Beatings and fines

For the right to freedom of assembly on 12 June

<< No. 24 (257), 19 June 2017 >>

ovdinfoThis week people were detained all over Russia in connection with the anti-corruption protests on Monday, 12 June. Many have already appeared in court.

We are still adding to our detailed report, “From Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, at least 1,720 people were arrested” [R], which gives the numbers detained in different Russian cities. The links in the text below contain some dramatic film and photos. All the news items are in Russian, however. That’s why, together with OPEN DEMOCRACY, we are producing a weekly summary every Friday in English.

Moscow and St Petersburg

In Moscow, we know that 866 people were detained and taken to 41 police stations. At least 32 people were held overnight at 11 police stations.

In St Petersburg, according to our preliminary data, at least 658 people were detained (they were taken to 34 police stations), and 247 were held overnight​.

The Russian police acted crudely and harshly: detainees were beaten; in police stations people were humiliated and held in inhuman conditions. In Moscow, activist Yulia Galyamina and her husband were beaten. She is in hospital. According to the Joint Public Monitoring Group, police officers struck people’s heads against the sides of police wagons and hit their legs with batons. You can see here you can see how a police officer intentionally strikes a detainee, already on the ground, on the head.

In St Petersburg, in Police Station No. 15 a detainee was forced to undress to his underpants, while in Police Station No. 24 detainees were beaten (and one detainee was held in a cold and damp cellar). In Moscow’s Alekseevsky police station three people spent the night on the street – there was no room for them in the police station itself. This is only a short list of such violations. In the near future we’ll publish a detailed report.

Investigation and prosecution

After Monday’s rally, the Investigative Committee has opened two criminal cases against teenagers. In Moscow, a 17-year-old high school student has been charged with using force against a police officer. According to the investigators, he released pepper spray from a cannister during the rally as result of which a police officer received chemical burns to the eye.

On 14 June in St Petersburg police officers from the Anti-Extremism Centre detained a high school student. He is accused of allegedly assaulting a police officer, striking him with his fist. However, in one of the videos from the rally it can be seen that the teenager most probably simply fell against the police officer.

In St Petersburg, demonstrators are being unlawfully prosecuted in courts all over the city, and not in the court of the district where they were detained. On Tuesday morning, 13 June, riot police blocked the entrance to the Dzerzhinsky district court where hearings of detainees’ cases were in progress. Human rights defender Dinar Idrisov, who was defending the activists, was twice detained outside the court and was sentenced to 14 days in jail. During the protests themselves, members of the Human Rights Council were being held in a police van.

At least 350 court hearings have already been held in St Petersburg. More than 100 people have been sentenced to terms in jail for periods of from one to 15 days. The rest have been fined sums of between 3,000 (£40) and 15,000 roubles (£200).

In Moscow things are not so tough: so far we know of 11 people who have been jailed (although Alexei Navalny has been given a 30 day detention sentence), while the main body of court cases is yet to be heard.

What we’re reading and watching 

Jointly with the Meduza news website we have released a map of all the anti-corruption protests that took place on 12 June. This map shows everything we know as of now: where and how people protested and how the protests ended. We continue to gather and check information, and you can help us in this.

Together with the Kommersant newspaper, we have shown how rallies and pickets are banned in various regions. Or more exactly, we have made an “Index of Legislative Regulation of Rallies”.


It’s been a bad week for everyone, and very difficult for us.
A great deal of work remains to be done. You can help us keep going.

(Russian original – OVD-Info)
OpenDemocracy continues its partnership with OVD-Info, an NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday, we bring you the latest information on freedom of assembly.