Archive for March 2009
I won RUR 10,000 (about $300) at Tverskoy District Court yesterday from the Russian government for my illegal 13-day detention at a Dissenters’ March last year. This is the first case when the state is obliged to pay a compensation to an opposition activist arrested at a rally. Of course, the amount is hillarious and I will surely submit an appeal, first to the Moscow City Court and then, if needed, to the European Court for Human Rights.
Yesterday, myself and two other activists of Oborona were arrested at a small action at the Moscow State University, my alma mater. We called students to participate in the Dissenters’ Day, which is planned for today. We had leaflets, a loudspeaker and a flag. The police arrested three of us and brought to the custody. Initially, they charged us with “a violation of the rules for conducting a public action,” which meant that we could be held in the custody for up to three hours and then be fined up to 1000 roubles (about $30).
While we were waiting for the police to prepare the documents, the maximum detention term expired. The police, however, didn’t want to let us go. One activist, Ilya Mischenko, managed to leave the police HQ unnoticed. They were upset and angry, blamed each other for this escape and feared sanctions from their bosses. By the way, leaving the police HQ before you are convicted by the court is not prohibited in Russian legislation.
I heard a phone call and s conversation of police officers that they’d received an order from somebody who they referred to as a “general”. They were told to detain my by any means for two days, so that I wouldn’t participate in the Dissenters’ Day (which I am an organizer of). After a short discussion, they decided to falsely charge me with “petty hooliganism,” an offence that allows them to hold a person for up to 48 hours before a trial and then to convict her to up to 15 days in jail. The police officers Mikhail Kotikov and Gennadiy Lemeshko wrote false reports that I had been swearing while conducting the action and a new charge was brought against me.
However, I was lucky enough to escape from the custody to the underground technical floor of the University and then outside and set myself free. I’ve been told later that the police were panicking, tried to search the huge building, failed to find me and were discussing who was going to be fired for the escape.
The second trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev started on Tuesday. Putin’s goal is apparent: Khodorkovsky must stay in prison forever… given that Putin himself stays in power forever, of course.
The court of law was surrounded by riot police and plainclothes operatives since early morning, you couldn’t even freely enter the block where the court is located. Of course, it had nothing to do with terrorism. What the police was afraid of is just a small peaceful demonstration of Khodorkovsky’s supporters. They brought flowers for him, chanted “Freedom!”—and were arrested for that.
Two activists of Oborona managed to put a 10-meter-long banner “Free Khodorkovsky!” on a roof of Bohdan Khmelnitsky bridge opposite to the court. They were arrested minutes later.