Activist Handed 4-Year Prison Term in ‘Warsaw Case’
Published: February 12, 2014 (Issue # 1797)
Denis Lyovkin, a 20-year-old activist held for more than one year in the so-called “Warsaw Case,” was sentenced to four years in prison Tuesday by Judge Irina Eizhvertina for assaulting two police officers at a protest. On Feb. 4, the state prosecutor asked that Lyovkin be sentenced to 4 1/2 years behind bars.
Lyovkin took part in an attempt to save a historic warehouse belonging to the now-defunct Warsaw Railway Station from demolition on Feb. 4, 2013, which is believed to be St. Petersburg’s first protest to result in criminal charges being brought.
The defense claimed that the indictment against Lyovkin is based purely on false evidence given by police officers.
Related: Railway Station Probe Continues to Unfold
The officers were allegedly injured when the police stormed the warehouse.
According to witnesses, police acted with force, knocking down and beating the protesters. At a police station, Lyovkin was singled out of the 22 detained activists and charged with assaulting the policemen, before being transferred to the Kresty prison. The remaining activists were charged with holding an illegal rally and disobeying police orders.
Testimony against Lyovkin was given by six police officers including the Admiralteisky District police chief Grigory Klebanov.
Related: Police Evict Warehouse Squatters in Violent Clashes
“That’s when much became clear to me. I understood that the investigation was over before it had even started,” Olga Lyovkina, the activist’s mother, told a news conference on Monday.
“The testimony by the police took away any hope for a fair and competent investigation.” Lyovkina said she had collected photographs to prove Lyovkin’s innocence herself, but they were completely ignored by the investigators.
“I understood the reason,” she said.“It’s elementary; if they admit the obvious — that Denis is not guilty — the testimony by the police officers headed by the Admiralteisky District police chief automatically become perjury, something that the system, that the investigators, could not let happen. The system short-circuited. Even the victims themselves are not interested in who assaulted them in reality. I did not expect that it would be so absurd.
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