Russia normalises torture in case against anti-fascists

February 10, 2019

Re-posted from Red Pepper.

Evidence that anti-fascist activists were tortured by Russian federal security officers is “really disturbing”, president Vladimir Putin told the Kremlin’s own human rights council in December. He promised to “look into it”.

But ten of the young activists in question remain in detention awaiting trial in the “Network” case, charged with organising a terrorist group and illegal possession of weapons. The prosecution’s main evidence comprises statements taken after the accused were tortured with electric shockers, hung upside down, throttled and beaten up for hours on end.

The FSB, Russia’s main security service, claims members of the “Network” were planning to organise bombings during Russia’s March 2018 presidential elections and the football

A demonstration in St Petersburg on 19 January, remembering the murdered anti-fascists Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova. Photo by Elena Lukyanova, Novaya Gazeta

World Cup, that they planned an armed uprising and were “stirring up the masses for further destabilisation of the political situation in the country”. It says that defendants had assigned roles (leaders, communications personnel, sappers and ideological officers), discussed their plans on social media and held minuted meetings about them.

The FSB case includes the fact that all the defendants played airsoft (a team shooting sport with no live ammunition) and that some of them did physical training together.

The ten, mostly supporters of anti-fascist and anarchist groups, were detained in late 2017 and early 2018. In January 2018, one of them, Viktor Filinkov, made a detailed public statement about being tortured; two other defendants, Ilya Shakurskiy and Dmitriy Read the rest of this entry »

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Leeds women workers’ story retold

February 7, 2019

I am very pleased to publish today an article about the Leeds clothing workers’ strike of 1970: “You’re not a worker, you’re a pair of hands.” How Leeds women workers struck back, by Liz Leicester. It describes an unofficial strike by almost 30,000 clothing workers who demanded an increase in the hourly pay rate of one shilling (5 pence, worth about 75 pence today, taking into account). The action snowballed as the strikers, mostly women, marched around the city calling on others to join them. They were angry at an agreement signed between their union and the employers’ federation which discriminated against women workers. The article is based on a talk Liz gave in December 2018 in London.

Strikers on the march, 1970. From the Secret Library Leeds blog / Yorkshire Evening Post


New Russian torture case provokes student anger

February 5, 2019

Hundreds of Moscow students have joined a protest campaign over the arrest and torture in detention of Azat Miftakhov, a graduate student at Moscow State University.

Miftakhov was rounded up together with ten other anarchist activists, and charged with

Azat Miftakhov. Photo from Autonomous Action / The Russian Reader

preparing explosions. (See reports in English here and here.)

Miftakhov, and Daniil Galkin, were denied access to lawyers, brutally tortured and paraded on state TV. At least ten other people were arrested.

Many people in Russia feared a new case, similar to the “Network” case, in which a group of anti-fascist activists were tortured in detention and are now awaiting trial on terror-related charges.

When Miftakhov disappeared in to the security service’s dungeons, his fellow students put together a protest letter demanding “the immediate cessation of torture”. It was signed by more than 250 teaching staff, more than 500 students in the mathematics faculty where Miftakhov is studying, and more than 800 others from other faculties and outside the university.

Here is the text of the letter. You can read – and sign – the original here.

An open letter in support of mathematician Azat Miftakhov

Multiple sources confirm that on February 1, 2019 Azat Miftakhov, a graduate student of the Moscow State University Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics, was detained on suspicion of manufacturing explosives. He was tortured by the police and the Federal Read the rest of this entry »


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