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Russian pre-G8 repression begins

up to 100 already arrested before any demo begins!
Solidarity needed!
please spread this info, post on other IMC's, phone or do demo at Russian Embassies!
LINK ("Libertarian News and Information Collective") of the Anti-G8
Network (St. Petersburg G8).

Press-release no. 6,
July 11th, 2006

Contact to LINK: spb8media (at) riseup.net

LINK is not an official media representative of the SPB8 network.
Please read the notice at the end of the text.

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Chronicle of repressions.
>From St. Petersburg to Yekaterinburg activists are arrested, searched,
removed from trains and put into jail.

The summit of the "Big 8" planned not far from St. Petersburg is less
than a week away, as well as the events against the illegitimate "club
of 8" and its policies, the Russian Social Forum in particular.
Judging by the unfolding situation, the Russian structures of power
have decided to tackle the issue with force in the last week before
the summit.

Information about arrests, court cases, imprisonments, searches and
removals from trains of activists of the Network Against G8 (SPB8)
have become everyday occurrence. In the course of those actions, the
agents of power structures - the Ministry of Internal Affairs and it's
subdivision the FSB and the Prosecutor's Office are continuously
breaking both civil rights and legal norms. The courts pronounce harsh
sentences based solely on the testimonies of the security forces and
meant to isolate the activists until the end of the summit.

Based on the news available to the members of the LINK collective and
published on Russian Indymedia (russia.indymedia.org/ ), only
on Monday such cases have occurred in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Samara
and Yekaterinburg.

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St. Petersburg: "Bad apartment" and the case of gas masks.

This story - as if taken straight out of a detective novel - occurred
on July 9-10th in St. Petersburg. Sunday night July 9th, in the
northern part of the city two German activists who arrived in the city
with the bicycle caravan were arrested on the street to "check their
IDs". (Read more about the caravan here:
ru.indymedia.org/newswire/display/15042/index.php). The German
activists have shown passports at once, but they were nonetheless
taken to the police station, together with Lyosha from Tyumen who came
out to meet them wearing only his slippers.

The whole night and the whole day all three were held at the 36th
precinct of police on Yesenin 2 street
(ru.indymedia.org/newswire/display/15072/index.php). In the
evening they were driven to the court. Since the court couldn't find
any other charge with a semblance of truth, they were charged with
pissing in front of the front door of the house. The court session on
which representatives of the German consulate in St. Petersburg were
present as well as members of the public was adjourned and moved to
another building (Yesenina 7 street) and scheduled for 10 AM on July
11th. In the meantime, the Russian citizen felt bad and was
transported to the hospital on Vavilova 13 street.

Until the arrested were still at the 36th precinct of the police. On
July 10th, two Russian anarchists living in the same flat where the
German citizens tried to go and from which the Russian activist went
out in his slippers (and, as can be guessed, slippers have no pocket
that can hold a passport) went out to meet them. As a result, they
were taken themselves to the police station for "improper language".
The court sentenced them to 10 days of arrest. After 10 days, the
summit of the G8 will have passed.

After these arrests, the apartment from which all the arrested came
was marked as "bad" by Petersburg special services. Another activist
of the anarchist movement was taken by the police in unclear
circumstances that are not known so far. At some point she sent an SMS
message from the 57th precinct of the police which arrived at 9:07 PM
July 10th which read: "they are taking me to court, art. 280". Article
280 of the Criminal Code is "Public call for extremist activity".

That a court session could proceed so fast on a Criminal Code article
is unheard of. The lawyer of the arrested anarchist will take on the
case on the morning of July 11th.

Aside from these cases, on the July 10th two anarchists from St.
Petersburg were sentenced for 10 days in prison for what was called
"minor hooliganism". What did this act of "hooliganism" consist of?
Was it because the activists tried to buy gas masks on a market on the
Fermska Shossa and were arrested on July 8th by agents of the OMON? Or
was it because they had in their possession "antiglobalist" leaflets
and seven leaflets with practical advice written by the Petersburg
League of Anarchists on how to behave when arrested by the police, and
advice on the use of chemical equipment? However the sentence of 10
days in prison is quite easy to understand: it means that in the
following 10 days the authorities in Petersburg do not want to see
people interested in politics and in demonstrations on the streets of
the city.

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Moscow: The police are posing as "neighbours downstairs".

In Moscow on July 10 the local police and police from the Organised Crime
Department have visited an apartment the tenant of which has been keeping in
touch with the activists of the Youth Human Right Movement (MPD).
Out-of-town activists were temporarily staying there as they passed through
Moscow.

Around 1 p.m. somebody rang the bell of Anton Pominov's apartment saying
that his downstairs neighbours are flooded. After the doors were opened, the
"neighbours" turned out to be plainclothes police officers and a lieutenant
from the Organised Crime Department of the Central Administrative Disctrict
of Moscow. Without offering any sort of warrant they have entered the
apartment, interrogated Mr. Pominov and looked at the contents of their
notebook computer. The questions mostly concerned the MPD activists Nataliya
Zvyagina and Irina Aksyonova. Then the police has escorted Anton Pominov and
his notebook for a talk with the Central Administrative District
investigator D. A. Korobkov.

