House Arrest For Russian Math Instructor Accused Of Sharing Kanye West Video

A Moscow court has ordered a university instructor accused of trying to stoke mass disorder through anonymous Internet postings and republishing a Kanye West rap video be transferred from prison to house arrest.

The Presnensky district court also on July 24 restricted Dmitry Bogatov’s access to the Internet and his use of cell phones until the end of August.

Bogatov, a software programmer who also teaches math at a Moscow university, was arrested in April after being accused by law enforcement of writing a series of anonymous Internet posts “calling for mass disorder in central Moscow.”

The posts were tied to an unauthorized anticorruption demonstration in Moscow on April 2.

According to investigators, they called for people to bring weapons to Red Square. One also linked to a video clip by American rap stars Kanye West and Jay-Z, which shows demonstrators throwing Molotov cocktails and people clashing with riot police in what appears to be a European city.

Bogatov, 25, denied the charges, saying he never visited the Internet chat forum where the posts were published.

Dozens of people were detained during the April 2 protest, which came a week after thousands of people took to the streets in a rally organized by anticorruption activist Aleksei Navalny.

More than 1,000 were detained during the earlier demonstration.

Rights activists criticized the case against Bogatov, saying he was targeted because of his use of Tor, an Internet tool that shields users’ identities from surveillance.

Russia in recent years has stepped up its policing of online content it deems extremist in nature.

It has also prosecuted government critics over Internet posts that free speech advocates say are protected by the constitution.

Russian security agencies have also aggressively sought to curtail the use of anonymizing software like Tor and encrypted chat technology.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Russian Service and Current Time TV