MOSCOW, June 6 (RIA Novosti) – A Moscow court ordered suspects in the case of the May 6, 2012 rally that turned violent on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square to be held in custody for another six months on Thursday, a court spokeswoman told RAPSI news agency.
In extending the suspects’ detention on the first day of the preliminary hearings into the case, Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky Court upheld a motion filed by the prosecutor, the spokeswoman said.
Ten suspects in the case who are being kept in a pre-trial detention facility will stay there for another six months, and the court also extended by six months an order for Alexandra Dukhanina’s house arrest and travel restrictions for Maria Baronina.
Over 650 people were detained at the May 6, 2012 rally on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration to a controversial third presidential term as police clashed with protesters.
Most were soon released, but a case was soon opened into what investigators called mass riots. The riot allegations are hotly disputed by the opposition, which blames the police for provoking the clashes and claims the case is political. Members of the Kremlin’s human rights council have also said the police provoked the violence.
The case of the 12 suspects, who face up to eight years in prison, is being heard separately from that of opposition leaders accused last fall of conspiring with a Georgian politician to organize nationwide disturbances – including the Bolotnaya Square unrest – with the aim of toppling Putin. Those charges were brought after a pro-Kremlin TV channel aired what it said was secretly recorded footage of the alleged plotters.
One of the men charged with the plot, Konstantin Lebedev, a former member of a pro-Kremlin youth group who went over to the opposition in 2004, pleaded guilty to the charges and was jailed in April for two and a half years.
Of the other men accused in that case, Left Front movement leader Sergei Udaltsov has been under house arrest since February and Left Front activist Leonid Razvozzhayev has been in custody since October.
All three men deny the charges, which could see them jailed for up to 10 years each, if found guilty.