14:30 25.10.2012

Amnesty International could declare Leonid Razvozzhayev prisoner of conscience

Amnesty International human rights organization is considering the possibility of recognizing Russian opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev, who claims to have been abducted in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and tortured, as a prisoner of conscience.

"We are considering this issue [possible recognition of Razvozzhayev as a prisoner of conscience]," director of the Amnesty International office in Russia Sergei Nikitin told Interfax on Thursday.

"We are studying all of the materials available to us very carefully," he said.

On October 17, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against Left Front coordinator Sergei Udaltsov, his assistant Konstantin Lebedev, and Razvozzhayev, who is an assistant to State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomaryov, accusing them of organizing mass riots under Articles 30 and 212 of the Russian Criminal Code. The criminal case was opened based on the probe into information given in the film Anatomy of Protest 2, which aired on NTV television on October 5.

On the same day, Udaltsov and Lebedev were summoned to the Investigative Committee as suspects and their residences were searched. Lebedev was detained for 48 hours and Udaltsov was released after giving his written promise not to leave Moscow. The Moscow Basmanny Court later arrested Lebedev until December 16. The investigators were not able to find Razvozzhayev.

On October 19, a federal search warrant was issued for Razvozzhayev. On October 21, State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomaryov said his assistant had been detained in Kyiv, where he had asked for political asylum, and was taken to Moscow.

The Investigative Committee said Razvozzhayev turned himself in to the Main Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee and "gave a detailed account of the circumstances surrounding the preparations by him, Left Front coordinator Sergei Udaltsov, and other people for organizing mass riots on the territory of Russia and the involvement of those persons in the mass riots that occurred on Bolotnaya Square on May 6."

According to earlier reports, Udaltsov was summoned to come to the Investigative Committee on October 26 to be charged in the criminal case involving the organization of mass riots.

In the meantime, human rights activists believe Razvozzhayev was forced to testify against opposition leaders Sergei Udaltsov and Alexei Navalny

"[Razvozzhayev] believes that he was asked questions to which he was expected to give answers compromising Navalny and Udaltsov," Lidiya Dubikova, a member of the Public Observer Commission, told a press conference at the Interfax central office on Wednesday.

Zoya Svetova, secretary of the Public Observer Commission, said Razvozzhayev has tried to recant his testimony against Udaltsov and Navalny. "He told us everything he said in his statement when he turned himself in to the police is untrue," Svetova said.

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