Staunton, November 18 – As in most countries, prosecutors in Russia sometimes hold out the promise of reduced sentences for those charged with political crimes like participation in demonstrations if they will admit their guilt. But an investigation by Viktoriya Li of the MBK news agency says that officials often go back on their word.
She reports on several such cases that have occurred recently against the background that Russian courts convict approximately 99 percent of those brought to trial. Lawyers for political defendants say, Li says, that “even if the case is a political one and the individual really could receive a shorter sentence, he must decide for himself whether to do so or not” (mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/chto-proisxodit-s-figurantami/
Would anyone admit murdering someone if he or she hadn’t? But people feel the pressures of the situation differently and one can’t know how one would react unless one is there.
At the same time, everyone charged with a political crime must know as well that prosecutors often don't keep their promises and so admitting to something one hasn't done is not necessarily the best strategy as it can and will be used against anyone who does so.