Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Russian Judges Arresting Six Times More of Detainees than They did Two Years Ago, Project Media Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 1 – Official repression of protesters in Russia occurs at the site of the demonstrations where police detain participants and in courtrooms where judges formally arrest some of those detained and impose punishments ranging from fines to times in jail. The former is easily observed and widely reported; the latter more difficult to track.

            That makes a new study by the Project Media group especially valuable. It compared how courts handled those detained at demonstrations in 2019 with how they have so far this year, primarily in dealing with the three protests associated with the Aleksey Navalny case (proekt.media/research/statistika-arestov-mitingi/).

            The group found that judges placed under arrest this year some 33 percent of the 4,000 people the police detained, a significant increase of the five percent who were formally arrested two years ago. And in another indication of hardening, judges increasingly incarcerated women. They formed 15 percent of the arrested this year, as opposed to five percent in 2019.

            And in a sign that the police are rounding up people more quickly and less carefully than they did, judges are returning documentation about the detained to the police for reprocessing five times more often than they did two years ago. In 2019, judges did so in only 1.4 percent of the cases; now, they are doing so in 6.5 percent.

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