A Russian court is set to hear on October 27 the appeal of an activist who was jailed over a satirical video featuring a mannequin of President Vladimir Putin.
Aleksandr Shabarchin will have his appeal heard by Perm Krai Court after being sentenced in August to two years in a penal colony for “premeditated violation of the public order committed by a group of people.”
Ahead of the hearing, Amnesty International called for Shabarchin’s immediate and unconditional release, saying the activist was “a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for the exercise of his right to freedom of expression.”
The London-based human rights group also called for the conviction of fellow activist Danila Vasiliev to be overturned.
Vasiliev, who was under 18 at the time of the incident, received a one-year suspended sentence and a year’s probation in the same case.
Shabarchin and Vasiliev were arrested in November 2018 after they taped a mannequin wearing a mask of Putin to a lamppost in Perm’s city center.
The words “liar” and “war criminal” were written on the mannequin.
A video featuring actors “interrogating” the mannequin was later uploaded to YouTube.
The prosecutor alleged that the activists disrupted social order by actions motivated by political, ideological, and social hatred.
But Natalia Prilutskaya, Amnesty International’s Russia researcher, said that although the video “may have been offensive or disturbing to some, [Shabarchin’s] action falls within the scope of the right to freedom of expression.”
“He did not call for violence and his arrest is typical of the Russian authorities’ harsh response to criticism,” Prilutskaya added.