Campaign diary

Protester gets 18 months in prison

Screenshot (3588)

Screenshot from video of police detaining Dmitri Krepkin in Moscow on March 26/Grani.ru

by Sarah Hurst

A judge in Moscow has sentenced 33-year-old repair man Dmitri Krepkin to 18 months in prison for allegedly causing “serious pain” to an OMON riot policeman during the anti-corruption protest organised by Alexei Navalny on March 26. As Grani.ru reported, Krepkin was accused of hurting policeman Mikhail Zvonarev’s arm, although he actually lashed out at Zvonarev’s rubber baton to stop him from hitting other protesters. The prosecutor had asked for a three-year prison sentence.

“We planned to have a peaceful gathering, but people were loaded into [police] buses like cattle,” Krepkin said during his trial. “We should be critical about the evidence of the ‘victim’, and as I realised today, doubly critical,” Krepkin’s lawyer Ilnur Sharapov said during his concluding statement. “You yourselves saw how he got confused today about the details of his uniform and equipment. From these details you can tell that the person was lying. Today I even started doubting that it was Zvonarev in the video,” he added. Only the policeman’s back was visible in the video of the incident.

Trying to help other protesters

Krepkin pled not guilty and pointed out that he was wearing bright orange during the protest – not a neutral colour that he might wear if planning to commit some kind of illegal act. Arrests made on the day were illegal because protesters hadn’t done anything wrong, he told the court. “I couldn’t do much about it, but nor could I ignore it,” he added. “I was hoping to attract attention, to make the policeman a little angry, to distract him from the person he had detained.” Despite Krepkin’s words, the judge said that he had partly admitted his guilt.

Krepkin was protesting for the first time on March 26 and was severely beaten by police after being detained on the day, with bruises being seen all over his body in a medical examination. He was then released and detained on May 16 as a suspect in a criminal case.

“I admit that I acted like a bit of a hooligan, but no one suffered from that. I didn’t beat the person who is considered the victim,” Krepkin told the court in his final statement. “Thank you to everyone who gave up their time and came to support me.”

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