Moscow – A Russian court has reduced to two years in prison for an activist convicted of “thugs” for sticking a dummy image of President Vladimir Putin on a light pole. The incident has been seen by many as another example of the Russian government’s bending the laws to silence criticism.
Russians Alexander Shabarchin and Danila Vasilyev were arrested in 2018 after they stuck a dummy, Putin mask and striped prison jumpsuit, onto a lamppost in Perm city. On the dummy’s forehead, activists write “liars,” and they put up a sign that says “war criminals”;. They then recorded the reaction of passersby and uploaded the video to YouTube.
Shabarchin, 22, was sentenced to two years in prison in August. Vasilyev received a year of suspended imprisonment.
Following the appeal, the Perm regional court on Thursday reduced the Shabarchin penalty to two years of suspended imprisonment, court spokesman Alyona Popova told French news agency AFP. He was released from prison the same day. Vasilyev’s punishment hasn’t changed, but he is never jailed.
The famous Russian human rights group Memorial described Shabarchin as a “political prisoner”. London-based Amnesty International called him a “prisoner of conscience” and demanded his immediate release last month, saying that charges against both activists should be completely abolished.
Natalia Prilutskaya, Amnesty International Russia researcher, said in a statement posted online by the organization late last year the stunt “was within the scope of freedom of expression that Russia had. is committed to being a party to international human rights treaties “. month.
Putin’s government has a long history of using laws and courts to silence dissidents, imprisoning everyone from political opposition leaders for organizing protests. moderate love, up to ordinary citizensThat doesn’t match the government’s story.
When the court ruling was taken in Perm, another activist was arrested in Moscow on Thursday night for staging a dramatic street art protest in solidarity with the “main prisoners. rule of the country. He was sold naked on a large cross near the headquarters of the Russian Federal Security Agency (FSB).
The activist, identified as Pavel Krisevich, was tied to a cross by raincoat activists labeled “FSB”, who used harmless burning liquid on the sidewalk in front of the house. the nail is constructed with a harmless flammable liquid at low temperature. They threw papers, symbolizing criminal cases, into the fire.
On Friday, Krisevich was sentenced to 15 days in prison for not obeying police orders.
The protests draw attention to the work of the FSB, which has often been criticized for opening politically colored investigations to put pressure on dissidents.