August 22, 2014 17:42

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Arrested opposition activists forced to testify against leaders

20.06.12 15:37    By Olga Kuzmenkova, Maxim Solopov. Sergei Smirnov, Ekaterina Vinokurova, edited by Karina Aivazova


Navalny and Yashin are currently taken as witnesses in the case of May 6 mass disorders in Moscow   Photo: RIA "Novosti"


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Opposition activists arrested during the May 6 rally are being forced to give testimonies against protest leaders. The human rights watchdog "Agora" on Wednesday said this happened to one of the detainees, Artyom Savelov.

"Savelov told me that, during the investigation, several police officers approached him," Savelov's lawyer Farit Murtazin said to Gazeta.ru. "They suggested he testify that the he took part in mass disorders because of Navalny and Yashin's call to action. They suggested this when I was not in the presence of the lawyer or a speech recorder."

Savelov was asked whether he was acquainted with Alexey Navalny and Ilya Yashin, when and how he met them and when he decided to take part in the May 6 rally. Three days after the first conversation between the police and Savelov, other special police officers came to him. They tried to put pressure on him and threatened him.

Savelov's lawyer is now planning to file a complaint to the prosecutor's office about the police actions against his client. "I intend to write a petition about the legality of the visit of policemen to my client. I asked the investigator about it, he said he knew nothing about that visit," Murtazin said. According to the lawyer, Savelov's rights were violated because any investigative actions must be done in presence of a lawyer.

A source close to the investigation said that all those arrested after May 6 events have been questioned about Navalny and Yashin. The question usually asked is something like: "Do you consider Alexey Navalny your leader or the coordinator of you actions?"

As Ilya Yahsin said to Gazeta.ru, the investigators are trying to prove that the opposition leaders were the actual organizers of the mass disorders.

"They hinted that the prosecutors would use the testimonies of the arrested people to prove our guilt. They will also use material evidence from our homes – documents, computers, etc," Yashin said.

Alexey Navalny was unavailable for comment.

Gazeta.ru's Kremlin sources give very cautious comments, saying that the situation will change a few more times.

"The president's administration does not have any influence here. Only law enforcement agencies have the control over the case," the source said.
The opposition rally on May 6 called "The March of millions" finished with police clashes. The Investigative committee immediately initiated a criminal investigation. The first suspect, 18-year old Alexandra Dukhanina, was detained three weeks later. In total, 12 people are arrested at this time.

Before the June 12 opposition rally investigators searched the houses of opposition activists, like Alexey Navalny, Ilya Yashin and Ksenia Sobchak. They all witnesses in the case.

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