We demand an immediate end to the prosecution of Dmitry Tretyakov
Dmitry Tretyakov, a lawyer and supporter of Aleksei Navalny from the town of Spassk-Dalny in Primorye region, has been charged with an offence under Article 280 (Section 2) of the Russian Criminal Code (public incitement to extremist activities using the Internet). What the investigators have in mind by “public incitement to extremist activity” is the reposting of a text from the Telegram-channel of writer and journalist Arkady Babchenko onto the open Vladivostok Telegram-chat of a rally against corruption. Tretyakov has been held on remand since 14 March 2018. The investigation is being conducted by the investigative department of the FSB for Primorye region.
We consider that the criminal case against Tretyakov is a part of an effort by the FSB to prosecute posts and communications by users of the Telegram messaging app. Telegram is popular among Russian users, among other things for its refusal, as a matter of principle, to collaborate with the security services. Equally evidently, this case can be seen as part of the campaign of persecution of supporters of Aleksei Navalny and Voters’ Strike activists in the run up to voting day on 18 March 2018. Consequently, Tretyakov is a victim of a politically motivated criminal prosecution.
A short commentary to the repost made, according to the investigators, by the defendant did not contain incitement to violence. The fact that Tretyakov positively evaluated the content of Babchenko’s post, and that he decided to repost it, does not constitute evidence that he viewed the post as incitement to action rather than as speculation that has no application to reality.
At the same time, for all the “radical” nature of the text reposted, it is possible to say that the action, the commission of which Tretyakov is accused, represents no danger to the public whatsoever. The repost did not bring any of the readers of the chat “Operation Utka” to commit a crime of an extremist or terrorist nature or violence against representatives of authority. Moreover, the post continues to be discussed online. Tretyakov’s activities in public life and politics are exclusively lawful in nature (participation in peaceful rallies, in the election campaign of Aleksei Navalny, and in the dissemination of information urging a boycott of the presidential elections).
In addition, Babchenko’s text, published back in June 2017, has not been ruled to be extremist in nature, and has remained freely accessible, for example on the author’s livejournal blog.
Memorial Human Rights Centre demands an immediate end to the prosecution of Dmitry Tretyakov and his release from pre-trial detention.
Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner, or of a prosecution as politically motivated, does not imply that Memorial Human Rights Centre shares or approves the individual’s views, statements or actions.
For more information about this case, see here.
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