On January 2, Moscow's Tvesrkoy Magistrate Court sentenced Russian opposition leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov to 15 days in prison on the charge of "disobeying police" (Article 19.3 of the Administrative Offenses Code). He has been in police detention since December 31, when he was arrested on Triumfalnaya Square after an opposition rally. He was arrested as he was leaving the square with his daughter.
Between December 31 and January 2, Mr. Nemtsov was held in Tverskoe police precinct in Moscow. His cell was 1.5 by 3 meters, with concrete walls and floor, with no windows, no plank bed and no mattress. Mr. Nemtsov's cell phone was taken away at the time of his arrest.
During the trial on January 2, Judge Olga Borovkova did not allow Mr. Nemtsov to sit down anf forced him to stand for the whole duration of the trial (4 hours). The judge disregarded 13 defense witnesses and refused to allow the video of Mr. Nemtsov's arrest as evidence. The conviction was based on the words of two police officers who said that Mr. Nemtsov was "cursing" and "blocking Tverskaya street" - Moscow's main street.
Other opposition leaders and activists were also sentenced in connection with the rally on Triumfalnaya Square: Ilya Yashin ("Solidarity") - 5 days, Kirill Manulin ("Another Russia") - 8 days, Konstantin Kosyakin ("Left Front") - 10 days, Eduard Limonov ("Another Russia") - 15 days. All of them have spent New Year's night in police detention, and most (just as Mr. Nemtsov) will spend Orthodox Christmas (January 7) in jail.
In all, 68 people were arrested on December 31 at the rally in Moscow and more than 50 people at a similar opposition rally in St. Petersburg.
Below is the brief statement that Boris Nemtsov wrote from his prison cell:
"I understand that this is an attempt to frigthen the opposition and frigthen my family. I understand that the authorities are enraged and nervous and don't know how to deal with the opposition. I also understand that we have no right to retreat. And we shall not retreat".
Photos of Mr. Nemtsov in detention (made by representatives of the Moscow Public Supervisory Commission, a prisons watchdog):
On January 2, Moscow's Tvesrkoy Magistrate Court....