|At the anti-corruption demonstration in Moscow on 26 March, 2017 more than 1,000 people were arrested.|
In Russia, a participant in the March 26 protest in Moscow was sentenced to 18 months of the prison colony. At the call of the opponent Alexis Navalny, thousands of people marched in the streets of the big Russian cities to protest against corruption. In Moscow, more than 1,000 people were arrested. Five people were arrested on charges of violence on the police, and are currently under trial.
Alexandre Chpakov is the second protester to be sentenced to a firm penalty of a penal colony. Another demonstrator was sentenced last week to 8 months of the colony, also for violence on a representative of the police forces, threatening neither life nor health.
The two men had pleaded guilty on the advice of their assigned attorney. With this procedure, the suspect is tried without witnesses, and without examination of the evidence. In Shpakov’s case, the protester had admitted that he had given two punches to a policeman and he had requested that the suspect should not be deprived of his liberty.
Human rights NGOs are amazed at the severity of the sentences, while justice is supposed to be less harsh on those who plead guilty. Moreover, the accused would be under pressure.
The mother of one of the accused said that the assigned lawyer had asked him for money to settle his son’s case. A suspect who challenged his assigned lawyer and chose an independent lawyer was sentenced to long sentences.
The NGO OVD-Info observes that investigations are carried out by the same investigators as after the demonstrations in May 2012. But in 2012, the first trials were conducted 6 months after the demonstration, while this time the authorities seem to want Go much faster.