Moscow Court Prolongs Pretrial Detention Of Young Mathematician

MOSCOW -- A court in Moscow has prolonged the pretrial detention of Azat Miftakhov, a mathematician who says he was tortured while being detained a year ago on hooliganism charges.

The Moscow City Court late on February 4 extended Miftakhov's detention until April 7, rejecting his lawyers' request to transfer their client to house arrest or release him on bail.

Miftakhov, 25, a postgraduate mathematics student at the Moscow State University, was arrested on February 1, 2019, and accused of helping make an improvised bomb found in January in the city of Balashikha near Moscow.

The Public Monitoring Commission, a human rights group, has said that Miftakhov's body bore the signs of torture, which the student claimed were the result of investigators unsuccessfully attempting to force him to confess to the bomb-making charge. Others who were detained along with Miftakhov, but later released, have also claimed to have been beaten by police.

Miftakhov was released on February 7, 2019 after the initial charge failed to hold, but he was rearrested immediately and charged with involvement in an arson attack on the ruling United Russia's office in Moscow in January 2018.

Miftakhov has rejected all of the charges and believes he may have been targeted by police because of his anarchist views.

A prominent Russian human rights organization, Memorial, has recognized Miftakhov as a political prisoner.

A series of demonstrations demanding Miftakhov's immediate release have been held in Moscow and other cities in Russia since his arrest.

With reporting by Novaya Gazeta