Russia: Baseless trial against youth activists starts in Rostov-on-Don

Amnesty spokespeople will be at court and available for interview

The Russian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release three youth activists falsely accused of “preparing mass riots”, Amnesty International said ahead of the beginning of their trial.

“The prosecution of Yan Sidorov, Vladislav Mordasov and Viacheslav Shashmin is a striking example of how criminal cases are being fabricated in Russia in order to crush peaceful protest and free expression,” said Natalia Prilutskaya, Amnesty International’s Russia Researcher.

“The protest they organized was not violent in any way – and messages they sent to participants specifically warned against resorting to violence. The accusation that they were preparing mass riots is simply ludicrous. Sadly, the prospect of them seeing justice is grim and there is every reason to fear that they are looking at long sentences.”

The human rights activists are being prosecuted for trying to stage a peaceful protest in November 2017 in support of local residents who had lost their houses in mass fires in Rostov-on-Don (Southern Russia). They have been charged with the crimes of “attempting to organize civil unrest” (Article 30, part 3, Article 212, part 1 of the Russian Criminal Code) and “attempting to participate in civil unrest”, and face up to 15 years in jail if convicted.

Yan Sidorov and Vladislav Mordasov have been held in pre-trial detention, and Viacheslav Shashmin under house arrest since their arrest in November 2017. They are prisoners of conscience held solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights and must be released immediately and unconditionally.

Yan Sidorov and Viacheslav Shashmin were 18-years old when they were arrested. Vladislav Mordasov was 21-years old.

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