He has been asking Mr. Pominov about the circumstances of his acquaintance
with Ms. Zvyagina and Ms. Aksyonova, their relationship, the information
about them, their current whereabouts and plans. He was made to "promise"
that he doesn't intend to go to St. Petersburg in the run-up or during the
G8 summit. For his part, the investigator informed him that the action was
taken to fulfill the inquiry from The Federal Security Service (FSB) to
"work through" the activists twhose names and addresses were provided by the
FSB.

The actions of the authorities in this case are an obvious violation of the
law - or are simply outside of the law field.

---------------------------------

Samara: Criminal case reanimated.

In Samara July 10 has kicked off with a search. At 9 a.m. the apartments of
Daniil Vanchayev, Dmitriy Doroshenko, Rita Kavtorina, Dmitriy Treschanin,
Georgiy Kvantrishvili, Yelena Kuznetsova and Mikhail Gangan were broken into
by the groups of officers from FSB and District Organised Crime Department
(RUBOP) who have presented the search warrants. They undertook the search,
confiscating the computers' system blocks, data equipment and literature.
Besides that those searched were served with summons for July 14 to appear
at Oktyabrskiy district Prosecutor's office to meet senior investigator R.
S. Cheleshev.

All seven activists are connected with the antimilitarist action that took
place in Samara on February 23, 2006. During a theatre action people wearing
masks of "Minister of Defense" and "Commander in Chief" were sawing
conscript's legs off. Following the action the Prosecutor's office has
started a criminal case accusing them of "lack of respect (according to
other sources - insulting) the President". It was soon thereafter closed for
lack of the facts of the crime.

As the activists found out at 9 a.m. on July 10, the case was recently
reopened under the pressure from the FSB. It's again based on the article
319 in Russian Federation's Criminal code; the case number is 200611677.

It is obvious that the current actions of the authorities are connected with
the G8 summit. Many activists (who include anarchists, National Bolshevik
Party (NBP) members and people non involved in any organisations) were going
to go to St. Petersburg in the next few days. as they have been served with
summons for interrogation, they have to cancel the plans.

Potentially useful phone numbers:
R. S. Cheleshev, Senior investigator for Samara' Oktyabrskiy district
prosecutor's office
007(846) 334-85-51
Irina Anatoliyevna Skupova, Human rights representative for Samara region:
Phone 007(846) 332-82-87, fax 007 (846) 333-03-80 skupova (at) mail.ru

---------------------------------

Yekaterinburg: Detention of the trade union activists

Six people who travelled from Omsk to St. Petersburg to take part in the
Russian Social Forum were put off the train in Yekaterinburg on the night of
July 10. Four of them are activists of the Siberian Labour Confederation
(SKT), among them well-known figure in Russia's trade union and protest
movement Vasiliy Starostin and his 16 years old son Yegor Starostin. Two
more people belong to other organisations.

The operation was performed by two railroad policemen and some plainclothes
people. The activists were informed that their luggage might contain
forbidden or dangerous items. After they were screamed at and violently
pushed out of the carriage they were taken to the train station police
station. During the last phone conversation with them the activists
expressed fear the the police might plant something in their baggage. The
communication with them broke after 12 a.m. (Moscow time) and could not be
recommenced throughout the night. Two hours later it has become evident that
they were not only put off the train but also detained. They are still held
at the railroad police station at the Yekaterinburg train station. The
police do not deny the fact that the activists were put off the train but do
not provide any further information. The phone number of the police station
is 007 (343) 358-2018

Vasiliy Starostin has previously participated in Russian (Moscow, 2005) and
European Social Forums (Florence, 2002, Paris, 2003), in numerous
international trade union conferences. In the Spring of 2006 the Omsk office
of the SKT he helped found has suddenly burned down. The fire brigade has
arrived quickly but didn't start to put out the fire for quite some time.

According to the latest information which was received at 8:30 a.m. (Moscow
time) the Omsk activists were detained for "extremist statements that they
made on the train" and that the FSB is now dealing with them.

_____________________________________________________

There are already dozens of such cases. The pressure is put on the activists
of most different organisations, most importantly grassroots initiatives.
Everything indicates that the authorities have put their bet on power and
fear, completely disregarding even formal human rights and freedoms and
following the law. Such a tactic is very reflective of the G8 policies in
general: limiting and enforcing the rules, outrageous ise of force and total
lawlessness. A good picture of not only the current operation by the Russian
authorities but the G8 in general.

we call on the journalists not to ignore the information about people who
were repressed simply because they dared to have an opinion of their own. We
call on the activists from various regions and countries to support those
who are under pressure now. Help the activists in your region if you are in
Russia. Write, send fax messages, protest outside Russian embassies and
consulates if you are abroad. Russian activists need support and solidarity.