Khimki town court released Maxim Solopov from the arrest

Максим Солопов

Khimki town court has ruled to change the pre-trial restriction for Maxim Solopov from arrest to a written pledge not to leave town. The court lasted from 11 am to 4 pm today, October 18, with a three-hour break for preparation of the court ruling. Judge Svetlana Galanova has ruled to release Maxim Solopov from the arrest immediately in the court room.

Maxim was released in echange for the guarantees provided by Lev Ponomaryov, executive director of movement «For Human Rights», human rights activists  Sergey Kovalyov and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, State Duma deputies Ilya Ponomaryov and Oleg Shein, as well as Maxim’s university professors Galina Yershova, Dmitry Belyaev and Yekaterina Di Santo. Human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov and profesor Yekaterina Di Santo were present at the court hearings. Yekaterina DiSanto testified in court for Maxim and told during the court hearing that it is necessary to release Maxim in order for him to continue his studies and pursue his career as a researcher. She told the court that Maxim is «a very talented person, a good student and I’m glad that besides that he is also an antifascist».

The prosecutors have presented to the court the same reasons for Maxim’s arrest as before, which were not valid for ruling in favor of the renewal of the arrest. The only new arguments provided by the investigator Yermilov were the testimonies of some witness, which supposedly incriminated Solopov, the photos which showed a person in black mask, who was supposedly Solopov, and the document provided by the Federal Security Service (FSB),that read that Maxim was detained on numerous occasions during «illegal» manifestations. When asked how can you recognize Solopov on these photos, Yermilov couldn’t provide any proof for his statements.

Maxim spoke in court and demanded that his own testimonies are considered by the judges, including his statement that he was «taken as a hostage by the unprofessionalism of the law enforcement agencies».

The testimonies provided by the investigators were proven wrong by the defense — Maxim’s lawyer Yury Yeronin and human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov. The latter indicated that during this court procedure not the guilt of the suspect was to be established, but only the form of pre-trial restriction was to be chosen. He also said that the procurator’s office was currently checking the legality of the fact that Maxim was interrogated in the absence of the lawyer and that he was subjected to pressure by the investigators.

The court has considered the arguments of the defense and ruled to release Maxim Solopov from the arrest.

«Everything that happenned recently was considered. Both the wide social support, the guarantees provided to the court, the speeches in court were taken into account. This valuable result was possible due to all the things that we did», said Lev Ponomaryov following the court ruling.

As part of the days of action, initiated by the Campaign for the release of Khimki hostages, solidarity actions were held in 35 cities in 12 countries. Khimki town court and other administrative bodies in Russia received hundreds of letters of protest from around the world, which demanded to release the Khimki hostages and to stop the campaign of falsification of evidence against them. This was partly due to the fact that Alexey and Maxim are well known social activists, but also

due to the fact that the investigators used illegal methods when trying to get evidence, including mass arrests of young people and torture. The protocols of Maxim’s and Alexey’s detention were also falsified.

On October 15 Moscow regional court has annulled the previous decision of Khimki town court for the prolongation of the arrest of another arrested in the Khimki case, Alexey Gaskarov. His arrest is to be recosnidered by the Khimki court some time before October 27.

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