‘Anarchists’ cut wrists in Russian court
Two Russian suspects accused of co-founding an anarchist group to overthrow the government of President Vladimir Putin have cut their wrists in a Moscow courtroom, according to their lawyer Maksim Pashkov.
Medics were called to treat Ruslan Kostylenkov, 25, and Vyacheslav Kryukov, 20, in their courtroom cage.
Both had earlier asked to be put under house arrest but their request was rejected.
Kostylenkov’s lawyer, Svetlana Sidorkina, said: “Their nerves couldn’t handle it any more. All of the evidence proves that they didn’t commit a crime.”
The pair have been in pretrial detention since March 2018.
When their request was denied, they purportedly told the court, “This is an unfair trial” and “Glory to Russia, freedom of Russia, freedom of political prisoners”, before cutting their wrists.
Their lawyer Alexander Lupashko said it was unclear how the two men managed to bring sharp objects into the court.
“They were checked by dogs. I believe either a piece of glass or a piece of a blade was carried in there,” he told the media.
Their lawyer says an undercover agent encouraged the associates to establishing the group and write a charter.
Ten people are suspected of forming the Novoye Velichiye (New Greatness) organisation.
One suspect, Anna Pavlikova, was under 18 at the time.
All 10 are now listed as terrorists and two have already been convicted.
Pavel Rebrovsky received a 2½-year sentence and Rustam Rustamov was given two years on probation.
Four suspects are in pretrial detention and the others are under house arrest.
Pavlikova, now 19, has been charged but her health deteriorated in prison and she was moved to house arrest.
The prosecution’s case relies on statements by an undercover policeman who infiltrated the gang.
Human rights groups claim the young people were victims of entrapment.
Parents of the accused claim the group discussed issues like school, work and politics.
Siberian anti-Putin shaman
A court in Russia’s far-eastern city of Yakutsk (pictured) has refused to close an extremism case against a Yakut shaman, Aleksandr Gabyshev, who was detained last month while walking from Siberia to Moscow to “drive Putin out of the Kremlin”.
Gabyshev had walked more than 2,000 kilometres since March, speaking to gatherings and gaining social media attention.
In July in Chita he told around 700 people: “God told me Putin is not a human but instead a demon and has ordered me to drive him out.”
Gabyshev was sent to a Yakutsk psychiatric clinic which said he was mentally unstable but an independent study last month said he did not need forced treatment and was not a danger to society.
Yakutsk. Picture credit: Wikimedia