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Activist Anastasia Shevchenko sentenced to four years probation for violating Russia’s ‘undesirable organizations’ law

A court in Rostov-on-Don has sentenced activist Anastasia Shevchenko to four years probation after finding her guilty of violating Russia’s “undesirable organizations” law, reports lawyer Sergey Badamashin from the rights organization Pravozashchity Otkrytki.

Earlier, state prosecutors asked the court to sentence Shevchenko to five years in prison (the maximum sentence this felony charge carries is six year imprisonment).

During the trial on Thursday, February 18, participants in the hearing complained that they couldn’t make out what the judge was saying as she read out the verdict. 

“Try to make out even a word”

Shevchenko — who lives in an apartment with her mother, her son Misha, and daughter Vlada — has been under house arrest for two years already, since January 2019. She is the first person in Russia to be charged under this felony statute, which lawmakers adopted in 2015. Her alleged criminal activity comprised organizing political debates in Taganrog and publishing content about a lecture staged by the banned “Open Russia” group.

In January 2019, Shevchenko’s eldest daughter died after a long battle with lung problems. After initial reports that the court denied Shevchenko’s request to visit her in the hospital, she was ultimately allowed to be at her daughter’s bedside, the night before she passed away. 

In January 2020, Shevchenko’s second daughter revealed in a Facebook post that police installed a court-sanctioned hidden camera in her mother’s bedroom, four months before her arrest, to spy on her activities.

In late March 2019, the “Open Russia” movement dissolved itself, due to the persecution of its activists.

Read more

The trials of Open Russia How the Russian government uses laws against ‘undesirable organizations’ to target activists from a single human rights group

Read more

The trials of Open Russia How the Russian government uses laws against ‘undesirable organizations’ to target activists from a single human rights group

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