Russian Opposition Activist Agrees to Robbery Case Closure

MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian activist charged with plotting to overthrow President Vladimir Putin has agreed to the closing of a robbery case against him in which the statute of limitations has expired.

Left Front activist Leonid Razvozzhayev said in a statement he “agrees to the closure of a criminal case” in which he was a suspect, his lawyer Dmitry Agranovsky said.

Agranovsky said he plans to lodge a petition demanding the robbery case against his client be dropped and Razvozzhayev, who has been recently transported to Irkutsk, East Siberia to face trial, should be allowed to “return to Moscow immediately.”

Russia’s Investigative Committee Spokesman Vladimir Markin said investigators have not so far received Razvozzhayev’s petition to close the robbery case.

“If we receive it, this means Razvozzhayev admits his guilt and requests the case be closed on non-exonerative grounds,” Markin said. Razvozzhayev will thus lose the right to demand compensation for illegal criminal proceedings and custody.

Razvozzhayev, who already faces up to ten years over allegations that he conspired to organize mass disorder, was also charged in November with robbing an Angarsk businessman of 500 fur hats and video cameras in 1997.

He denied the robbery charges, claiming they were dismissed 15 years ago over lack of evidence, and said the statute of limitations has already expired.

In October, Razvozzhayev was charged with plotting to destabilize Russia in a bid to overthrow President Putin. The charges were based on grainy, low-quality footage in a documentary aired by the NTV television channel, owned by state-run Gazprom energy company.

The jailed Russian opposition activist is also facing charges of illegally crossing Russia’s border with Ukraine to evade prosecution.

His case made international headlines in October after he told human rights workers that “masked men” had abducted him while he sought UN political asylum status in Kiev. He said his abductors had threatened to kill him and his two children if he did not confess to being involved in the plot and incriminate his “co-conspirators.”

Russia’s Investigative Committee said Razvozzhayev had been in “his right mind” when he signed the confession, but Razvozzhayev later retracted it.


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