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MOSCOW, March 6 (Itar-Tass) – The Moscow City Court on Wednesday upheld the decision to place leader of the Left Front movement Sergei Udaltsov, charged in the case of preparation of mass riots in Russia, under house arrest.
The appellate bench of the Moscow City Court turned down the appeal of Udaltsov’s defence lawyers who insist on his innocence and say that his freedom restriction is unlawful.
The investigator told the court about the established fact of preparation by Udaltsov of mass riots in Russia. “The case of the preparation of mass riots has been consolidated with the case of mass disorders on May 6, 2012, as the investigation believes that these crimes were committed by the same persons,” a representative of the Russian Investigative Committee (SK) stressed.
“Taking into account that criminal actions of Udaltsov were stopped at the stage of preparation, he may, if at large, carry through his plans. Udaltsov has extensive connections among public figures and in government agencies that he can use to put pressure on the investigation,” the SK official said.
The investigation, based on the testimony of witnesses, believes that Udaltsov violated his own recognisance not to leave. “Witnesses have testified that Udaltsov for a long time is absent at his place of permanent residence, he also switches off his telephone for a long time and has a foreign passport, and his family lives abroad,” the investigator summed up his position and asked the court to leave Udaltsov under house arrest.
The court hearings on the appeal were held in the Moscow City Court in the presence of several dozen of supporters of Udaltsov and a huge crowd of journalists. Security in the courtroom was provided by the special forces of the Ministry of Justice, which had to repeatedly rebuke the public. Udaltsov was received with applause and shouts “Freedom,” and after the announcement of the court ruling was leaving the courtroom to the shouting “Shame!”
During the complaint consideration Udaltsov voiced objections to the restriction of freedom. “Not a single piece of evidence that I did not observe my recognisance not to leave before my placement under house arrest has been presented to the court by the investigation. All this is concocted out of thin air in order to restrict my social and political activities,” he told the court.
According to Udaltsov, house arrest in many aspects is harsher than keeping in custody, because being under house arrest, the defendant is deprived of the opportunity to go for a walk and is doomed to financial difficulties. “For a whole month that I’ve spent under house arrest, the investigator came to me only once. But I am unable to feed my family, I’m cooped up indoors and becoming an anti-social person,” the opposition member concluded.
His lawyer Violetta Volkova insisted on unlawfulness of replacing the recognisance not to leave with house arrest. “We believe that the house arrest of Udaltsov in fact is motivated by only one thing: spring is coming, mass demonstrations are expected and it is necessary to restrict the freedom of Udaltsov,” said the lawyer. According to her, Udaltsov works as her assistant, is going to become a lawyer, but due to the house arrest he is unable to pass the qualifying examinations.
After the announcement of the court decision the defence lawyers stated they intend to appeal the ruling. “We did not hope for other decision, but we will continue to turn to courts,” lawyer Volkova said.