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
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 »