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Second Russian Couple Could Lose Children For Bringing Them To Protest


Pyotr and Yelena Khomsky

For the second time in less than a month, a Moscow prosecutor wants to try to revoke the parental rights of a couple for bringing their children to a rally in the Russian capital.

The Apology of Protest human rights group said on August 26 that the Nikulinsky district prosecutor in Moscow had officially asked a local court to revoke the parental rights from Pyotr and Yelena Khomsky, who brought their children on August 3 to an unsanctioned demonstration against local election conditions.

According to the Apology of Protest, which said it will defend the couple in court, Pyotr Khomsky was characterized as a bodyguard for Russian opposition politician and anticorruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny. The Khomskys and their children were recorded on video attending the rally.

The Nikulinsky district court confirmed the case to the Interfax news agency, adding that a hearing has been scheduled for September 2.

The case follows a similar move on August 6 when the Moscow city prosecutor's office requested Dmitry and Olga Prokazov have their parental rights removed for bringing their 1-year-old son to an unsanctioned rally in front of the Moscow mayor's office on July 27.

That move by the prosecutor's office sparked harsh criticism among ordinary Muscovites and human rights organizations across Russia.

Several sanctioned and unsanctioned rallies have taken place in Moscow in recent weeks in which protesters have demanded that independent and opposition candidates be allowed to run in the upcoming municipal elections.

Police detained more than 1,300 people at the July 27 demonstration to demand free municipal polls, and more than 1,000 people were detained during a similar rally in Moscow on August 3.

Dozens of protesters have since been fined or given jail sentences for organizing and participating in the unsanctioned rally.

Several other are facing criminal charges for taking part in "mass unrest" and allegedly assaulting police and are being kept in pretrial detention until at least September 27.

With reporting by Interfax
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