Russian Opposition Activist Sent to Siberia

MOSCOW, December 20 (RIA Novosti) – Russian opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev has been transferred to a facility in the east Siberian city of Angarsk in connection with a probe into an armed robbery that took place in 1997, his lawyer said on Thursday.

“Razvozzhayev has been transferred from Moscow to Angarsk as part of a criminal case against him over charges of robbery,” lawyer Dmitry Agranovsky told RAPSI news agency.

The Russian opposition activist, who already faces up to ten years over allegations that he conspired to organize mass disorder, was hit with these additional charges in November when investigators charged him with robbing an Angarsk businessman of 500 fur hats and video cameras.

Razvozzhayev denies these charges and claims they were dismissed 15 years ago over lack of evidence. The lawyer had earlier pointed out that the statute of limitations has already expired, and says he plans to appeal.

Last week, Moscow’s Basmanny district court ruled that Razvozzhayev should remain in jail until April 1, while the charge that he was involved in plotting mass riots is investigated.

In October, Razvozzhayev was charged with plotting to destabilize Russia in a bid to overthrow President Vladimir Putin. The charges were based on grainy, low-quality footage aired by the pro-Kremlin television channel NTV.

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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