Prosecutors Play Secret Footage

Prosecutors Play Secret Footage

Published: June 21, 2012 (Issue # 1713)

The prosecution continued its attempts Tuesday to prove that The Other Russia’s activists on trial in the city were members of the banned National Bolshevik Party (NBP). They did so by playing videos of the activists meetings, held at an apartment on Lesnoi Prospekt in 2009.

Andrei Dmitriyev, the local leader of the Other Russia party in St. Petersburg, Andrei Pesotsky and Alexei Marochkin have been charged with organizing activities of a banned organization and face up to four years in prison. Vladislav Ivakhnik, Andrei Milyuk, Oleg Petrov, Vadim Mamedov, Ravil Bashirov, Roman Khrenov, Alexander Yashin, Alexei Zentsov and Igor Boikov have been charged with participating in such activities and face up to two years in prison.

Dubbed “the Trial of 12,” the proceedings have been criticized as an attempt to silence the opposition.

The prosecution claims that the activists’ meetings were assemblies of the banned NBP, but the videos shown in court so far have given no evidence of that. Shot during seven meetings held in July and August of 2009, they contained mostly the recorded voices of people who could not be seen, as the hidden camera was installed over a door and only the hallway, a window and the door to the room where the meetings were held could be seen.

During the recorded meetings, the unseen speakers discussed author and opposition leader Eduard Limonov’s trips to different Russian cities, protest rallies in Moscow and Gazprom’s controversial Okhta Center skyscraper project, which was abandoned following public protests in December 2010.

Pesotsky’s lawyer, Olga Tseitlina, repeatedly said in court that such videos could not be taken into account as they were obtained as a result of police provocation. The camera-equipped apartment was offered to the activists by an undercover police agent with the aim of gathering NBP members in one place where they could be spied on, according to counter-extremist Center E officer Dmitry Gryaznov. The voices on the tapes could also not be attributed to the defendants because of a lack of proper analysis equipment and specialists to run the tests.

“There are no symbols, no signs, no flags [in the video], the voices are behind the scenes, we can’t determine who they belong to at the moment without a witness being interrogated,” Tseitlina said after the session’s last video was played Tuesday.

“Socially important issues are discussed [in the video], in particular the Gazprom skyscraper project and a resistance strategy against this construction project — there is nothing illegal in that.”

She added that the protests discussed during the meetings were not the ones that the defendants were charged with organizing, and that the meetings themselves were not public assemblies. She also added that what was said during the meetings was covered under freedom of speech, which is a guaranteed right under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Russian constitution.

Leave a comment