Campaign diary

Opposition activist gets one-year sentence in “mockery of justice”


Dmitri Borisov in court

by Sarah Hurst

Opposition activist Dmitri Borisov, 32, has been sentenced to a year in prison by a judge at Moscow’s Tverskoy court for allegedly injuring a policeman during the anti-corruption protest organised by Alexei Navalny on March 26 last year. Borisov has already been held in pre-trial detention for nine months. He was charged with kicking policeman Ilya Yerokhin in the head when Yerokhin and four other policemen forcibly detained him and beat him.

Yerokhin only made his complaint two months after the protests, and said that he experienced “physical pain” from the kick to his head, which was protected by a helmet. The prosecutor in the case rejected all the evidence from defence witnesses, saying that they “had an interest in the outcome” of the trial, while accepting Yerokhin’s testimony unquestioningly. The liberal Yabloko party issued a statement calling Borisov’s trial “a mockery of law and justice and another example of political repressions in Russia”.

“Lying scum”

When prosecutor Larisa Sergunyaeva called for a three-year sentence for Borisov and said there was no reason not to believe Yerokhin, former political prisoner Ildar Dadin shouted “Lying scum! You’ll go to prison for your false words!” and was removed from the courtroom, according to Dadin was tortured in prison in Karelia in November 2016, where he was serving a sentence for holding signs critical of Vladimir Putin. After an international campaign for his release, his sentence was overturned and Russian authorities agreed to pay him compensation.

“I’m only guilty of trying to stop my friend from being abducted,” Borisov said in court. “In my opinion you can’t grab people and drag them into a police van like cattle. On that day over 1,000 people were detained not even for an unauthorised rally, but for – I’ve thought about these words a lot – silent shame. People gathered there not to make a bloody revolution, but to remind our government to think a little, otherwise this really will lead to bloody uprisings.”

Borisov is a member of the “14%” opposition movement and for several years has been attending trials of Bolotnaya Square prisoners (jailed for protesting on May 6, 2012) and participating in public readings of the Russian Constitution.

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