The prosecutor in charge of the so-called “Network” aka Penza/St Petersburgh case demanded on 26th December prison time between 6 and 18 years for seven defendants. If convicted, all but two will serve their sentences in a high-security prison colony.
The Network case had begun in October 2017, when the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested six people in Penza, western Russia, accusing them of participation in a terrorist organisation “The Network”. Two other Penza residents disappeared and were put on the wanted list by the FSB. They were subsequently detained in Moscow. In January 2018, two more people were arrested in the same case, and, in April that year, charges were brought against one more person.
Most of the defendants in the Network case are antifascists and anarchists. They stand accused of participating in “anarchist terrorist community” intending to use bombs to trigger “destabilisation of the political climate in the country” during the Russian presidential elections in March 2018 and the football World Cup held in the country in July that year. The Network allegedly had cells functioning in Moscow, Petersburg, Penza, and Belarus.
According to the prosecution, the “anarchist terrorist community” was set up in May 2015. After the group formation, the defendants allegedly “assigned roles among themselves and explored ways of committing crimes” in order to overthrow the Russian regime by “establishing combat groups and recruiting individuals who shared their anarchist ideology.”
The activists claimed that they were tortured to extract confessions and that weapons and other incriminating materials were planted by the Russian police in their flats and cars. Despite repeated claims of torture, evidence supporting such claims, and the FSB itself describing electrocuting one of the detained activists as “professional necessity”, no investigation against the FSB commenced. However, the highly anticipated trial of the accused anarchists begun in front of three judges from Volga District Military Court in April 2019, amid presence of riot cops, regular police, media and supporters.
The next court hearing, during which the defence will be heard, is scheduled for 13th January 2019.
What can you do to support the Russian antifascists and anarchists who have been tortured and imprisoned by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB)?
- Donate money to the Anarchist Black Cross via PayPal ([email protected]). Make sure to specify your donation is earmarked for “Rupression.”
- Spread the word about the Network Case aka the Penza-Petersburg “terrorism” case. You can find more information about the case and in-depth articles translated into English on this website.
- Organize solidarity events where you live to raise money and publicize the plight of the tortured Penza and Petersburg antifascists.
- If you have the time and means to design, produce, and sell solidarity merchandise, please write to [email protected].
- Design a solidarity postcard that can be printed and used by others to send messages of support to the prisoners. Send your ideas to [email protected].
- Write letters of support to the prisoners and their loved ones via [email protected].