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YABLOKOs activists arrested by Putins country cottage at the Black Sea Coast

Press Release
June 25, 2011

Kirill Gontcharov, leader of the Moscow Youth YABLOKO, and environmentalist Sergei Menzhitsky were sentenced to five days of imprisonment for alleged physical resistance to police orders. They were detained in Divnomorskoye village at the Black Sea.

On June 24 Kirill Gontcharov, leader of the Moscow Youth YABLOKO and environmentalists Sergei Menzhitsky and Konstantin Andramonov were detained in Divnomorskoye village at the Black Sea. YABLOKO had launched an action All-Russia Protest Against the Stolen Black Sea Coast protesting against unlawful and illegal construction of cottages (especially for top officials) in the national parks and turning of public beaches and territories into their private beaches and territories.

On June 25 the activists planned to conduct a rally by Putins dacha (Putins country cottage). And on June 24 they inspected the national park of the relict Pitsunda pine (as it has been detected previously that part of the relict trees were cut for construction of the Governors residence).

The activists also conducted a rally by the residence of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church built on the national park. Environmentalists inspection ended in the Dzhankhot village, where they also conducted a rally.

The police did not interfere with the action, however Senior Lieutenant Dmitry Aniskin had been asking for Kirill Gontcharov for the whole day. The police officer agreed to meet with Kirill in a cafe in the evening. The policeman came their in the evening and without any explanations twisted Kirills his hands and escorted him to the police car.

Sergei Menzhitsky, activist of the Open Coast movement (Otkitiy Bereg) and Konstantin Andramonov, activist of the North Caucasus Ecological Watch were detained together with YABLOKOs activist. The police detained the activists on the threashold of an action by Putins country cottage taking 350 hectares of the relict pine forest where the activists planned to place stickers with inscriptions Stolen from the people of the Russian Federation. Subject to return.

In the police station Kirill and Sergei were held throughout the night in an overcrowded cell, when people had to sit on a bench in a queue. They were given nothing to eat. Konstantin was released on pledge not to leave the city.

In the margining court of the first instance sentenced Kirill to five days of imprisonment. Judge Shvedchikov did not allow the press to be present at the process and refused to appoint an attorney for Kirill. During the trial activists of the Youth YABLOKO gave evidence that Kirill did not resist to police orders. However, the judge refused to watched the video of the detention. The policemen who detained Kirill did not come to court, however the judge considered the guilt proved. And sentenced Kirill to five days of administrative arrest.

At noon the court held a trial against Sergei Menzhitsky sentencing him to five days of imprisonment too.

Kirill and Sergei were held in the same prison where YABLOKOs activists protesting against Governors arbitrary rule in seizing public lands of a national park and building of a fenced residence there (with cutting of relict pine). The prisoners were held in terrible conditions bordering of torture. Public Commission of the Krasnodar Territory conducted an inspection on the prison and concluded that the prison had to undergo capital repairs so that to improve the conditions for the prisoners.

YABLOKO appealed against these decisions in the city court. The city court reduced the period of arrest from five to two days of imprisonment for Kirill (and on Sunday evening Kirill was released).

YABLOKOs leader Sergei Mitrokhin said that the party would appeal against the courts decisions so that the activists could be acquitted.

The activists also picketed by the temporarily detention prison where Kirill and Sergei were held with placards Freedom to Political Prisoners! Ludmila Alexeyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group human rights organisation expressed her indignation on the arrest of the activists. She called the police actions an outrageous situation and expressed her certainty that the case was completely fabricated. It is clear from the first sight that the case is trumped up, she noted.

Alexeyeva called Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev to provide decent conditions for the arrested activists.

See also:

Protection of Environment

YABLOKOs activists get imprisonment verdicts, Press Release, February 28, 2011

Young YABLOKO activists hang a banner Freedom to Political Prisoners! opposite of the Kremlin. Press Release, March 3, 2011.

Friendly Oligarch Buys 'Putin' Palace . The Moscow Times, March 4, 2011.


Press Release
June 22, 2011

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