Following July 27 protest in Moscow, Russian investigators open criminal case charging protester with assaulting police
Update: According to leading human rights attorney Pavel Chikov, Kovalenko has pleaded guilty to the charges against him. Chikov said Kovalenko is being represented by a state-appointed attorney.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case accusing a civilian of using violence against a National Guard officer during Saturday’s rally for fair elections in Moscow, TASS reported.
According to the Telegram-based investigative outlet Baza, 48-year-old Yevgeny Kovalenko has been named a suspect in the case. Investigators have accused Kovalenko of injuring an officer, whose surname is allegedly Saliev, by throwing a metal trash can at him during the course of the July 27 protest. Kovalenko could face up to five years in prison if found guilty. He already faces administrative charges under Russia’s law against attending unsanctioned protests.
Kovalenko, like 265 other Moscow protesters, spent the entire weekend in a police station. In total, 1,373 protesters were arrested on Saturday as they demanded that opposition candidates be permitted to run for the Moscow City Duma. A number of protesters reported that police applied excessive force to disperse the demonstration, frequently beating and injuring protesters at random.