Journalist Alyona Sadovskaya was detained during a picket in support of defendants in the Ingush case outside the Essentuki city court where mobile sessions are being held. This was reported to Fortanga by Alena herself.

According to her, she was standing with posters «No to political reprisals. Let the innocent go», when police officers approached her and demanded her documents. «They checked the documents, called somewhere and dictated the content of my posters and demanded to write an explanation. They said that I was violating law 54, because solitary pickets with the use of collapsible constructions and posters can’t be held», — said the activist.

Later, according to Alena Sadovskaya, she was taken to the police department of Essentuki, where a report was drawn up. The journalist refused to testify under Article 51 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

«I was in the IAB for forty minutes, they tried to make me take a photo, but I refused. The officer admitted in a conversation with me that the picket was legal, but said that I had been brought to take an explanation as to why I was standing there. Then they let me out», — said the journalist.

Sadouskaya told Fortanga that she disagreed with the fact that the protest leaders became criminal defendants only for exercising their legal right to express their opinions. It noted that this was a political case and that it was an act of intimidation against civil society.

«I think it’s unacceptable that they have been kept in jail for two years on trumped-up charges, which not even one of the prosecution witnesses confirms, and everyone says that they have not violated anything. And I demand that they be transferred to house arrest at least for the duration of the trial and stop abusing people,» stressed the activist.

The case of the Ingush protest leaders is being considered by the Kislovodsk city court. In the dock are Akhmed Barakhoyev, Malsag Uzhakhov, Musa Malsagov, Ismail Nalgiyev, Barakh Chemurziyev, Bagaudin Khautiyev and Zarifa Sautieva. The latter was released under house arrest on 10 March, but the prosecutor appealed the decision in the Stavropol Territorial Court and the activist was returned to custody. The rest of the defendants went on hunger strike on this occasion. Earlier, on February 26, former Interior Minister Akhmed Pogorov, who has been on the federal wanted list since April 2019, was detained in this case.

Rallies against the agreement on new borders with Chechnya were held in Ingushetia in 2018. In March 2019, protesters demanded the resignation of Ingushetia’s head Yevkurov and the return of direct elections, but the protest was suppressed by security forces. As a result of the action, 48 criminal cases were initiated under the article on violence against representatives of authorities. The case of the protest leaders was separated into separate proceedings. They are charged with organizing violence against representatives of the authorities, creation and participation in an extremist community. Memorial* called the case politically motivated and recognized several leaders and protesters as political prisoners.

* — the organization was included in the register of NGOs performing the functions of a foreign agent by the decision of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation

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