‘Children behind bars’. Russian minor sent to pre-trial detention for anti-war statements

Posted: Fri, 12 Apr 2024 13:08:59 UTC+3
Lyubov Lizunova

In the fall of 2022, 16-year-old Lyubov Lizunova was arrested for painting anti-war graffiti on the side of a garage in the Russian city of Chita. Initially released on bail, then put on house arrest, she’s now been locked up to await trial, reports Agenstvo. According to the human rights project OVD-Info, this is the first case in Russia of a teenage girl minor being sent to a pre-trial detention center for expressing anti-war views.

A Russian court has sent 17-year-old Lyubov Lizunova to pre-trial detention as part of a criminal case against her for allegedly painting graffiti that read, “Death to the regime!” and writing social media posts endorsing arson attacks on military enlistment offices, reports Agenstvo. This marks the first instance in Russia of a teenage girl being remanded into custody for an anti-war statement, according to data from OVD-Info.

Lizunova was arrested in October 2022 alongside Alexander Snezhkov, now 20, and Vladislav Vishnevsky, now 23. All three face terrorism-related charges and have been added to Russia’s list of terrorists and extremists. Lizunova and Snezhkov were also charged with “vandalism motivated by political hatred.” Initially, the three were released on bail.

After Snezhkov and Lizunova attempted to flee the country in early 2023, Lizunova was placed under house arrest and Snezhkov was sent to a pre-trial detention center, wrote local outlet Chita.ru. Activist Anastasia Shevchenko was the first to report that Lizunova is also now in pre-trial detention, citing a letter from Snezhkov. “Well, they found the terrorists,” Shevchenko remarked. “Hunted them down in chats and garages. Now Chita residents can sleep peacefully — the children are behind bars.”

Lizunova’s family later confirmed her detention to Agenstvo. According to a relative, Lizunova was taken into custody after she arrived home two hours after her court-imposed curfew. The family received a letter from Lizunova on Wednesday in which she said she was reading, drawing, and trying to remain in good spirits, but that she misses her mom, dad, and little sister.

Yevgeny Smirnov, a lawyer from the human rights project Department One, told Agenstvo that the most severe preventive measures should only be applied to a minor in exceptional cases. He said that while violating court-imposed restrictions is a serious offense and may lead to the tightening of pre-trial measures, the court must assess all circumstances of the violation.

prosecuting children

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