Not every citizen present at an unauthorized rally can be considered its participant.
Such historical decision was delivered by O.A. Tonenkova, Justice of the Peace of the 2nd judicial district of the Sovietsky district of Nizhny Novgorod, who terminated administrative proceedings against chairman of INGO “Committee Against Torture” Igor Kalyapin for the lack of elements of an administrative offense in Mr. Kalyapin’s actions, thus acquitting him, basically.
We would like to remind you that on March 31, 2011 Igor Kalyapin was present at an assembly of Strategy 31 for the purpose of monitoring the police activity. When the police started detaining rally participants, Mr. Kalyapin admonished one of the officers asking him to introduce himself and produce his documents first. That was a good enough reason to detain Mr. Kalyapin and prepare an administrative offense protocol regarding his participation in an unauthorized rally.
This was confirmed by witnesses in the courtroom.
The court was not provided any other convincing and objective proofs of Kalyapin’s participation in the rally, but for the administrative offense protocol. Apparently, the police did not find it necessary to ground their position hoping that a protocol would be enough, as it used to be in such cases.
Lawyers of INGO “Committee Against Torture” believe that this judgment proves that Mr. Kalyapin’s detention was unlawful. Therefore, it is planned to appeal against unlawful detention, lodge a suit for compensation of moral damage and ensure punishment of those responsible.
It should be mentioned that such decisions are rather rare, as Russian authorities prefer to consider all people present in the vicinity of an unauthorized opposition rally its participants and bring them to administrative liability without exception, it is enough to recollect the notorious Dissenters’ Marches when the police detained even journalists. We hope that Nizhny Novgorod Themis will be as just and independent, and this decision will allow civil activists monitor police activities and maintain their legal interests in court.