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Moscow prosecutors ask court to take custody of young child away from parents who protested for free elections

Moscow prosecutors are conducting a probe regarding the participation of underage individuals and parents with small children in the city’s July 27 and August 3 election protests.

As part of that probe, the prosecutors have asked a court to deprive two parents of the custody of their toddler. A statement from the Moscow Prosecutorial Office claimed that during the course of the July 27 protest, the couple “gave their young child to a third party, which put the boy’s health and life in danger and caused him physical and emotional harm.” Prosecutors also asserted that the child’s father is registered to live in Moscow only temporarily, meaning that he would not have the right to vote in this September’s elections. They did not specify how that fact might be relevant to the custody case.

The Telegram-based investigative outlet Baza claimed that the person to whom the parents entrusted their child was Sergey Fomin, one of the individuals charged in the mass rioting case connected to the protests.

After the custody deprivation request was announced, multiple influential sources close to the Russian government expressed their opposition to the move and their intention to intervene, including Moscow Children’s Rights Ombudsman Yevgeny Bunimovich and RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.

Update: The parents in question, Olga and Dmitry Prokazov, said investigators opened a child endangerment and neglect case after videos of them and their child first surfaced. Olga Prokazova told Meduza that she and her husband were notified about the case while their home was searched on the night of August 5. She also said the case is based on a doctored video and that her child was not harmed during the July 27 protest.

This article has been corrected to indicate that a criminal case was opened following the incident in question, but the Prokazovs have not yet been presented with any charges. We apologize for the error.

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