Mitrokhin about political prisoners: “As long as at least one of them is in jail, any one from us can be the next”
YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin called to pay close attention
to the Russian regions where dozens of people had been persecuted
for political reasons. He made such a statement at a rally
against the political reprisals that took place in Moscow
on April 17.
Sergei Mitrokhin recalled journalist Michael Beketov who
was attacked and severely injured in 2008 and died of severe
injuries in April 2013. The names of those who ordered this
crime were known, but they were not arrested. Also many cases
of murdered journalists and public figures remained unsolved,
“What should be done to make our law enforcement system
work and so that it stopped being so sluggish and inert, amorphous
and unclear? One should simply start to really fight against
corruption, as Alexei Navalny has begun doing or Maxim Petlin,
leader of the Sverdlovsk branch of YABLOKO, who was imprisoned
for disclosing a corruption scheme of Yekaterinburg authorities”.
“When you start fighting against the system: fighting
against corruption, for fair elections, and protect people
from the arbitrary rule, that’s when you start pulling the
hidden thread – then there emerge ‘evidence’ against you,
and investigation develops very quickly and very quickly you
are imprisoned,” Mitrokhin said.
According to YABLOKO’s leader, “the system protects
thieves and murderers from such fighters”.
The leader of YABLOKO called to protection of every political
prisoner, “not only such well-known persons as Alexei
Navalny”, but also to defend “Peter Ofitserov who will be
on the same prisoner’s box with Navalny”.
“Let us see look at the regions where many unknown activists
have been persecuted and pressed on the order of the federal
government. Let’s do everything so that to replenish our ranks,
let’s create a committee for political prisoners and those
who are facing detention,” Mitrokhin noted.
“As long as at least one of them is in jail, any one
from us can be the next,” he concluded.
YABLOKO activists have been systematically facing pressure
and persecution from the authorities. In different regions
authorities collect information about YABLOKO members and
activists, invite them to “conversations”, practice wiretapping,
detentions, searches, seizure of documents, administrative
arrests and open criminal cases against them.
In March 2013, the Sverdlovsk Region Court sentenced Maxim
Petlin, leader of YABLOKO’s branch in the Sverdlovsk region,
to three years of imprisonment on trumped-up charges of extorting
money from a construction company, as he and local residents
of the area successfully fought against unlawful construction
works of this company.
“Freedom to Maxim Petlin!”
Similar prosecutions and an clear danger of being imprisoned
forced Suren Gazaryan, YABLOKO’s activists in the Krasnodar
Territory who openly criticized Governor Tkachyov, to leave
Russia and ask for political asylum in Estonia.
Several YABLOKO’s activists have been still on probation:
Vasily Popov, YABLOKO Political Committee member (convicted
for criticizing the head of Karelia) and Ivan Bolshakov, YABLOKO
Bureau member (who allegedly broke a police officer’s hand
at a rally in South Butovo). Nikolai Kuznetsov has been recently
sentenced on charges of assaulting a police officer in the
city of Stupino, the Moscow region. Now they can not engage
in a full-fledged political activities without rising to be
Posted: April 17th, 2013 under New items.