Up to 18 years in Сolony: the “Network” Case

The Volga District Military Court sentenced seven members of “Network” terrorist organization to jail, as Stanislav Fomenko, lawyer for convicted Andrei Chernov, told Interfax.

Фигуранты дела "Сети"
The defendants

The longest term – 18 years of the colony – was given to Dmitry Pchelintsev, Ilya Shakursky recieved 16 years, Andrei Chernov – 14 years, Maxim Ivankin – 13 years, Mikhail Kulkov – 10 years, Vasily Kuksov – 9 years, Arman Sangynbaev – 6 years.

Five persons involved will serve their sentences in a maximum security penal colony, two – Kuksov and Sangynbaev – will be in a general penal colony. Each of the participants was credited with the period of stay in the pre-trial detention center.

Young people were charged with the following articles of the Criminal Code: participation in the terrorist community, illegal acquisition of ammunition, as well as explosives, attempted drug sales.

According to the resource of “Mediazona”, the judge decided to destroy the “means of committing a crime that are not of value.” The court included Karl Marx’s “Capital”, a shooting manual, a GRU special forces textbook, and a number of anarchist publications.

The Network Case was instituted by the FSB in 2017,with 11 people from Penza, Moscow and St. Petersburg involved. Intelligence agencies put forward the version that community members sought to “destabilize the situation in the country” by planning terrorist attacks.

Earlier, one of the “Network” members was tried in St. Petersburg and sentenced to 3.5 years in prison.

Фигурант дела "Сети" Виктор Филинков
“Network” member Victor Filinkov

On January 17, 2019, the Moscow District Military Court declared the “Network” organization to be terrorist.

The case defendants claimed more than once about being tortured in the period after detention. Liberal human rights activists, for example, Nikolai Svanidze and Lev Ponomaryov, tried to promote this topic.

“The sentence is severe. We have dealt with this case, the defendants were seriously tortured. This sentence seems to me unlawful, not to mention the outstandingly long sentences that people received,” Nikolai Svanidze told Interfax on Monday.

Lev Ponomarev notes that the defendants “did nothing, there was absolutely no participation in the terrorist acts”:

“This verdict concerns all young people who think. This is a warning to dozens, hundreds of thousands of young people in Russia. The reaction of society is necessary. The authorities demonstrated dominance and arrogance. We managed to unite and speak out on Ivan Golunov’s case, whether it will be possible now – I don’t know, and I don’t know what to do,” Ponomarev said.

Правозащитник Лев Пономарёв вышел на пикет в поддержку фигурантов дела "Сети"
Lev Ponomarev supporting the “Network” case defendants

The entire situation is unprecedented in modern Russia, in relation to citizens of the country who did not or did not manage to do anything illegal. The prosecution, in order to prove the terrorist implication of the youth’s actions, allowed a number of completely outrageous situations.

The persons involved in the “Network” case were interested in the military sports airsoft game and conducted trainings, which, according to one of the lawyers, was regarded by the prosecution as “illegal mastery of survival skills in the forest and first aid,” Medusa said in June 2018.

“Well, Dmitry, you went against the state, and we don’t like such a thing, you will simply be pulverized. You definitely won’t win, the court won’t understand anything at all, the judges are just sitting there, they don’t care about you at all, they will do it, as the FSB says, you’re zero here, nobody,” the investigator told Dmitry Pchelintsev.

18 years in a maximum security colony for airsoft games and gunpowder storage. We don’t know whether these guys were just boys playing “war” in the forest on weekends with beer and barbecue, or did the anti-fascists really plan a series of actions against the state. None of them deserved 18 years in prison anyway.

The “Network” defendants were chosen to be used as an example, to scare future generations of left-wing fighters. Will it work? Time will tell.

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