A February 15 article published by a Tatar language affiliate of Radio Liberty reports that the FSB may be preparing a new criminal case against Azat Miftakhov. A February 16 post by the FeeAzat! Telegram channel confirms this information and provides additional details. The apparent precursor for this new case comes from the testimony of Igor Shishlkin, a St Petersburg anarchist who was sentenced in 2019 to 3.5 years in prison for supposedly organizing a wide-ranging “Network” of opposition activists in Russia. The Russian government has since used the “Network” case to persecute many other opposition activists throughout the country. Shishkin was released from prison in 2021 and since then has been able to leave Russia. Shishlin reports that he was extensively tortured in detention and that under torture he provided false testimony against several other activists, including Azat.
Recently another opposition activist convicted in the “Network” case, Dmitry Pchelintsev, who has been serving am 18-year prison sentence in a high security prison colony in the Kirov province, was transferred to the Moscow Lefortovo prison. Reports indicate that he is being interrogated there by the FSB and has given coerced testimony implicating others, and Azat in particular, as supposed members of the “Network”,
Azat’s mother Gulnur and his wife Elena Gorban report that Azat is aware of these new developments and is prepared to face them. Azat is currently scheduled to be released from the penal colony in Omutninsk on September 23, 2023. Gulnur and Elena are concerned that the FSB is unwilling to let Azat go free and that they are trying to manufacture a new criminal case against him..
The Azat Miftakhov Committee is extremely alarmed by these developments. Azat’s imprisonment on false charges in the “broken window” case constitutes a grave injustice, and we continue to call for his immediate release, so that he can resume his mathematical studies and research. It would be unconscionable for the Russian authorities to compound this injustice by a new manufactured political persecution against him. We stand in solidarity with Azat and the other opposition activists who continue to fight for a free, democratic and peaceful Russia.
The Azat Miftakhov Committee