Friday, October 22, 2010

Alexei Gaskarov Released from Police Custody by the Khimki Municipal Court

Oct. 22, 2010 Anarchist Black Cross of Moscow

On October 22, Alexei Gaskarov was released from police custody in a Khimki
municipal courtroom. Judge Svetlana Galanova made the decision to release
Gaskarov on his own recognizance, ignoring an appeal from the prosecution to
leave him in police custody. Alexei reacted by saying that he had not
expected this decision because he has no faith in the Russian justice system.

The prosecution presented no new arguments to support its request to keep
Gaskarov in police custody, with the exception of a report issued by the FSB.
The report states that Alexei Gaskarov has been a member of the Antifa IYA
(apparently, “informal youth association”) since 2007; that he has extensive
contacts, including with foreign countries, which is corroborated by his
multiple trips abroad; that he has participated in and organized unsanctioned
protest actions; and that the last time he was detained was on March 20,
2010, during the Day of Rage protest action.

In his testimony, Alexei stated that antifascism is not a crime, that his
antifascist views cannot be cause to place him under arrest, and that his
trips abroad are his own personal affair. Gaskarov told the court that he was
present at the March 20 Day of Rage protest in his capacity as a
correspondent for the Institute for Collective Action (IKD) and that after
his arrest he had been acquitted of all charges by a justice of the peace.
Gaskarov had likewise traveled to Khimki on July 28 as an IKD correspondent,
which was confirmed in a letter submitted by the institute’s directors.

Civil rights activist Lev Ponomaryov, who participated in the hearing as a
counsel for the defense, likewise voiced his bewilderment over the fact that
the prosecution had portrayed antifascist convictions as a negative character
factor, whereas in reality society should be proud of such people because
they protect it from fascism. According to Ponomaryov, it is a very good
thing that such people are resolute in their convictions.

The court heard testimony from Andrei Demidov, deputy director of the
Institute for Collective Action. Demidov confirmed that Gaskarov had been
dispatched to Khimki as an IKD correspondent. Georgy Semyonovsky, Gaskarov’s
lawyer, reminded the court that five well-respected citizens — Lev
Ponomaryov, executive director of the For Human Rights movement; civil
rights activist Sergei Kovalyov and Liudmila Alexeeva; and State Duma
deputies Ilya Ponomaryov and Oleg Shein – had agreed to vouch for his
client’s reliability.

On October 18, the Khimki Municipal Court likewise released Maxim Solopov from
police custody on his own recognizance. Like Gaskarov, Solopov has been
charged with disorderly conduct for his alleged participation in a protest
action outside the Khimki town hall.

The Campaign for the Release of the Khimki Hostages congratulates Maxim
Solopov and Alexei Gaskarov on their conditional release from police custody,
but believes that it has not achieved its goals and intends to keep fighting
until all charges against them have been dropped.

For more information, contact:

Tel: +7 915-053-5912



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