More signs that the assault on public and personal freedoms in the Russian Federation is gathering place in a truly unpleasant way. Khpg.org, the website which monitors civil liberty in Ukraine, has a report on the case of Alexei Sokolov, a Russian civil activist in Yekaterinburg who is involved in the defence of prisoners’ rights. A group led by Ludmila Alexeeva (head of the Moscow Helsinki Committee), Lev Ponomyarov and Ella Kesayeva (co-chair of Voice of Beslan) says that “imprisoning people well-known for their principled civic stand, respected civic figures, fuels disgruntlement in society and increases disillusionment in the justice system.”
Alexei Sokolov, who was appointed by the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation to a civic supervisory committee, was arrested in his own home in the morning of 13 May. The police’s version is that he is suspected of being involved in an attack in 2004 on the industrial base “UralTermoSvar” during which welding equipment and a cable were stolen.
The statement stresses that Alexei was treated roughly, beaten, pushed to the ground and handcuffs placed on him. All of this was in front of his two-year-old daughter who was wrenched from his arms. The police also tried to frisk Alexei’s wife who rushed out onto the street to her husband.
The whole report can be read here.