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Startseite Urgent Actions 2020 05 Activist jailed for peaceful protests
UA 082/20
Russia
Abgeschlossen am 11. August 2020
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1.7.2020

Konstantin Kotov is still waiting for the date of the appeal hearing to be announced. This means we have a bit more time to continue putting pressure and we are therefore extending the appeals deadline for a further six weeks until 11 August.

Konstantin is finally based in a penal colony where we can send him solidarity messages. We have received reports that he is having a difficult time in prison and we are launching a solidarity action:

SOLIDARITY ADDRESS:

Kotov Konstantin Aleksandrovich, 1985
IK-2
ul. Frantsa Shtolverka, 6
Vladimirskaya obl., Petushinsky rayon, g. Pokrov
601122, Russian Federation

SAMPLE MESSAGES:

→ It is strongly preferable to write in Russian (even using Google Translate or a similar service) because letters in foreign languages take longer to pass the prison’s censor and may even never reach the target. Konstantin will also understand the Russian-language messages (even imperfectly translated) much better.

«Konstantin, like many people all around the world, I support you and hope that soon you will walk free!»
In Russian: Константин, как и многие люди по всему миру, я поддерживаю вас и надеюсь на ваше скорейшее освобождение!

«Dear Konstantin, your courage and spirit are truly inspiring! I wish you to be free as soon as possible!»
In Russian: Уважаемый Константин, ваши смелость и сила духа вдохновляют! Желаю как можно скорее оказаться на свободе!

Activist jailed for peaceful protests

AI-Index: EUR 46/2330/2020

Konstantin Kotov was arrested on 10 August 2019 and later imprisoned for repeated participation in peaceful «unsanctioned» rallies, a crime under Russian law. On 20 April, his conviction was upheld and his sentence reduced from four years to eighteen months, which he is appealing. He is a prisoner of conscience and should be immediately and unconditionally released.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On 5 September 2019, peaceful protester Konstantin Kotov was convicted of repeated participation in «unsanctioned» protest rallies, under Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code, and sentenced to four years in prison. Unusually for Russia, his trial at Tverskoy District Court in Moscow lasted less than a day. All his protest actions were peaceful, and most of them concerned politically motivated prosecution of other activists. Konstantin Kotov has never committed, called for, or condoned any violence. During his trial, the judge refused to consider whether Konstantin Kotov’s actions constituted, or amounted to, any serious harm to others, and declined to hear the testimony of most witnesses for the defence or watch available video footage of Konstantin Kotov’s purported «crime». On 14 October, Moscow City Court upheld Konstantin Kotov’s conviction and sentence.

On 27 January 2020, the Constitutional Court of Russia ruled that Konstantin Kotov’s case should be reconsidered. The Constitutional Court referred to another case in 2017, where it had ruled that courts should not hand down custodial sentences under Article 212.1 unless the defendant’s actions resulted in violence or public harm. However, it did not find Article 212.1 itself unconstitutional.

Konstantin Kotov’s case was then reviewed by Moscow City Court, which, on 20 April, upheld his conviction and reduced his prison sentence to a year-and-a-half. Konstantin Kotov’s lawyers are preparing his appeal against this decision.

Article 212.1 was introduced in 2014, alongside other legislation intended to restrict further the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association in Russia. Konstantin Kotov is the third person who has been tried and convicted under this article. The other two are Ildar Dadin and Andrey Borovikov.

Unless Konstantin Kotov’s conviction is quashed (like Ildar Dadin’s in 2017) and if his custodial sentence remains in place, this will set a new dangerous precedent of an activist serving a prison term for merely participating in peaceful protest, and may lead to prosecution and imprisonment of numerous other individuals as well as a chilling effect on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly in Russia.

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