Repression in Russland – Solidarity with our comrades!

“We cannot stay at home, because tomorrow our children will express what they think. And they will go to the streets under the police batons and the threat of long prison terms. They dont have another country. We have no other country. And no one else will be able to stop the machine of oppression if we don't say NO to it now and don't IMMEDIATELY demand the release of all political prisoners. ”

This call of the campaign "We are all in the network - resetting the prison terms of political prisoners" was followed this weekend (14.03.2020) by many activists in the two Russian cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. They have been going to the streets almost every day for over a week to demonstrate against arbitrariness and repression and for the release of political prisoners. The reason was the resignation of Putin's previous terms to enable him to be re-elected.

To make opposition protests invisible, the authorities use the usual trick: the demonstration in the city center is not approved. Alternatively, the organizers are offered an alternative location: far from the shot on the outskirts.

The opposition has long since dealt with it: it simply mobilizes to one-person demonstrations, a form of protest that has so far been legal without prior approval. In the city center in front of the Ljubjanka, the former Soviet State Security (KGB) prison, people stand in line, wait for their turn, then hold up their posters for a few minutes until the next one comes.

With posters such as "Resetting the prison terms of political prisoners", "My Russia is in prison" or "We are all in the network", the demonstration participants draw attention to political prisoners and current cases.

The Moscow case - mass detention, show trials and excessive sentences

In the summer of 2019, at the time of the city parliamentary elections in Moscow, tens of thousands of people are protesting peacefully for free elections and for the admission of independent candidates. It is the biggest protests in more than six years. The police act brutally against participants. The number of detainees sets a new record: almost 1400 people.

Then there are show trials against over 30 people, including many familiar faces from the opposition. The main charge is: instigating mass unrest and resisting state violence. The evidence: pulled by the hair.

For example, three of the detainees are sentenced to two to three years in prison for allegedly throwing a policeman to the ground. The evidence video shows that the three are simply trying to protect a person lying on the ground from being beaten by the police and then being hit themselves.
The network case - torture, falsification of evidence and excessive charges

Trials are currently underway against nine young men from the Russian cities of Penza and St. Petersburg. They are also familiar faces of the extra-parliamentary opposition. They are accused of terrorism and face imprisonment from 6 to 18 years. Human rights activists consider the case to be constructed, since a large part of the evidence is falsified or not meaningful.

The indictment claims that the people had planned something - but cannot prove what, when, where and how it was planned. The indictment is based only on confessions from people who were blackmailed with electricity under the threat of violence or under torture; on weapons that have been pushed in; for reports that have not been examined by independent second parties; for witnesses who are untrustworthy; on files confiscated from media that have been changed in the process of the investigation - i.e. only the authorities had access to it - to name just a few examples. During the past year and a half in detention, the mental and physical health of the detainees has deteriorated significantly. Two people have already attempted suicide, and another two have developed tuberculosis.

The protests continue

At the demonstrations this weekend there was again a proven police strategy: shielding the event with police buses, mass arrests and police violence - all people who wanted to take part in the rally were simply taken into custody.

Nevertheless, further protests by the opposition have been announced nationwide this coming weekend. People want to take their displeasure on the streets to put Putin's term in office and the resulting state arbitrariness and repression.

"We go to protest because we are all in the network: we are in the network of corrupt judges, we are in the network of security forces, we are in the network of constant control over our movements, we are in the network of constant fear for our future. And we urge everyone to come together to loudly declare that we are fed up with fear and ready to break through this network. "--- from the campaign call" We are all on the network - resetting the prison terms of the political Prisoners ”on March 14, 2020.

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