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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another Original LR Translation: Persecuting Yabloko's Reznick, by our Original Translator

A member of the Oborona youth opposition group protesting
the detention of Yabloko opposition leader Maxim Reznick

Without Due Process

Yezhednevniy Zhurnal

March 13, 2008

Suren Yedigarov, an activist of the United Civil Front (Obedinenniy Grazhdanskiy Front - OGF), was arrested and beaten in Moscow. He was holding a single-person picket in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) building on Zhitnaya Street in support of Maksim Reznik, the recently jailed leader of the Saint Petersburg office of the Yabloko political party. On Thursday morning Yedigarov was arrested by police officers and taken to the Yakimanka police station. At the station, Yedigarov was beaten, then taken away in an ambulance to City Hospital No. 7, where he as diagnosed with a concussion, eye injury, abrasions and bruises. No record of Yedigarov’s arrest was made at the Yakimanka police station. Yedigarov plans to file a complaint against the police officers involved. The day before, three other participants in single-person pickets supporting Reznik were arrested. The first was another OGF activist, Ida Miloslavova, who was arrested without any reason given. Then they arrested two activists as they were changing shifts, Aleksey Kazakov of OGF and Maria Koleda of “The Other Russia”, who was holding a sign that read “Freedom for Political Prisoners”. All three were taken to the Yakimanka police station. According to the arrested, none of their arrests were recorded at the police station, but the chief of the Yakimanka police station destroyed a telephone belonging to Kazakov and threatened all three with imprisonment and physical reprisals. The pickets in support of Reznik are continuing in Moscow, in front of the General Prosecutor’s office on Bolshaya Dmitrovka street and the MVD building on Zhitnaya Street. Single-person pickets are also in progress in Saint Petersburg.

Ilya Yashin, “Yabloko” Political Party, March 13:

A series of single-person pickets is continuing today, in support of Maksim Reznik and demanding his immediate release. We have once again encountered the tried-and-true tactic of provocation, which was previously used, in particular, during pickets in support of Gary Kasparov after he was arrested.

The tactic is very simple: a single-person picket does not require permission from the authorities, so for this reason several provocateurs will approach the single picketer with signs or other paraphernalia - at which point the picket stops being single-person and a basis is formally created for the arrest of the “participants”.

Maria Gaidar encountered such a situation today: at two o’clock she took up her position in front of the General Prosecutor’s Office building, holding a sign, and just then two provocateurs approached her (they had no paraphernalia, because seeing that they were provocateurs we took away their signs). Exactly then two policemen appeared, and on the pretext of “participation in an unauthorized demonstration” arrested Maria, the two provocateurs, and me (although at that moment I was in fact not participating in the picket).

We were taken to the Tverskoye police station, where I was almost immediately released, without any record of my arrest or reason given. Maria Gaidar and the provocateurs are still there.

We consider this arrest illegal, inasmuch as the provocateurs simply stood alongside Ms. Gaidar, without any signs or banners - just stood alongside. By this logic of the law enforcement agencies, any person who comes up to a picketer (a journalist, bystander, or anyone else) becomes a participant in a “demonstration”.

On the bright side, no one has bothered the picketers since this incident - people are able to take their turns quietly standing there. Apparently the authorities have run out of provocateurs.

What is going on right now in Saint Petersburg - with the arrest of Reznik, the whole story with the Yabloko/Saint Petersburg office (we learned today that it is about to undergo an inquiry from the Prosecutor’s office for “extremism”) - all of this is, I am certain, a political repression against the Yabloko political party. I think that the initiative came from the city authorities, but things like this cannot help but be approved at the very top.

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