Tyumen Court Convicts Activist Andrei Kutuzov

Настоящий материал (информация) произведен и (или) распространен иностранным агентом РОО Центр «Сова» либо касается деятельности иностранного агента РОО Центр «Сова».
On 14 March, 2011, a Magistrate’s Court in the Tyumen Central Administrative District sentenced activist Andrei Kutuzov to two years of a suspended sentence with three years’ probation. Kutuzov was accused of distributing leaflets calling for violence against the police at a rally in October 2009, which would constitute a violation of Article 280, Part 1 of the Criminal Code: public appeals for extremist activity.

Kutuzov is a member of the Tyumen faction of the "Avnonomnoye Deystvie" leftist movement, and a Professor of Linguistics at Tyumen State University.

The leaflet in question is entitled "Down with political repression! Cops to the wall!" Kutuzov contends that though the text of the leaflet is attributed to him, it is actually a compilation of statements he made and statements he did not. Specifically, he maintains that he made no calls for violence.

It is the position of SOVA and others that the sentence is the result of a wrongful ruling. The interregional Russian human rights group AGORA, on whose initiative Kutuzov received legal representation, states the verdict will be appealed under a higher court. If necessary, AGORA is prepared to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

The ruling considers the police to be a ‘social group,’ and it has long been SOVA’s view that they should not be treated as such under Russian anti-extremist law.

The defense alleges numerous irregularities during the investigation. The court did not take into account that the defendant denies having distributed or even authored the leaflets. We find it particularly striking that the court ignored the fact that evidence used by the prosecution - a CD containing files of the leaflets - appears to have been tampered with. In court, an expert testified that the CD was burned several months after any computers had been confiscated from Kutuzov. The experts performing the authorship examination were later discredited by the defense for being non-professional and unscientific.

Previously, Kutuzov had been a suspect in a political vandalism case, the investigation of which concluded the charges were unfounded.