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Rights Group Says Moscow Math Student A Political Prisoner

Azat Miftakhov (file photo)
Azat Miftakhov (file photo)

A prominent Russian human rights organization says a math student who may have been tortured in custody is a political prisoner.

In a March 26 statement, the Moscow-based Memorial contended that the arrest of Azat Miftakhov and the charges against him are politically motivated.

Memorial accused the authorities of fabricating a case against Miftakhov to damage the reputation of anarchists in Russia and in particular the group they claim he is a member of, People’s Self-Defense.

Miftakhov, 25, a postgraduate mathematics student at Moscow State University, was initially arrested on February 1 and accused of helping make an improvised bomb found in January in the city of Balashikha near Moscow.

The Public Monitoring Commission, a human rights group, said some time later that Miftakhov's body bore signs of torture that he said were the result of investigators unsuccessfully attempting to force him to confess to the bomb-making charge.

After the initial charge failed to hold, Miftakhov was released on February 7 but rearrested immediately and charged with involvement in an arson attack on the office of the ruling United Russia party in Moscow in January 2018.

Miftakhov has rejected both charges.

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