practically completed, all the evidence is set, Galyashkin can’t influence anyone, especially not the investigation.”
On September 5, the Moscow City Court had already declined Badamshin’s appeal and left Galyashkin under house arrest.
Mikhail Galyashkin was detained during an anti-corruption demonstration on Tverskaya Street on June 12. Soon he was charged with attacking an officer of the National Guard. Galyashkin himself has not pleaded guilty.
Galyashkin has been under house arrest since June 16. According to the conditions of the detention, he is forbidden to: go outside his home except to educational institutions, communicate with outsiders except with his legal defence and close relatives, and he is forbidden from using the Internet.
Witness in Mironov Meme Case is an Alcoholic Close to FSB
According to the investigation, one of the witnesses accidentally found Mironov’s posts on social media, but at the trial he confessed that he did not know what “VKontakte” was and even how to “turn on” the Internet. He also talked about forty years of alcohol experience and close ties with an FSB officer, whom he calls his mentor. Furthermore, as evidence of his sanity, the witness then recalled the multiplication table and sang Alexander Perevozchikov’s song “I was a battalion scout” while confusing all the words. However, the testimony of the witness did not sway the judge.
In Cheboksar Alexei Mironov’s case, who was an Alexey Navalny volunteer, is still ongoing. Mironov is being charged by two articles of the Criminal Code for posts on the social network “Vkontakte”, which he removed over a year ago. He is being prosecuted for “Public calls for extremist activities” and “Raising hatred or enmity”.
Four people came forward as key witnesses to Mironov’s “crime”: a member of the federal penitentiary service who did not appear in court, two FSB officers and a 67-year-old resident of Cheboksar, Stepan (name changed), who in his own words has been an alcoholic for forty years.
Lawyer Yury Ivanov, who is representing Mironov at the request of the Open Russia human rights team, notes that the witness from the federal penitentiary service and Stepan, according to the investigation, were the ones to have accidentally found Mironov’s “VKontakte” records and interpreted one of them as a call to overthrow the current government in Russia, upon which the case is based. Previously they gave the same testimony. However at court Stepan spoke about his friend from the FSB who called the criminal case “educational work” and contrary to a previously signed testimony confessed that he does not know what VKontakte is and how to even “turn on” the Internet. Open Russia has provided some of Stepan’s speech:
“I immediately went and reported it to FSB”
The prosecutor asked Stepan about the emotions that the posts on the personal page of the accused Mironov roused in him.
-How did you interpret the information you saw?
– At first aggressively, because I cannot stand when people start criticising my own country, about Putin, about this, about that…. Was he doing it for money? I went to the FSS straight away and told them. So educate the guy and put him back in his place.
Lawyer Ivanov tried to learn more about the relationship between Stepan and the FSB officers:
– You talked to the FSB about this, were you already in contact?
– Yes yes, I called them and talked to them. I said guys, just take this guy you must have at least some information on him. Because a lot of interesting things happen in life. .. It was somewhere in the middle of that year. The year passed. They simply got hold of me, they said, Stepa, where did you get this? I say: “take a computer, do you not check the computer?” I saw everything, I passed the information. There’s Putin, there’s Islamists, there’s nationalists.
Furthermore, the lawyer asked about the place where Stepan learned about the pictures. The witness said that it happened in a cafe in front of the house, where his drinking companions usually gather.
It became evident from the questioning that Stepan did not even know how to switch on the internet and use it. A fact that is contradictory to what Stepan was saying earlier in the investigation in July where it was stated that he frequently uses the internet on a smartphone, has conversations on the social network “Vkontakte” and that he did this with the Mcdonald’s wifi. Later Stepan said to our lawyer that his smartphone since then has been stolen. Furthermore, Stepan went on to say that he has actually been an alcoholic for the past 40 years.
Lawyer Ivanov did not find Stepan’s account convincing and put forward a motion to find the page of the witness, but the judge rejected him and said that the witness may not be under his own name and this procedure is not relevant.
Participant of June 12 Rasim Iskakov Given 2.5 Year Prison Sentence
At the trial, Iskakov said that he did not intend to cause any harm to the policemen and ended up at the demonstration by accident. He has no previous convictions and in addition, the accused has dependents: a disabled mother and two younger sisters, for whose education he also pays. Iskakov will spend 2 years and 6 months in a prison colony for a minor assault on an OMON officer and a policeman. Open Russia lawyer Kaloy Akhilgov is representing Iskakov’s defence and has appealed the verdict.
The judge of the Tverskaya District Court of Moscow, Maria Sizintseva, sentenced Rasim Iskakov to 2 years and 6 months of imprisonment for a minor assault against one riot policeman and a regular policeman. In court Isakov’s interests were represented by “Open Russia’s” lawyer, Kaloy Akhilgov. The verdict will be appealed.
At the hearing, Judge Sizintseva took in to account the Iskakov’s positive characteristics; he has no criminal record and also has dependents; his disabled mother and two younger sisters, for whose education he pays. He pleaded guilty, and in the courtroom repented of the deed and said that he did not do it intentionally.
Prosecutor, Larisa Sergunyaeva, requested 3 years in a prison colony for Rasim Iskakov. Our lawyer, Kaloy Akhilgov, asked for Iskakov’s punishment to be less severe.
In court, Akhilgov said that “the goal of punishment is first and foremost the correction of the individual. Iskakov fully confessed and repented. I do not think that punishment in the form of 3 years of imprisonment will better him as a person. He’s been in jail for 3 months already. ”
Iskakov himself said in his last words: “I happened to be at the demonstration accidentally, I did not go there purposefully. Curiosity lead me. As for the police employees, I did not intend to cause any harm.”
Rasim Iskakov was found guilty of two accounts of using violence that was not life-threatening, against an officer of OMON Posagennikov and police officer Dikarev at an anti-corruption demonstration in Moscow on June 12. On June 29, after the OMON soldier wrote a statement to the police, the court authorized Iskakov’s arrest.
On August 23, Iskakov was issued a final version of his charges. Initially, the investigation planned to implement three accounts of violence against the OMON policemen, as well as hooliganism, but after the work of lawyer Akhilgov on the case, one account and article were excluded. As a result, only two accounts remained in the case, to which Iskakov admitted his guilt.
Iskakov was born in 1988. He served in the army from 2006 to 2009 in artillery and infantry battalions. He moved to Moscow from Dagestan about ten years ago. Iskakov rented an apartment, did temporary work and was looking for a permanent job. He also helps with the education of his younger sisters.