Roman Maryan [Роман Марьян], a political activist from Krasnoyarsk opposed to the government, has been charged with «preparing to take part in riots» under Article 30 (Section 1) and Article 212 (Section 2) of the Russian Criminal Code.
FSB officers detained him on a train as he travelled to Moscow at the end of October 2017 where he was going to take part in the «Russian March» and the «Revolution 5/11/17.»
According to investigators working on the case, Roman Maryan received a letter urging him to take part in an armed uprising on 5 November 2017 in Moscow, and he made preparations to do so.
On 5 November 2017 there was no armed uprising in Moscow. From the information widely available about the «revolution» announced by opposition politician Vyacheslav Maltsev, to take place on this date, it is known that no armed uprising was planned, and there is no evidence for its preparation.
Maltsev himself, so far as we know, did not publicly call for violence. On the contrary, he and his colleagues stressed that the «Revolution 5/11/17» would, in his words, be peaceful in nature. In Maltsev’s opinion, letters urging an armed uprising could only have been distributed by provocateurs linked to the security services.
Nonetheless, in practice, the announcement of the «revolution» made it easier for the security services to carry out provocative actions of this kind. The announcement was used as justification for repressive measures to which hundreds of activists fell victim, including dozens who were subjected to criminal prosecutions. Part of the responsibility for these developments lies with the authors of the idea of «Revolution 5/11/17.»
In our opinion, there is no evidence in the case materials to prove that Roman Maryan was preparing for riots in the terms of Article 212 (Section 2) of the Russian Criminal Code, in other words, preparing for actions to be committed by a large group of people (a crowd) that threaten public safety, accompanied by violence against people, pogroms, arson, destruction of property, use of firearms, explosive materials or devices, and giving armed resistance to public authorities.
The suspect had no firearm and did not attempt to acquire any. Maryan did not study methods of carrying out armed activities in the streets, or the skills of shooting, knife fighting or others necessary for an armed uprising. The fact that, among the items Maryan packed for a long journey, were high boots and camouflage trousers cannot be considered, in our view, to be preparation for a crime.
The oppositionist group of which Maryan was a member was under pressure from the authorities throughout 2017. In particular, Oksana Pokhodun was prosecuted under Article 282 (Section 1) of the Russian Criminal Code for pictures on her social media page (Putin with swastikas, and others) that were considered extremist. At the beginning of June 2017, the FSB searched the apartments of a number of the group’s activists.
Memorial Human Rights Centre considers that Roman Maryan is being prosecuted for his active, non-violent opposition activity in order to intimidate the Russian opposition. Maryan is a political prisoner.
We demand his immediate release.
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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