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An arrested Moscow district official says pretrial detention staff tried to stop him from running in September's elections


On June 14, police arrested Alexander Shestun, the head of the Moscow region’s Serpukhovsky district, on charges that his business illegally acquired 10 hectares (about 25 acres) of local land from the state in 2010.

Earlier in the year, Shestun said in a video addressed to Vladimir Putin that Governor Andrey Vorobyov was threatening to confiscate his home and put him in prison, if he refused to resign. Vorobyov supposedly wanted him out because Shestun opposes the transformation of the Serpukhovsky district into a municipal precinct and he objects to further waste shipments from the city to Serpukhov’s over-capacity “Lesnaya” landfill.

In early July, Shestun complained in a letter to Central Election Commissioner Ella Pamfilova that pretrial detention staff were preventing him from filing the paperwork necessary to run in September’s district elections. Shestun says the detention center guards started treating him with respect, only after Pamfilova intervened on July 4, stating that they must provide him with the documents needed to register his candidacy.