9 December 2015
On December 7 judge at Moscow’s Basmanny court Natalya Dudar issued the first verdict under article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code (multiple violations of the established order for organising or holding gatherings, meetings, demonstrations, marches or pickets), finding Ildar Dadin guilty, and sentencing him to three years in a general regime colony.
This sentence is a particularly cynical infringement on the rights and freedoms of citizens, an insult to the very idea of justice, even against the background of the other politically-motivated and, in our opinion, illegal sentences. So, two episodes from the four he was accused of were one-person pickets, which didn’t even violate Russia’s “draconian” legislation on public events, and one wasn’t connected with participation in such an event at all.
Previously the Memorial human rights centre already characterised article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code as an obvious instrument of politically-motivated prosecutions, anti-constitutional and anti-legal in its essence, because it
- envisages repeat punishment for the same incidence of lawbreaking;
- makes the presence of a crime dependent on bringing an administrative charge against a person, removing guarantees from the citizen that are established in the Criminal Procedural Code;
- violates the principle of equality of all before the law, establishing multiple administrative violations committed by a person characterising the individual as a lawbreaker as the only qualifying indicator for a crime;
- establishes responsibility that is clearly disproportionate to the assumed level of public danger from the lawbreaking;
- in spite of Russia’s international obligations and the position of the European Court of Human Rights, groundlessly restricts freedom of peaceful assembly.
It is notable that during the trial it was Ildar Dadin, not the prosecution in the courtroom, who articulated a position based on the Russian Constitution, referring to citizens’ rights and freedoms.
The Memorial human rights centre considers anyone who is charged under article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code to be illegally prosecuted for political reasons, and anyone who is imprisoned on its basis - a political prisoner.
We demand an immediate end to the criminal prosecution of Ildar Dadin, his unconditional release, and a cancellation of article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code.
Translation by Memorial Human Rights Centre