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First criminal case for draft evasion launched in Russia since start of mobilization

Source: Meduza

A 32-year old man refused to sign his draft notice in Russia’s Penza region, and is now prosecuted on charges of draft evasion. This is the first such criminal case since the start of Russia’s so-called “partial mobilization” on Sept. 21. The “suspect” is now in his second day of detention.

The criminal case was instigated by the Zarechensky investigative department of Russia’s Investigative Committee’s Penza division. Evasion of mandatory service in the military is criminalized by Article 328 of the Russian Criminal Code.

Pavel Chikov, the head of Agora, a human rights advocacy organization, notes that this is the first evasion case connected to the current mobilization. According to Chikov, the man who refused his draft notice was arrested with the aid of OMON fighters. (OMON, sometimes also called SOBR, is a special branch of Russia’s National Guard.)

On Oct. 5, the assigned detective is expected to petition the court for a decision. The detainee’s defense lawyer will at the same time petition the court to dismiss the case, Chikov explains.

Chikov also points out that, according to the clarifications issued by the federal High Court, the criminal Article 328 only applies to people attempting to evade mandatory term army service. In other words, the legislation is not applicable to mobilization.

Earlier, Meduza already explained that Article 328 applies only to “male citizens who have reached age 18; are registered, or have a duty to register for military service; and are not enrolled in the army reserve.” The maximal penalty under this article is two years in prison.

Mobilization was announced in Russia on Sept. 21. It is unknown how many people are to be conscripted. The President’s mobilization decree has a classified paragraph, believed to indicate the scale of the mobilization.

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that the goal is to draft 300,000 new conscripts. Meduza’s sources, however, suggest that this number may reach 1.2 million. Novaya Gazeta Europe also reported a mobilization goal of one million.

On Oct. 2, the Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu said that 200,000 conscripts have already been mobilized across Russia.

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