In its pursuit of crackdown on protests, Russian court in Moscow has sentenced Konstantin Kotov, an activist, to four years in prison. Tanya Lokshina has the story in Human Rights Watch.
Today, I stood in a Moscow court as it sentenced Konstantin Kotov, a 34-year old software engineer, to four years in prison. His crime? Kotov dared to take part in several peaceful but unsanctioned protests this spring and summer.
Since 2014, Russian law mandates criminal sanctions for participating in more than two unauthorized public gatherings within six months.
Kotov protested in Moscow against the exclusion of viable opposition candidates from the city legislative assembly race. Also in recent months, Kotov protested against the war in Ukraine and stood up for people who were prosecuted on politically motivated charges, including Crimean Tatars, whom Russian authorities prosecuted on bogus terrorism charges. The authorities subjected Kotov to administrative sanctions four times for his peaceful protest activity.
Then police arrested him, again, at the August 10 election-related “protest walk.” He spent two days behind bars, on administrative charges. Upon release, he was re-arrested as the authorities launched a criminal case against him, eager to silence someone who speaks out as much as he does.
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