On June 2 preliminary hearing regarding the case of anarchist political prisoner Ilya Romanov from Nizhnii Novgorod was conducted in Moscow District Military Court. Ilya took part in the court session via video conference link. The court rejected all the petitions of the defendant's lawyer, Evgeny Gubin, including the petition to cancel his "non-disclosure" pledge, which the investigating bodies made him to sign.
Moscow District Military Court starts hearing of the Romanov's case on June 16 at 11:00. Sessions will be held in the building of Nizhegorodskii Regional Court (Russia, Nizhnii Novgorod, Bolshaya Pokrovskaya str., 17).
Nizhnii Novgorod regional departmentt of the Federal Security Service ("FSB") accuses Ilya of preparing a terrorist attack (the "attack" didn't occur at all) and an attempt for justification of terrorism. The very fact of such double "might-have-been terrorism" in Russian province (where nobody has seen a single terrorist throughout the recent history at all), performed by one political activist, tells directly about political bias in this case.
According to Ilya letters, the first charge is related to planning of an explosion in an unknown place in October 2013, in order to prevent destruction of the city parks by the authorities of Nizhnii Novgorod. Such a charge was caused by a tragic incident: a self-made cracker exploded in the hands of Ilya. The power of the cracker was estimated by examination as equal to 3 grams of trinitrotoluol. Ilya has been taken to a hospital due to wounds of his left hand, which has been amputated later. Ilya was arrested soon after this in the hospital ward and sent to the First pre-trial detention center of Nizhnii Novgorod, where he has now been staying for more than 1.5 years.
According to FSB officers, Romanov has been planning `to put pressure upon decisions of city officials' with this cracker. It is ironical that there were no city administration buildings nearby, and the tragic incident occured late at night.
As the key evidence for this charge, FSB provides the conclusion of its in-house computer expert, who `has found' a document with two lines of text full of grammar mistakes, containing threats to the city officials. The computer containing this document has been seized from an apartment which Romanov only visited from time to time, but did not live there. The computer's owner died in 2013. Nothing found in the Ilya's laptop or in his relatives' computers seized at his permanent residence. The original investigation materials on this document haв been '`lost', and after a long period of time the same officer prepared a second conclusion, affirming orally, that 'they are identical'.
As for the second accusation, Ilya is charged of 'attempting to justify terrorism' made in the first day of his release from a prison colony of Makeevka, Donetsk Region in the Ukraine. According to the investigation bodies, on December 8 of 2012, Ilya gave an interview to Donetsk anarchists (not identified yet), who were planning to distribute its record 'by means of radio broadcasting'. It is not known, whether that 'broadcasting' has been performed at all, that is why the charge has been formulated as 'an attempt to justify'. The political persecution for thoughts and views is clear here. Romanov does not plead guilty for any of the episodes.
Ilya Romanov is known for his writings and activism against violence in Ukrainian prison colonies. Prison authorities have persecuted Romanov twice: in the colony of Rovenki, for an attempt to inform the Ukrainian human rights ombudsman on back-breaking labour of prisoners on rock excavation, and in the colony of Luhansk, for disclosure of bribe extortions from prisoners.
There is a need for money to pay for lawyer's work during the current stage of proceedings.
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