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Not All Bolotnaya Defendants Walk Free Under Amnesty

A suspect in the so-called Bolotnoye case has pleaded guilty to participating in "riots" during opposition protests last year, prosecutors said, but his prior criminal record makes it unlikely that he will go free under the ongoing presidential amnesty.

The plea by Dmitry Altaichikov, 22, which came on the heels of an amnesty for four other Bolotnoye suspects, seemed to surprise the Russian media and lawyers, because his name had not previously appeared in the public records of the case.

"It's possible that there are several more 'secret prisoners' like this," one of the defense lawyers in the Bolotnoye case, Sergei Badamshin, said, Radio Liberty reported. "Though it is strange that neither the pre-trial detention facilities nor that certain crowd have heard about Altaichikov."

"Apparently, the man himself wasn't interested in notifying the media or the public about being one of the suspects in the Bolotnoye case," Badamshin said.

Prosecutors have forwarded Altaichikov's case to the Zamoskvoretsky court in Moscow, the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement on Monday. The "repeat offender" is accused of taking part in anti-government "riots" during the opposition protest on Bolotnaya Square in May, 2012, the statement said.

"Acting with premeditation, with the goal of inflicting violence, he threw plastic bottles filled with water at law enforcement officers who were in the first line of the cordon," the statement said.

Altaichikov has two previous convictions for stealing a computer from his mother and for insulting a police officer, but he got off with a fine and community service both times, radio Ekho Moskvy reported on Tuesday.

The prior criminal record and the accusation of violence make it unlikely that Altaichikov would be covered by the presidential amnesty, passed this month, because it only applies to first-time offenders who have not committed violent crimes.

Last week, the Zamoskvoretsky court released on amnesty four defendants in the Bolotnoye case. The eight other defendants who had been publicly named in the high-profile case did not meet the amnesty requirements, because their charges include physical violence against police officers.

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