Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tord Björk on release of Maxim Solopov

This has been sent to Social forum, climate justice, and antirepression
lists today. Yours Tord Björk, lets hope for a good following of this.

The release of Maxim Solopov today, a Latin American studies researcher in
Moscow and antifascist accused of actions in connection with the Khimki
forest conflict is great news, see press release below. Now we have one more
possibility for historic victories against repression this year after the
sentences stating that two spokespersons for Climate Justice Action in
Copenhagen were not guilty. In both conflicts problems still remain. We have
still not seen the end of the trials in Denmark and some 200 people were
detained or interogated by the police in the repression wave after the
Khimki conflict escalated. Gaskarov is still detained.

In both cases is neither the high way through the Khimki forest conflict or
the much harder issue climate justice solved. But there is the possibility
that some kind of repression in connection with summits as well as local
environmental conflicts have reached a stage were the authorities cannot go
to far. In the Russian case due to an extraordinary commitment from very
different domestic actors to unite in solidarity against the repression, in
the case of Denmark and the climate summit there was rather a lack of
solidarity among domestic actors but the juridical system could not accept
the extremist views put forward by the police which actually had backing
from much of the political parties. The Danish state imploded when trying to
combine the extremist authoritarian measures by the police and traditional
Western juridical arguments.

In both cases international solidarity was helpful. Here both social forums
and the climate justice movement have done very well. We may think we are
small sometimes, and facing the present social and ecological crisis this
feeling can be seen as justified. But we should keep in mind that also if we
see ourselves with these eyes there are times when solidarity can arise. It
is important ahead of COP-16 in Cancun and the future of local social and
environmental conflicts what have happened in the struggle against
repression this year. To me it is especially inspiring how Russian movements
have been able to cooperate. They have been an example for the rest of the
world. May we be able to follow their example and unite in solidarity across
different ideologies whenever it is necessary to stop repression.

Thankyou everyone that contributed to the victories.

Tord Björk

You find more material on the Khimki forest conflict and repression on

A video tribute tree huggers in Khimki, Stuttgart, Stockholm and India:

Maxim Solopov released - English press-release (fast translation)

Khimki town court ruled to release Maxim Solopov from the arrest
Press release of the campaign for the release of Khimki hostages
October 18, 2010

Khimki town court has ruled to change the pre-trial restriction for Maxim
Solopov from arrest to a written pledge not to leave town. The court
lasted from 11 am to 4 pm today, October 18, with a three-hour break for
preparation of the court ruling. Judge Svetlana Galanova has ruled to
release Maxim Solopov from the arrest immediately in the court room.
Maxim was released in echange for the guarantees provided by Lev
Ponomaryov, executive director of movement «For Human Rights», human
rights activists Sergey Kovalyov and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, State Duma
deputies Ilya Ponomaryov and Oleg Shein, as well as Maxim's university
professors Galina Yershova, Dmitry Belyaev and Yekaterina Di Santo.
Human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov and profesor Yekaterina Di Santo were
present at the court hearings.

Yekaterina DiSanto testified in court for Maxim and told during the court
hearing that it is necessary to release Maxim in order for him to continue
his studies and pursue his career as a researcher. She told the court that
Maxim is «a very talented person, a good student and I'm glad that besides
that he is also an antifascist».

The prosecutors have presented to the court the same reasons for Maxim's
arrest as before, which were not valid for ruling in favor of the renewal
of the arrest. The only new arguments provided by the investigator
Yermilov were the testimonies of some witness, which supposedly
incriminated Solopov, the photos which showed a person in black mask, who
was supposedly Solopov, and the document provided by the Federal Security
Service (FSB),that read that Maxim was detained on numerous occasions
during «illegal» manifestations. When asked how can you recognize Solopov
on these photos, Yermilov couldn't provide any proof for his statements.
Maxim spoke in court and demanded that his own testimonies are considered
by the judges, including his statement that he was «taken as a hostage by
the unprofessionalism of the law enforcement agencies».

The testimonies provided by the investigators were proven wrong by the
defense ‹ Maxim's lawyer Yury Yeronin and human rights activist Lev
Ponomaryov. The latter indicated that during this court procedure not the
guilt of the suspect was to be established, but only the form of pre-trial
restriction was to be chosen. He also said that the procurator's office
was currently checking the legality of the fact that Maxim was
interrogated in the absence of the lawyer and that he was subjected to
pressure by the investigators.

The court has considered the arguments of the defense and ruled to release
Maxim Solopov from the arrest.

«Everything that happened recently was considered. Both the wide social
support, the guarantees provided to the court, the speeches in court were
taken into account. This valuable result was possible due to all the
things that we did», said Lev Ponomaryov following the court ruling.
As part of the days of action, initiated by the Campaign for the release
of Khimki hostages, solidarity actions were held in 35 cities in 12
countries. Khimki town court and other administrative bodies in Russia
received hundreds of letters of protest from around the world, which
demanded to release the Khimki hostages and to stop the campaign of
falsification of evidence against them. This was partly due to the fact
that Alexey and Maxim are well known social activists, but also due to the
fact that the investigators used illegal methods when trying to get
evidence, including mass arrests of young people and torture. The
protocols of Maxim's and Alexey's detention were also falsified.
On October 15 Moscow regional court has annulled the previous decision of
Khimki town court for the prolongation of the arrest of another arrested
in the Khimki case, Alexey Gaskarov. His arrest is to be recosnidered by
the Khimki court some time before October 27.
For additional information call : tel. +7-915-053-59-12

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