Moscow Police Detain Protesters Demanding Release Of Two 'Rostov' Activists


MOSCOW – Police in Moscow have detained several demonstrators who were demanding the immediate release of activists serving prison terms from the high-profile “Rostov case,” related to mass protests in 2017.

The single-person pickets, which do not require permission from city authorities, were held on July 23 in front of the Supreme Court as it looks into the appeals of two jailed activists from the southwestern city of Rostov-on-Don.

Members of the non-registered Other Russia opposition party, Mikhail Galyashkin, Andrei Plygach, Timofei Filin, and Natalya Krivolapova were among the detained activists.

In October, a court in Rostov-on-Don handed prison terms to three activists for mass disturbances that the media have dubbed the Rostov case.

Yan Sidorov and Vladislav Mordasov were convicted for the “attempted organization of mass disturbances” and were sentenced to 6 1/2 years and 6 years and 7 months, respectively, in a penal colony over protests in Rostov-on-Don.

Sidorov and Mordasov were 18 and 21 years old when they were detained in November 2017.

A third defendant in the case, Vyacheslav Shashmin, who was also 18 when he was arrested in 2017, was handed a suspended three-year prison term.

Amnesty International, which considers Sidorov and Mordasov to be prisoners of conscience, said they were prosecuted for trying to stage a peaceful protest in support of residents who had lost their houses in mass fires in Rostov-on-Don in August 2017.

The sentences came after a summer of protests in Moscow to demand free and fair municipal elections. Dozens of people have been fined or given jail sentences over the rallies.