Oborona Demands Freedom for Political Prisoners
As reported on Oborona‘s website, on May 31, Oborona activists took part in a demonstration in support of political prisoners, timed to the third anniversary of the sentencing of ex-Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky. I’m shown above speaking to reporters at the event. The banner reads: “FREEDOM FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS!”
It was attended by about one hundred people — twice the limit of the permit. Police threatened to arrest all those in excess of the allowed number of 50 participants. We notified the police that this is not a proper basis for arrest as there is no such provision in the criminal code. They maintained the threat but took no action.
Joining in the demonstration were the leader of the movement “For Human Rights” Lev Ponomarev and journalist and poet Marietta Chudakova. Various opposition groups joined Oborona in calling for the immediate release of all political prisoners.
The organizers believe the sentencing of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev constitutes a “link in the chain of attacks on Russian freedom, democracy, and on the principle of independent justice.” The participants expressed support for “all who are persecuted because of their beliefs, and for the right to be a free people in a free country.”