RUSSIA: Garry Kasparov Beaten, Arrested in Moscow Outside Pussy Riot Trial
MOSCOW (August 17, 2012)—HRF chairman Garry Kasparov was arrested and beaten by police today outside the courthouse in Moscow where three members of the punk rock group Pussy Riot were convicted of "hooliganism" and sentenced to two years in prison. Kasparov remains in custody at the time of this release in a police station, where authorities await further orders.
Kasparov was outside the courthouse intending to attend the trial, standing calmly and speaking with journalists. Kasparov was not protesting, but police cornered him and violently dragged him into a waiting police van where he was further assaulted, as this photograph shows. Kasparov spoke via phone from a police station after his arrest and stated that it appears the police are waiting for orders from above.
“This is the perfect Kremlin reply to those who talked about Russian liberalism under Putin or who believed in an acquittal for Pussy Riot or Putin’s talk about leniency,” Kasparov said.
It is estimated that as many as 50 other individuals were arrested outside the courthouse.
“If anyone had any doubts about the despotic nature of Russia’s regime, the arrest and violence used against someone simply standing outside a courthouse perfectly illustrates the dire situation in that country today,” said HRF president Thor Halvorssen.
HRF protects and promotes human rights. HRF believes that all human beings are entitled to freedom of self-determination, freedom from tyranny, the rights to speak freely, to associate with those of like mind, and to leave and enter their countries. Individuals in a free society must be accorded equal treatment and due process under law, and must have the opportunity to participate in the governments of their countries; HRF’s ideals likewise find expression in the conviction that all human beings have the right to be free from arbitrary detainment or exile and from interference and coercion in matters of conscience. HRF does not support nor condone violence. HRF’s International Council is chaired by pro-democracy activist Garry Kasparov, and includes former prisoners of conscience George Ayittey, Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Ramón J. Velásquez, Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu.
Thor Halvorssen, Human Rights Foundation, (212) 246.8486, firstname.lastname@example.org