Nine men have been placed in pre-trial detention while one is wanted on suspicion of taking part in “mass unrest” by protesting in support of opposition candidates barred from running in Moscow’s local elections.
Police detained more than 2,000 people overall during protests on July 27 and Aug. 3 in central Moscow, using violence in several cases, while courts have ordered the arrests of more than 100 people over the protests.
Authorities opened criminal proceedings over the July 27 protest, saying it had identified 10 key suspects in what it said was mass civil unrest that day.
The charges of participating in mass civil unrest, which all nine of those detained have denied, carry a maximum prison sentence of eight years.
The “mass unrest” case has prompted Russia’s independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper to launch a petition urging the authorities to put an end to what it called “political terror.” President Vladimir Putin’s human rights council has pledged to ask prosecutors, investigators, the National Guard and police to look into the July 27 and Aug. 3 crackdowns that took place.
Here’s a brief overview of the suspects who have been placed in pre-trial detention until Sept. 27 as protesters plan to take to the streets again this Saturday:
— Yegor Zhukov, 22, a student at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (HSE) and popular YouTube blogger. Arguably the most high-profile defendant in the “mass unrest” case, with fellow students staging single-person pickets in his support outside the Moscow police headquarters.
— Alexei Minyaylo, 34, an associate of rejected opposition candidate Lyubov Sobol’s campaign. Maintains he had not taken part in the July 27 protests, saying “law enforcement officers detained me before I got there.”
— Samariddin Radzhabov, 21, the youngest “mass unrest” suspect, accused of throwing a plastic bottle at a police officer.
— Kirill Zhukov, 28, accused of lifting a police helmet visor.
— Yevgeny Kovalenko, 48, accused of throwing a trash can at a riot police officer.
— Sergei Abanichev, 25, accused of throwing a paper cup at a police officer.
— Vladislav Barabanov, 22, declared in court that the case is politically motivated and said “If I start incriminating myself, know that I’ve been tortured.”
— Daniil Konon, 22, accused of “paralyzing traffic” in central Moscow and using violence against authorities alongside other unidentified protesters.
— Sergei Fomin, 36, the 10th suspect, is wanted by the authorities.