The “network case” – an investigation into alleged terrorism by Russian anarchists and anti-fascists, during which security service officers have repeatedly tortured detainees – has gone to trial. Hearings are taking place in Penza and St Petersburg.
Dmitry Pchelintsev, one of the defendants, gave testimony in court about how he was tortured. An edited translation is published here.
The “network case” investigation began in 2017. Officers of the Federal Security Services (FSB) claim that twelve young men were part of an organisation called “the network” – a “terrorist group” that allegedly planned to “stir up the population in order to destabilise political conditions” in Russia via a series of terrorist attacks. The FSB claims that “the network” had cells operating in cities across Russia and Belarus.
Pchelintsev, 27, lives in Penza in central Russia. He is charged with creating “the network”; illegal possession of weapons; and an attempted arson attack against a local military office.
The article below is the second part of Pchelintsev’s testimony at Povolzhye Regional Military Court in Penza. MediaZona, a Russian web site focused on unjust imprisonment and prisoners’ rights, published an abridged account in Russian. It was translated by openDemocracy and is republished here with thanks to them.
For information on the international solidarity campaign in support of “the network” defendants, see the Rupression site.
Day one: “He stripped the wires and attached them to my toes”
I was arrested on 27 October, 2017. Naturally, I didn’t admit my guilt and refused to testify. My lawyer, who was not planning to represent me in the future, said: “If you get another lawyer, you will testify with him. Take your Article 51 rights [against self-incrimination] with me now.” So, I didn’t admit anything and I wasn’t particularly questioned that day. I was
brought to a temporary detention centre, and spent one night there, after which I was taken to court. The court chose arrest as a deterrence measure. I was arrested and sent to the city’s Investigative Detention Centre No.1 [SIZO 1].
SIZO 1 has three blocks: an old block, a new block and a block nicknamed “Titanic”. But they put me in the fourth block, which was completely empty. There was not a single person there. This is a two-storey block where no one is held and no one monitors. It stands apart from the rest of the detention centre. I was brought to Cell 5.1, where I dropped my mattress on the floor, and then I was told: “Let’s go.” It was my first time in investigative detention, so I had no idea what was supposed to happen. I thought I probably had to go through some procedures, fingerprinting, perhaps something else. I was told to enter a neighbouring cell, Cell 5.2. I entered, and the door was closed behind me.
This was on 28 October, my first day in investigative detention. In theory, I should have been placed in quarantine, in the “Titanic” block. But I was brought to the Cell 5.2, and left Read the rest of this entry »