Russia: Navalny supporter faces three years in prison for sharing Rammstein video
A Russian court will deliver its verdict tomorrow in the case against activist Andrei Borovikov, who faces three years in prison if convicted of “spreading pornography” for sharing a video by German rock band Rammstein.
Andrei Borovikov was previously the coordinator of the regional headquarters of Aleksei Navalny in Arkhangelsk, northwestern Russia. In 2014 he shared the music video for Rammstein’s song Cat on the Russian social network VKontakte. More than six years later, in September 2020, authorities charged him with “producing and distributing pornography.” The prosecution called for a three-year sentence in a high-security penal colony if Andrei Borovikov is found guilty by the Lomonosovsky District Court.
“The case against Andrei Borovikov is absolutely absurd. It is obvious that he is being punished only for his activism, and not for his musical tastes, ”said Natalia Zviagina, director of Amnesty International’s Moscow office.
The case against Andrei Borovikov is utter nonsense. It is obvious that he is being punished only for his activism, not for his musical tastes
“This is not the first time that Russian authorities have used an overly broad definition of ‘pornography’ as a pretext to lock up their critics. Earlier this month, artist and feminist activist Yulia Tsvetkova was tried on pornography charges for her drawings of female bodies – it’s astonishing that cases like this are even taken to court.
“The prosecution of Andrei Borovikov is a travesty of justice, and we call for all charges against him to be dropped. The Russian authorities should focus on turning around the spiraling human rights crisis they created, not on devising ridiculous new ways to prosecute and silence their critics. ”
the Cat The music video Andrei Borikov released in 2014 caught the authorities’ attention six months ago, when a former volunteer from Borikov’s office informed the police. The volunteer secretly recorded his conversation with Borovikov about the video, in which Borovikov deleted it.
Nonetheless, authorities have opened a criminal investigation, which suggests the volunteer was employed as an agent provocateur to help fabricate the case. The prosecution said the video was viewed by “no less than two people” and then ordered “a sexological and cultural examination” of the clip. Experts considered it to be “pornographic in nature” and “not containing artistic merit”.
“Surely the Russian government has better things to do than take a chance as a cultural critic. For example, it should improve its dismal record on freedom of expression, ensure fair trial standards, release those detained for demonstrating peacefully and end politically motivated prosecutions of activists, ”said Natalia Zviagina.
The Russian authorities should focus on turning around the human rights crisis they created, not on devising ridiculous new ways to prosecute and silence their critics.
Andrei Borovikov, environmental activist and former coordinator of the Arkhangelsk regional headquarters of Aleksei Navalny, was charged with “producing and distributing pornography” (Article 242 (3) (b) of the Russian Criminal Code) in September 2020. Prior to that , in September. In 2019, he was sentenced to 400 hours of compulsory labor after being found guilty of “repeated violation of the established procedure for organizing or holding public events” (article 212.1 of the penal code) for having organized peaceful demonstrations against a local landfill project.