Russia Cracks Down on Domestic Dissent
Freedom House is deeply alarmed by the detention of more than 200 supporters gathered outside of Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky courthouse February 21 in support of eight Bolotnaya Square prisoners who were found guilty of assaulting police at a demonstration.
The Bolotnaya case began with mass arrests of demonstrators in Moscow on May 6, 2012, on the eve of the Vladimir Putin's inauguration for a third term as president. The eight demonstrators now face sentences of up to six years imprisonment; the court postponed sentencing until February 24. Authorities detained supporters outside the courthouse for allegedly "planning to violate public order," but witnesses say police acted after the crowd shouted the word "freedom."
"The detention of some 200 people for peacefully voicing their anger at Russia's disgraceful version of justice makes the guilty verdicts in one of the largest politically-motivated cases in years all the worse," said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. "This shows the Putin regime's disdain for the fundamental freedom of assembly and should be condemned by the international community."
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