Ex Russian Dissident Bukovsky Charged Over Indecent Images in Britain

Former Russian dissident Vladimir Bukovsky

Soviet dissident and writer Vladimir Bukovsky will appear in court next month in Britain to face 11 charges relating to indecent images of children, prosecutors said on Monday.

Bukovsky, 72, was a leading opponent of the former Soviet Union's use of psychiatric treatment to silence political prisoners and moved to the British university city of Cambridge after a 1976 prisoner exchange deal between Moscow and Washington. He continued his political activity in Russia after the fall of communism and made a bid for the presidency in 2008.

Britain's Crown Prosecution Service said Bukovsky was charged with five counts of making indecent images of children, five of possession of indecent images of children and one of possession of a prohibited image.

"Following an investigation by Cambridgeshire police, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to prosecute Vladimir Bukovsky," it added in a statement.

Bukovsky was one of the founders of the dissident movement in the Soviet Union and spent 12 years in Soviet prison camps and psychiatric institutions in the 1960s and 1970s. He smuggled out evidence of the use of psychiatric treatment against political prisoners to the West in 1970.

In 1976, Bukovsky was exchanged for former Chilean Communist leader Luis Corvalan in Switzerland in accordance with a deal between the United States and the Soviet Union.

While he did not move back to Russia after the fall of communism, he remained politically active and his name was floated as a possible running mate for Boris Yeltsin in 1991. Bukovsky was nominated to run for president in 2008 against now-Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Bukovsky has been critical of President Vladimir Putin and the direction Russia has taken under his rule. "The situation is changing there, and Soviet times are returning," he told RFE/RL earlier this year.

He is set to appear before Cambridgeshire magistrates on May 5.

(Reuters, MT)

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