Russia: Opposition Activists Sentenced to Prison; Gaskarov & Margolin - 3.5 years, Guschin - 2.5 years
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In Above Photo: Bolotnaya Square Defendants [L-R] Alexi Gaskarov, Ilya Guschin, Yelena Kokhtareva and Alexander Margolin
Grani.Ru: Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky District Court on Monday found four opposition activists guilty on all counts charged of "inciting mass riots" related to participation in Moscow's 6 May, 2012 Anti Putin Bolotnaya Square protests. Alexei Gaskarov and Alexander Margolin were sentenced to 3.5 years in prison each. Ilya Guschin was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. Yelena Kokhtareva received a 39-month suspended sentence.
Following the verdict being read, three activists unfurled a banner at the entrance of the courthouse that read: “Russia is not a prison", They, as well as nine other people were detained by police.
An estimated 200 people were outside the courthouse in support of the Bolotnaya Square prisoners. Many of them chanted “freedom!” as a police van drove the twelve arrested protesters away from the courthouse.
Pussy Riot member, Nadezhda [Nadya Tolokno] Tolokonnikova, joined protesters outside the court after the sentences were handed down. She told reporters that the prison terms were harsh.“For the same kind of civil cases, people are usually fined 500 roubles or are detained for 48 hours if they have already committed similar civil offences, But these guys were given three and a half years for nothing.”
A banner was dropped opposite the Moscow court where the Bolotnaya Square defendants were sentenced that read: "Putin's fake trials are a disgrace to Russia". The banner hung there for a few minutes before police were able to take it down.
On 4 August, 28-year-old well known antifascist and member of the Coordination Council of Russian Opposition, Alexey Gaskarov, made his closing statement in court in which he concluded by saying, “If, in this country, the way to freedom runs through prison, we are ready to go”.