Demand Release Of Detained Russian Protesters

Moscow_Sep_2008_-_10

Target: Alexander Bastrykin, Chairman of Russian Investigative Committee

Goal: Release group of Russian anti-government protesters

A group of 16 Russian anti-government protesters have been held in custody for months after participating in a legal rally. Of those protesters, 12 have been charged with mass disorder and police assault, and are awaiting trial where they could receive as much as ten years in prison if convicted.

The recent reelection of President Putin has led to an increase of arrests and convictions for those speaking out against the government.  For example, the three women of the punk collective, Pussy Riot, were sentenced to two years in prison after performing an anti-Putin song at a Moscow church.

Also, the rally that took place during Putin’s inauguration devolved into a riot when protestors broke the police line to bring their call directly to the Kremlin. Reportedly, 30 police officers and dozens of civilians were injured, leading to 400 arrests.

The Russian Investigative Committee is pursuing the case against the 16 protestors still in custody, but it appears that the investigation is targeted at those who oppose the government rather than their behavior at the rally. Two of the defendants were arrested months after the protest occurred, during searches in advance of a planned second protest. Given the nature of the alleged crimes and the extreme length of imprisonment the sentencing could lead to, ask the Russian Investigative Committee to show leniency and release the detainees.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chairman Bastrykin,

Sixteen protesters have been in custody for several months following a legal protest of the current government during Putin’s inauguration. Some of the protesters had no previous activist affiliations and those who have were arrested months after the protest occurred, an act which seems to be targeting their beliefs rather than their actions.

The Russian Investigative Committee is currently detaining these protesters for mass disorder and police assault which carry a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, an excessive amount especially if applied against those who had no hand organizing the protest. I ask that these protesters be released at this time to avoid a continuation of oppression of beliefs and prevent an undue and lengthy incarceration

Sincerely,
[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via Flickr

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