Police Charge Squatter With Injuring Officers
Published: February 13, 2013 (Issue # 1746)
A man has been charged by the police and put in pre-trial custody as the result of last week’s police raid on an occupied warehouse at the now-defunct Warsaw Railroad Station. The group of anarchists and preservationists who were squatting in the historic building in an attempt to save it from impending demolition have expressed concern that more arrests and charges could follow.
Twenty-year-old Denis Levkin, one of the 20 activists detained at the site last week, was taken to St. Petersburg’s infamous Kresty Prison on Feb. 6 and charged with using life-threatening violence against a government representative.
The rest of the detained activists were released from the police precincts, where most of them were held for two nights.
The police said in a statement that three officers had sustained injuries during the raid, with two being hospitalized. According to the Investigative Committee, two officers sustained “closed head injuries, bruises and lacerations to the head.”
If found guilty, Levkin may be convicted to up to ten years in prison.
“He denies the charges,” Levkin’s lawyer Gleb Lavrentyev said by phone Tuesday.
“If any officers sustained some injuries, they were not inflicted by him. That has been his position over the case, and I essentially support it.”
According to Lavrentyev, no police officers were in fact hospitalized following the incident.
“One visited the GUVD (Main Department of Interior Affairs) hospital, where he headed after allegedly being injured, and where his injuries were documented; the other went to an emergency room,” Lavrentyev said.
“Both were out the same day, nobody was hospitalized; they both went with great gusto to testify against [Levkin].”
The Investigative Committee has released scarce information about Levkin, saying he is a student of one of the city’s vocational schools and was born in Tajikistan.
Earlier, the police said that two of the detained activists might face charges.
Speaking to The St. Petersburg Times on Tuesday, one activist who was at the site during the police raid said Levkin did not belong to the anarchist movement and was rather a “scenester.”
He said Levkin had been charged mistakenly, and expressed concern that the case might grow to include more people.
About 45 activists gathered in and near the warehouse in an attempt to defend the building on Feb. 4 when it was raided by the police.
Twenty were detained and charged with minor offences, such as arbitrariness, or taking the law into their own hands, as well as failure to obey a police officer’s orders and disorderly conduct.
They face fines, community work or short prison sentences of up to 15 days.