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Pickets Held In Moscow In Support Of Convicted Rostov Activists

Yan Sidorov (left) and Vladislav Mordasov
Yan Sidorov (left) and Vladislav Mordasov

Individual pickets were held on October 26 in Moscow in support of two activists who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms earlier this month for organizing anti-government protests in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don in 2017.

On October 4, Yan Sidorov, 19, and Vladislav Mordasov, 24, were sentenced to 6 1/2 years and 6 years and 7 months, respectively, in a penal colony over protests in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don in 2017.

A third defendant, 20-year-old Vyacheslav Shashmin, was given three years of probation.

The pickets held in Moscow's Manezh Square demanded the release of all three young men convicted in the riot case.

Amnesty International has called the sentences a "deplorable act of injustice," saying Sidorov, Mordasov, and Shashmin were “prisoners of conscience detained solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

Sidorov and Shashmin were 18 years old when they were detained in November 2017, and Mordasov was 21.

The activists were prosecuted for allegedly planning to organize or take part in riots in Rostov-on-Don.

Investigators said they had called for public disturbances and planned attacks on police.

However, Amnesty International said the trio was prosecuted for trying to stage a peaceful protest in support of residents who had lost their houses in mass fires in the city in August 2017.

The sentences came after a summer of protests in Moscow to demand free and fair municipal elections. Several people have been sentenced to prison terms over the rallies.

On October 25, individual pickets were held in subway stations in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg demanding an end to the persecution of all participants in peaceful protests, including those sentenced during the summer protests.