Press release of the campaign for the release of Khimki hostages
October 18, 2010
Khimki town court has ruled to change the pre-trial restriction for Maxim
Solopov from arrest to a written pledge not to leave town. The court
lasted from 11 am to 4 pm today, October 18, with a three-hour break for
preparation of the court ruling. Judge Svetlana Galanova has ruled to
release Maxim Solopov from the arrest immediately in the court room.
Maxim was released in echange for the guarantees provided by Lev
Ponomaryov, executive director of movement «For Human Rights», human
rights activists Sergey Kovalyov and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, State Duma
deputies Ilya Ponomaryov and Oleg Shein, as well as Maxim’s university
professors Galina Yershova, Dmitry Belyaev and Yekaterina Di Santo.
Human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov and profesor Yekaterina Di Santo were
present at the court hearings.
Yekaterina DiSanto testified in court for Maxim and told during the court
hearing that it is necessary to release Maxim in order for him to continue
his studies and pursue his career as a researcher. She told the court that
Maxim is «a very talented person, a good student and I’m glad that besides
that he is also an antifascist».
The prosecutors have presented to the court the same reasons for Maxim’s
arrest as before, which were not valid for ruling in favor of the renewal
of the arrest. The only new arguments provided by the investigator
Yermilov were the testimonies of some witness, which supposedly
incriminated Solopov, the photos which showed a person in black mask, who
was supposedly Solopov, and the document provided by the Federal Security
Service (FSB),that read that Maxim was detained on numerous occasions
during «illegal» manifestations. When asked how can you recognize Solopov
on these photos, Yermilov couldn’t provide any proof for his statements.
Maxim spoke in court and demanded that his own testimonies are considered
by the judges, including his statement that he was «taken as a hostage by
the unprofessionalism of the law enforcement agencies».
The testimonies provided by the investigators were proven wrong by the
defense — Maxim’s lawyer Yury Yeronin and human rights activist Lev
Ponomaryov. The latter indicated that during this court procedure not the
guilt of the suspect was to be established, but only the form of pre-trial
restriction was to be chosen. He also said that the procurator’s office
was currently checking the legality of the fact that Maxim was
interrogated in the absence of the lawyer and that he was subjected to
pressure by the investigators.
The court has considered the arguments of the defense and ruled to release
Maxim Solopov from the arrest.
«Everything that happened recently was considered. Both the wide social
support, the guarantees provided to the court, the speeches in court were
taken into account. This valuable result was possible due to all the
things that we did», said Lev Ponomaryov following the court ruling.
As part of the days of action, initiated by the Campaign for the release
of Khimki hostages, solidarity actions were held in 35 cities in 12
countries. Khimki town court and other administrative bodies in Russia
received hundreds of letters of protest from around the world, which
demanded to release the Khimki hostages and to stop the campaign of
falsification of evidence against them. This was partly due to the fact
that Alexey and Maxim are well known social activists, but also due to the
fact that the investigators used illegal methods when trying to get
evidence, including mass arrests of young people and torture. The
protocols of Maxim’s and Alexey’s detention were also falsified.
On October 15 Moscow regional court has annulled the previous decision of
Khimki town court for the prolongation of the arrest of another arrested
in the Khimki case, Alexey Gaskarov. His arrest is to be recosnidered by
the Khimki court some time before October 27.