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MOSCOW, April 1 (Itar-Tass) – Moscow’s Basmanny Court on Monday extended until August 6 the house arrest term for leader of the Left Front movement Sergei Udaltsov in the case of preparation of riots in Russia.
By her decision the court Judge Natalya Mushnikova granted the investigation motion, leaving Udaltsov under house arrest for four more months, for a total of up to five months and 28 days.
The investigation believes that being at large Udaltsov would put pressure on the witnesses, abscond or use his connections in non-governmental organisation for obstruction of justice. “At the moment the circumstances in which Udaltsov was placed under house arrest have not changed or failed,” investigator Timofei Grachev said.
He also stressed the need to restrict Udaltsov’s freedom in connection with the continuing search for other organisers of and participants in the riots and the investigation’s intention to charge new defendants in the case.
In her response speech in court Udaltsov’s defence lawyer Violetta Volkova spoke against the investigation motion granting, calling “far-fetched” the arguments that the defendant intends to abscond or exert pressure on the witnesses. Udaltsov himself told the court that he is in a critical financial and emotional condition because of his freedom of movement restriction.
As an alternative restraint measure for him Udaltsov filed a motion on his release on bail, and the bail money, he said, will be deposited by TV host Ksenia Sobchak. The representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office and investigation rejected the motion, believing that the bail will fail to ensure uninterrupted investigation process.
Judge Mushnikova in the ruling also rejected another request of the defendant - to allow him an hour’s daily walk for keeping physically fit. According to Udaltsov, the extension of the measure of restraint for him in its current form is capable of stirring up his “hatred against law enforcement agencies,” which he still “wholeheartedly loves.”
After the announcement of the court ruling, several dozen supporters of Udaltsov expressed their protest and no-confidence against the court. Udaltsov’s defence lawyers for their part declared the intention to file an appeal with the Moscow City Court against the court ruling.
Udaltsov was placed under house arrest on February 9, thus by the court decision he will spend in isolation a little less than six months. He is staying in his apartment in Zatonskaya Street, he is forbidden to leave the apartment, to communicate with anyone except the lawyers and close relatives, to use any means of communication, including telephone and the Internet. Udaltsov is charged within the case of rioting and violence against representatives of the authorities in Bolotnaya Square in Moscow, as well as with preparations for staging mass unrest in Russia.
On March 29, the Basmanny Court extended the term of custody for another defendant in the case of mass disorders - a leader of Left Front Leonid Razvozzhayev.
The case of the preparation of riots in Russia was opened after the NTV television channel showed the film “Anatomy of a Protest-2,” in which Udaltsov and his aides were negotiating with the head of the Georgian Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Security, Givi Targamadze, and discussed with him the preparation of mass riots and their financing from abroad.
The Russian Investigative Committee (SK) on January 10 consolidated this case with the case of the mass disorders in Bolotnaya Square in Moscow. The Bolotnaya Square case was opened after the events of May 6, 2012, when the government allowed the opposition forces to stage a rally in Bolotnaya Square of the RF capital. The rally turned into clashes with police and rioting. More than 400 people were detained on that day for wrongful acts, about 30 policemen and dozens of civilians were injured.
There are a total of 19 defendants in the Bolotnaya Square riots case, one suspect is wanted. Givi Targamadze was arrested in absentia by the Basmanny Court of Moscow and put on the international wanted list. Udaltsov’s aide Leonid Razvozzhayev is currently in a pre-trial detention centre, the other negotiator - Konstantin Lebedev, is under house arrest.