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Activist Arrested Over Putin Spokesman ‘Execution’ Video

Karim Yamadayev faces up to seven years in prison over the video showing a mock execution of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and oil baron Igor Sechin. Screenshot Youtube / Judge Gram

An opposition activist in Russia’s republic of Tatarstan has been placed under arrest for a YouTube video showing a mock trial and “execution” of senior Russian figures, the Mediazona news website reported.

Karim Yamadayev’s controversial video depicts him playing a judge and sentencing two stand-ins, who wear signs reading the names of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and oil baron Igor Sechin, to an off-camera execution. A third actor wearing a “Vladimir Putin” sign and a black bag over his head appears throughout the six-minute video.

A Naberezhnye Chelny court ruled to place Yamadayev in pre-trial custody until Feb. 29 on charges of calling for terrorist activity online, Mediazona reported Saturday. 

If found guilty, Yamadayev could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

The controversial video opens with a disclaimer that its authors “do not intend to incite hatred” and claims that any similarities to real persons are coincidental.

Police summoned Yamadayev for questioning on New Year’s Eve and seized his computer equipment during searches at his apartment earlier this year, according to media reports. The apartment searches were carried out as part of a criminal case into insulting a government official, the reports indicated.

“The investigation qualified one video as two criminal counts,” his lawyer Pavel Terentyev told the Meduza news website.

Yamadayev was among the first activists to be jailed for 28 days last year for installing a mock gravestone of President Vladimir Putin in the activist’s native town of Naberezhnye Chelny. Similar gravestones have since appeared across Russia.

Meanwhile, a Tatarstan court fined another activist 10,000 rubles ($160) for social media videos targeting Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Peskov, Sechin and Putin, human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov wrote Monday. 

That judgment cited experts who concluded that one of the videos “incites hatred toward persons belonging to a social group of government authorities — D.Medvedev, V.Putin, D. Peskov, I.Sechin.”

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