Court Hands Down Sentences in BARS Trial: From Three to Eight Years in Prison
April 17, 2020
In a circuit session at the Baltic Fleet Court, the Second Western Military District Court has sentenced the defendants in the trial of the Baltic Vanguard of the Russian Resistance (BARS) to up to eight years in prison, reports Mediazona, citing attorney Mikhail Uvarov from the Agora human rights group.
Nikolai Sentsov and Alexander Orshulevich. Photo by Oleg Zurman. Courtesy of Mediazona and OVD Info
Alexander Orshulevich was sentenced to eight years in a medium-security penal colony, while Alexander Mamayev and Igor Ivanov were sentenced to six years. Although Nikolai Sentsov was sentenced to three years in a work-release colony, he was freed in the courtroom for time served in remand prison.
Orshulevich, Mamayev, and Ivanov were found guilty of making public calls to engage in terrorist and extremist activity, punishable under Articles 205.2 and 280.1, respectively, of the Russian Criminal Code. Orshulevich was also found guilty of creating an extremist community (Article 282.1.1), and Mamayev and Ivanov were found guilty of involvement in a terrorist community (Article 282.1.2). Sentsov was charged only with possession of firearms and explosives, punishable under Articles 222.1 and 222.1.1, respectively.
The prosecutor’s office had asked for sentences between six and ten years in prison for the accused men, who denied all wrongdoing.
aAlexander Mamayev and Igor Ivanov. Photo by Oleg Zurman. Courtesy of Mediazona and OVD Info
According to investigators, the members of BARS, a monarchist organization, were planning to forcibly annex Kaliningrad Region to the European Union . To achieve their goals, according to investigators, the accused were planning to use stencils to paint extremist inscriptions on walls. The defense claimed that these stencils were planted by law enforcement officers during searches.
Initially, all four men were charged with “extremism,” but then the indictment was changed to more serious charges—organizing and being involved in a “terrorist community.” Orshulevich was then indicted on five charges. In early April, the court reclassified the charges: three of the defendants now faced “extremist community” charges, while Sentsov faced only the possession charge.
Orshulevich, who is accused of organizing BARS, said that during the search of his flat, police put a plastic bag over his head and roughed him up.
Translated by the Russian Reader