Russia: Two young prisoners of conscience lose appeal in another farcical court hearing

Responding to the decision today by Russia’s Third Court of Appeal to uphold the conviction of two youth activists, Yan Sidorov and Vladislav Mordasov, the Director of Amnesty International Russia, Natalia Zviagina, said:

“Today’s farcical court decision, which hastened the confirmation of Yan and Vladislav’s manifestly unjust conviction and imprisonment, is an indictment of Russia’s justice system. The authorities have stolen the right to freedom of peaceful assembly from many in Russia, brazenly depriving these two young men of their freedom in the process.

Today’s farcical court decision, which hastened the confirmation of Yan and Vladislav’s manifestly unjust conviction and imprisonment, is an indictment of Russia’s justice system
Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International Russia's Director

“Yan Sidorov and Vladislav Mordasov have been punished for exercising their human rights, yet the authorities have treated them as dangerous criminals. Many others have been subject to the same fate in recent months, in Moscow and across Russia. There is no justice until they are freed. Today’s decision confirms that justice does not prevail in the Russian courts.”

Background

The court upheld the conviction of Yan Sidorov and Vladislav Mordasov for an “attempted organization of mass disturbances.” In October, the court of first instance sentenced them to up to six years and seven months and six years and six months in a penal colony respectively.

The two human rights activists were prosecuted for trying to stage a peaceful protest in central Rostov-on-Don on 5 November 2017, in support of local residents who lost their homes when a suspiciously extensive fire swept through a prime city location in August that year. At the time, Yan Sidorov was just 18, and Vladislav Mordasov 21 years-old. Amnesty International considers both to be prisoners of conscience.