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Dozens of Russian Orthodox priests sign open letter in support of arrested and imprisoned protesters

Dozens of Russian Orthodox Church clergy have released an open letter defending election protesters who have been arrested or sentenced to prison time in the so-called “Moscow case.” The letter, which was published on the outlet Pravoslavie i mir (Orthodoxy and the World), had 42 signatories at the time of this writing.

The clergymembers demanded that the years-long prison sentences that have been issued against some of the protesters be reconsidered and expressed hope that charges against other protesters will be dropped. Their letter specifically cited the case against Konstantin Kotov, who has been sentenced to four years in prison despite the existence of video footage that appears to prove his innocence, as an example of “unprecedentedly harsh punishment.”

While the letter emphasized that its signatories were opposed to any violence committed by protesters or police, it noted that the defendants in the Moscow case have received harsher sentences than other Russians who have been accused of significantly more severe crimes.

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