Target: President Vladimir Putin
Goal: Grant bail and adequate treatment for detained protesters in Russia
Protesters who demonstrated before the inaugeration of President Vladamir Putin have been detained by Russia authorities. Some of these protesters have been released with bail and others are under house arrest. Unfortunately there are nine protesters who haven’t received bail or adequate medical treatment and have spent more than a year in prison for simply protesting.
The demonstration itself was marred with scattered clashes between protesters and police. Both parties experienced some sort of violence. The twelve defendants that are on trial are charged with mass rioting, which is a severe infringement on their human rights. Several cases from the defendants have been recorded through letters sent to their lawyers. One defendant, Vladimir Akimenkov claims that he was struck by a prison guard; his lawyer does not know what prompted the assault. When Akimenkov told the judge about the attack at his hearing, she cut him off and when he persisted, she threatened to expel him from the courts.
Akimenkov has also not received adequate treatment for his resulting damaged optic nerve. When doctors finally examined him – three months after his arrest – they found that his sight had significantly worsened. Another defendant by the name of Sergey Krivov wrote to his lawyer that he was subjected to a humiliating body search by the prison guards in the courthouse hallway. Krivov was forced to take off of his clothes and squat. When he reufsed, the prison guards hit him and he was forced to stand in the hallway in front of eight guards. Again, there was no reason for the body search.
There are other defendants who have suffered wounds or been denied medical treatment. Many have been silenced by the police, the prison guards, and judges when they tried to tell their side of the story. Russian authorities claim that these defendants have been given bails because they are considered a threat to society, a flight risk, or because their release would hinder investigations into the mass riots.
The mere act of sending these defendants to prison because they protested is a violation of human rights. Evidence suggesting that these protesters harmed the police are sketchy and extremely vague; testimonies that said a police officer was attacked with an unknown object somehow turned into an object after various hearings. These protesters deserve adequate treatment for their injuries and medical conditions, and they certainly deserve to have a bail posted.
Dear President Vladimir Putin,
I am writing this letter to express my concern about the nine defendants who are being held in prison because they participated in a mass riot before your inaugeration. Many of these defendants have been charged with simply participating in the riot. Some have been charged with hurting a police officer, but some of the police’s testimonies have been contradicting and vague. Your citizens should not be placed in jail if they are protesting; the right to protest is a human right. By treating them this way you are telling your citizens that they are not human beings. I have also heard that these defendants are not receiving adequate treatment for their injuries or medical condition. Some of these injuries came from the protest itself or from the guards or cells they now live in. This is despiciable.
I am asking that you post a reasonable bail for these defendants, and I am also asking that they get their medical treatment. Many of these defendants have suffered at the hands of both the police and their prison guards. Surely you wouldn’t want to add to their suffering.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bogomolov via Wikimedia