In Russia, the Russian Federal Security Service—the FSB, which is descended from the KGB—has set a new precedent for extracting false confessions from arrestees by means of torture, threats, and blatantly planted evidence. This week, a Russian court found seven defendants guilty of terrorist conspiracy on the basis of evidence derived from these methods; they have been sentenced to up to 18 years in prison apiece. For years, governments all over the world have unsuccessfully attempted to make fabricated conspiracy charges stick. Now, utilizing this new model based in flagrant brutality and dishonesty, the Russian government has succeeded in setting a new precedent. Police exchange tactics and strategies on a global basis. As the world slides faster towards tyranny, we can be sure that we will see these tactics of repression spread outside Russia if we don’t mobilize effectively against them now.
Consequently, in concert with the Russian solidarity organization supporting these prisoners, we are calling for a week of solidarity actions February 22-29.
For more background on the case and the pattern of trumped up conspiracy cases throughout Europe and the US, read our earlier analysis, “Why the Torture Cases in Russia Matter.”
Call for Solidarity Actions—February 22-29
We must not forget the anarchists and anti-fascists suffering repression in Russia! We are calling for people to take action of all forms to express support for these prisoners, to protest the prison system, and to spread information about the use of torture as an instrument of repression in Russia.
On February 10, in Penza, a town 630 kilometers from Moscow, the court passed sentence on seven people accused of organizing the so-called “anarchist terrorist community ‘Network.’” The entire case is based on confessions the defendants were forced to agree to via intense torture as well as weapons planted by police and an extremely tenuous accusation that they were “planning to plan terrorist actions to overthrow the government of Russia.” Considering that we are talking about a “crime” without victims that involved no action and no plan, the sentences decreed by the court are shockingly draconian. Dmitry Pchelintsev and Ilya Shakursky, the supposed organizers of this fabricated “Network,” were sentenced to 18 years and 16 years in prison, respectively. The others have been sentenced as follows: Arman Sagynbaev 6 years, Andrei Chernov 14 years, Vasily Kuksov 9 years, Mikhail Kulkov 10 years, and Maxim Ivankin 13 years of imprisonment.
Scientists, journalists, human rights defenders, and other groups in Russia have protested and demanded that the sentence be repealed.
International solidarity is especially important at this moment because the “Network case” is not over. In St. Petersburg, two more people, Viktor Filinkov and Julian Boyarshinov, await trial on related charges. The next court hearings are planned for February 25-28. This is why we ask that solidarity actions take place the last week of February.
Many other anarchists and anti-fascists in Russia are experiencing repression and torture, including Azat Miftahov, Ilia Romanov, Egor Lesnyh, Evgeny Karakashev, and Kirill Kuzminkin. They too deserve our attention and support.
If there is a Russian consulate or embassy in your city, consider organizing an action in front of it! Failing that, you could consider what other appropriate venues or targets are available, or simply paint a beautiful banner and hold a public gathering to inform people of the situation.
Email action reports to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Telegram to @RUPRESSION_bot or Rupression social networks.
We will inform the prisoners about any actions that take place.
For more information about the Network case, details of financial support and prisoners addresses: rupression.com
YOUR TORTURE WILL NOT KILL OUR IDEAS!
This call is also available in Русский (Russian).