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Russian Prosecutors Seek Lengthy Prison Terms For Anarchist Couple In Chelyabinsk


The charges against the couple stem from their placing a large banner in February 2018 near the building of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Chelyabinsk, saying "FSB -- Main Terrorist."

Prosecutors in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk have asked a court to sentence an anarchist couple to six years in prison each on charges of hooliganism and vandalism motivated by hatred and enmity.

Pavel Chikov of the legal defense organization Agora wrote on Telegram that prosecutors asked the Central District court in the Ural's city to convict Dmitry Tsibukovsky and his wife Anastasia Safonova on August 30.

The charges against the couple stem from their placing a large banner in February 2018 near the building of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Chelyabinsk, saying "FSB -- Main Terrorist."

By placing the banner, Tsibukovsky and Safonova expressed their solidarity with a group of activists arrested in 2017-2018 for allegedly creating a terrorist group called Set (Network), with cells in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Penza, and Omsk, as well as in neighboring Belarus.

Last year, nine members of the group were convicted of terrorism and handed lengthy prison terms.

Amnesty International has called the terror charges "a figment of the Russian security services' imagination...fabricated in an attempt to silence these activists."

The London-based human rights watchdog maintains that the case is “the latest politically-motivated abuse of the justice system to target young people.”

Tsibukovsky and Safonova were initially arrested in 2018. Tsibukovsky said at the time that they were tortured while in custody. The case was closed twice after investigators failed to prove elements of a crime in the couple’s actions.

They were additionally charged with vandalism over graffiti protesting unpopular pension reforms in 2018.

The couple were rearrested in April 2020 and spent four months in pretrial detention before they were transferred to house arrest.

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