Picket organizer acquitted

27.11.2013
This post is also available in: Russian

An administrative case against A.Yakimov, one of the organizers of the picket in memory of Timur Kacharava in 2012, which allegedly had “exceeded the maximal number of participants” (Article 20.2 of the Code on administrative violations), has broken some records for the duration of the consideration. Court procedures on this case continued for more than a year!

“Not guilty” verdict rendered in the case on November 15, 2013 by the Smolny district court judge N. Bayeva contains the testimony of the police officers, which demonstrated the absurdity of the prosecutor’s arguments, especially given the persistence with which the police officers tried to pursue the case despite the long-expired period for court consideration of an administrative violation. As it is stated in court’s decision, representative of the Ministry of interior’s directorate for Central district of Saint Petersburg Mrs. Lozovaya was present at the court hearings and she supported the arguments given by the police officer in an appeal against the decision of the Justice of Peace. In the course of the court hearings she explained that “Yakimov had not acted to restore order”, in particular, he “hadn’t approached police officers with a request to restore order”. Police inspector Afanasyev had testified during the interview that police officers had approached Yakimov after they had discovered that the picket created obstacles to people entering the bus with their luggage and that they “had asked Yakimov as the person responsible for the picket to observe order, but the latter had been passive”. The only thing that they had added to testimony of his passivity was the explanation provided by Lozovaya, that “being unable to deal with the situation, Yakimov didn’t do anything and instead had been handing out leaflets”.

However, contrary to the arguments presented by Lozovaya, the police officer stated that Yakimov was considered “passive” because he “had approached people, asked them to free passage in order to leave some space for  passage and had done so several times”. In this case it is not clear what should an “active” approach of a person (who was not even the main organizer of the picket) mean.

After the police officers saw that this had no positive effect, they had interfered with the situation, prevented breach of order, divided the participants of the picket into two halves, which were situated on both sides of the pedestrian passage. At the end of his testimony police officer Afanasyev stated that “no great consequences had occurred because the police officers had acted adequately in order to restore public order”.

It should be pointed out that among other things Afanasyev made an important testimony that “the issue of maximal number of people allowed on a particular territory was not within the competence of the directorate of the Ministry of interior”. It remains unclear whether this should be considered as an admission by the police that it had acted beyond its competence when it had informed the organizer about the breach of the maximal possible number of participants for the given space and following that had tried to call him to administrative responsibility, having detained him right after the event.

Court decision (in Russian):   Решение