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The Authorities Have Taken Another Hostage in the Khimki Case

Denis Solopov, who took part in the action outside the Khimki town hall on July 28, 2010, to protest the lawlessness of local authorities and the clear-cutting of the Khimki Forest, has been detained in Kyiv by local police.

 

The arrest took place on March 2, 2011, at the Kyiv Migration Service. Ukrainian authorities had just rejected Denis’s asylum application, a decision that Denis was planning to appeal in court. As stated on its web site, No Borders, a project of the human rights organization Social Action Center, suspects that migration service staff informed the police when Denis would be coming to their office, although they do not admit to this (see /redirect.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fnoborders.org.ua%2Fru%2Fo-nas%2Fnovosti%2Fykrainskaya-sistema-predostavleniya-statusa-bezhenca-opasna-dlya-bezhencev%2F).

On March 4, 2011, the Solomensky District Court in Kyiv ordered that Denis be kept in police custody for forty days. This ruling will be appealed in a higher court. Denis is represented by lawyer Anton Maximov, who was provided by the Kyiv office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Several months earlier, the UNHCR had officially recognized Denis Solopov as a political refugee, and from that moment he has had the status of a “mandate” refugee enjoying the protection of the UN. If he were extradited from Ukraine to Russia at the request of Russian police investigators, this would constitute a gross violation of international legal norms.

As the case of “Khimki hostages” Maxim Solopov and Alexei Gaskarov has shown, the investigation of those who took part in the July 28, 2010, demonstration has involved flagrant procedural violations, and there have been numerous instances when Moscow Region police officers have used torture to coerce witnesses into testifying. The first hearing in Maxim Solopov and Alexei Gaskarov’s trial has been scheduled for March 14, 2011, in the Khimki Municipal Court.

Denis Solopov is a suspect in this criminal case: prosecutors would like to charge him with violating Article 213 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code (disorderly conduct), and Moscow Region police investigators have placed him on the wanted list. Although there is no serious evidence in the case, Moscow Region police and prosecutors have used the fact that a few windows were broken during the demonstration as an excuse to unleash a full-scale campaign of persecution against social activists. Instead of investigating attacks on journalists and activists in Khimki, the local police continue to hunt down young people who took part in protest actions.

We will be closely following Denis Solopov’s case as it unfolds and will keep you updated as new details emerge.

You can find out more details about Denis’s arrest by calling any of the following phone numbers:

+7 915 212-7417 – Maxim Solopov, Denis’s brother

+380 44 288-9424 – Kyiv office of the UNHCR

+38 097 509-4062 – Irina Fedorovich, coordinator of the No Borders project, Social Action Center

Campaign for the Release of the Khimki Hostages