Russian anarchist Dmitry Buchenkov received political asylum in Lithuania, the brother of the activist confirmed.
The 38-year-old associate professor of political science was charged with participating in riots and assaulting six police officers at the protest on the eve of President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration in May 2012. The rally was one of a series of large opposition protests sparked mainly by anger over evidence of widespread electoral fraud and dismay at Putin’s decision to return to the presidency after a four-year stint as prime minister. More than 30 people were prosecuted in connection with the protests, and more than 20 were sentenced to prison or served time in pretrial custody. One of the protestors was committed to a psychiatric hospital.
Buchenkov claims that he did not participate in the protest, as on that day, 6thMay 2012, he was staying with his parents in Nizhny Novgorod: about 250 miles from Moscow. This was confirmed by the road monitoring system, which recorded Buchenkov’s car travelling to Nizhny Novgorod on 5th May: the day before the protest, and then returning back to Moscow on the 8th May: two days after the protest. However, the court decided to ignore this evidence and approved an arrest warrant.
Dmitry was detained on 2nd December 2015 and on the following day he was sent to the Moscow SIZO-5 “Vodnik” prison, where he stayed for 15 months. While in custody, Dmitry Buchenkov was subjected to a special regime: a camera was installed in his cell, he was also denied friends and family visits, as well as communications with fellow prisoners. During his prison time, he was allowed to make no more than two phone calls.
In March 2017, he was transferred to house arrest, from which he fled in November 2017. This was possible only because he was not fit with electronic monitoring bracelet due to lack of resources. Later the district court arrested Buchenkov in absentia.
Shortly after his escape, Dmitry Buchenkov confirmed that he applied for asylum in one of the EU countries, but did not disclose which one. Now it is confirmed that last Monday Lithuania granted him asylum.
In November 2017, The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Russian authorities violated Article 5, Part 3 and 4 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms with respect to Buchenkov, guaranteeing a trial within a reasonable time and without delay the court’s consideration of the legality of his detention. He was awarded 2600 euro in compensation.