Russian Anti-Fascists Imprisoned. Defend our Comrades!

Andrew Coates reports at Tendance Coatesy:

You can support the “network” case defendants by sending them solidarity messages, donating to the support campaign, and spreading the word about the case.

See the Rupression site for details

The BBC reports: Russia jails members of ‘non-existent’ terror group Set

Seven Russian anarchists and anti-fascist activists have been handed lengthy jail terms on terror charges.

A court in the city of Penza sentenced the men – said to be part of a group known as Set, meaning Network – to between six and 18 years in penal colonies.

Russian authorities say they were plotting to overthrow the government.

But rights groups and lawyers say the charges were fabricated, and the men were tortured into confessing.

Prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny described the sentences as “horrific” in a tweet, and called the Set group a “fictitious terrorist organisation”.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly said he was aware of the case and had ordered authorities “to make sure everything is in line with the law”, but would not intervene.

The Guardian says:

Rights activists criticise trial, saying members of the Network were tortured.

A Russian court has issued harsh sentences to seven antifascist and anarchist activists in a controversial domestic terrorism case marred by claims that investigators tortured the defendants to elicit confessions.

The court in Penza, a city about 390 miles (630km) south-east of Moscow, sentenced the men to terms of six to 18 years in penal colonies for allegedly forming an organisation called Set, which translates as the Network, which prosecutors said planned to carry out future attacks inside Russia to overthrow the government. The men were also charged with an assortment of weapons and drugs charges.

Influential human rights groups have called the case fabricated and said the men may have been targeted for their political activism. Four of the men on trial said they had been tortured with beatings and electrocution during the investigation. In December, Memorial human rights centre, one of Russia’s oldest civil rights organisations, had called for the charges to be dropped.

The left blog People and Nature reports:

Russia: “network” case anti-fascists jailed for 6 to 18 years

A military court yesterday convicted seven Russian anti-fascists of trumped-up charges in the “network” case, and sentenced them to between six and 18 years imprisonment. The trial of two more defendants continues in St Petersburg.

The frame-up of the “network” case defendants by security services (FSB) officers – and the repeated use of torture to obtain bogus confessions – has been denounced by human rights organisations. The jailed anti-fascists have been supported by an international solidarity campaign.

Here is a report from court yesterday, translated by the Russian Reader from Bumaga newspaper:

The Volga District Military Court, [sitting in Penza], has [convicted and] sentenced seven defendants in the Network Case.

Dmitry Pchelintsev was sentenced to 18 years in a maximum-security penal colony. Ilya Shakursky was sentenced to 16 years in a penal colony and fined 50,000 rubles.

Investigators claimed they were organizers of a “terrorist community.” Both men alleged that FSB officers had electrocuted them in order to obtain confessions.

Maxim Ivankin was given 13 years in a maximum-security penal colony, while Andrei Chernov was sentenced to 14 years, and Mikhail Kulkov, to 10 years. They were found guilty of involvement in a “terrorist community” and attempting to sell drugs.

Vasily Kuksov was sentenced to 9 years in a penal colony. He was accused of involvement in a “terrorist community” and illegal possession of a weapon. Another defendant, Arman Sagynbayev, received 6 years in prison.

The verdict handed down by the court in Penza suggests that the acquittal of the Petersburg defendants in the case is less likely, Viktor Cherkasov, the lawyer for Viktor Filinkov, a defendant in the Network Case, told Bumaga. “It sends a message,” said Cherkasov. “It is difficult to hope [for a positive outcome], but we are still determined to protect Filinkov’s interests.”

Cherkasov said that he planned in court to point to the faked evidence in the case. He also that he would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if Filinkov were found guilty. The next hearing in the Network Case in Petersburg should take place between February 25 and February 28.

[In October 2017 and January 2018], antifascists and anarchists were detained in Penza and Petersburg. They were accused of organizing a “terrorist community,” allegedly called “the network”.

……

At the end of the court hearing, Mediazona, the human rights defenders’ web site, reported:

The session is over. The sentence was read out in complete silence. Now, behind the court’s closed doors it is very noisy. Those who came to support the defendants are shouting: “Free political prisoners!”

“Stay strong, we are with you”, one of the support group shouted out.

“No, it’s we who are with you!” answered Dmitry Pchelintsev, one of the defendants. […]

People shouted “shame!” and “freedom!” […]

Outside court, a crowd gathered. Some people played drums, others sang, waiting for those convicted to be taken away in prison vans. Alongside stood security services officers in masks.

Vehicles left [the court] in a convoy. According to Mediazona’s correspondent, OMON [riot police] officers threw their coats over the convicts, so as to pass the crowds unseen. The supporters then began to go their separate ways.

More information:

ABOUT THE CASE

In autumn 2017 6 people were arrested in Penza – to some of them weapons and explosives were thrown up. Then FSB tortured antifascists right in the pretrial detention center: connected electrodes to different parts of body and put the electricity on, beaten, hanged upside down. While torturing security chiefs forced activists to learn by heart the testimony which FSB wants, that they had founded and participate terrorist community “Network”. At the end of January 2018, three more antifascists were arrested in St. Petersburg. They were also beaten, electrocuted and forced to incriminate themselves – to confirm that they are members of the “Network”. And in July 2018 there was a last arrest of two persons in Moscow.

By forging the evidence and tortures, the FSB fabricates a case about terrorism against antifascists. The FSB claims that the detainees planned to arrange explosions during the presidential elections and the World Cup. All this – allegedly in order to “shake the masses to further destabilize the political situation in the country” and raise an armed rebellion. Now there are ten antifascists behind the bars. Arrested face from five years up to life sentence in prison.

After the case against antifascists and tortures became widely known- actions of solidarity took place in Russia and abroad. However, this led to new repressions. The participants of the actions from Moscow were detained and criminal proceedings were opened against them. Antifascists from Chelyabinsk were detained, electrocuted and a criminal case was also opened against them.

Alice Bota@AliceBota

Auch wenn in Deutschland viel los ist – dieses Urteil darf nicht unbemerkt bleiben: Heute wurden in Russland linke Aktivisten in einem äußerst fragwürdigen Prozess zu 6 bis 18 Jahren Haft verurteilt.

Der jüngste ist 23, der älteste 31 Jahre alt.

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New York City Antifa@NYCAntifa

Support antifascist prisoners everywhere!!https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/10/russian-anti-fascist-group-network-jail?CMP=share_btn_tw 

Russian anti-fascist group given ‘monstrous’ jail terms

Rights activists criticise trial, saying members of the Network group were tortured

theguardian.com

New York City Antifa@NYCAntifa

For background on the “Network” case, see this article by Crimethinc:https://crimethinc.com/2018/03/26/why-the-torture-cases-in-russia-matter-how-the-tactics-that-the-russian-state-uses-against-anarchists-could-spread 

Why the Torture Cases in Russia Matter

The Russian security services are using torture to force false confessions in an attempt to frame anarchists as participants in terrorist networks. If it works, other police may try the same tactics.

crimethinc.com

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