Opposition activists Razvozzhayev and Udaltsov challenge plea bargain regulation
MOSCOW, June 23 (RAPSI) – Russian opposition activists Leonid Razvozzhayev and Sergei Udaltsov, who were sentenced to 4.5 years in prison each for participation in 2012 rallies in central Moscow, have challenged plea bargain regulations in the Constitutional court, lawyer Dmitry Agranovsky told RAPSI on Tuesday.
“We have complained to the Constitutional Court about the illegality of plea bargaining, because it infringes on the basic principle of pleading requirements,” Agranovsky said.
Under Russian law, a sentence handed down to a defendant under a plea bargain can be considered evidence of the guilt of other defendants, the lawyer said.
“Some defendants bear false witness against others to receive a mitigated sentence,” Agranovsky said.
He argues that the trial of a defendant who makes a plea bargain should be heard after, not before, the cases of other defendants in the case.
“The court should first analyze this person’s testimony at the trials of the other defendants in the case and only then mitigate a sentence for the said defendant. In Russia, courts first hear the case of the person who testified against others and then give him/her a mitigated sentence. They then use the testimony in the trials of the other defendants, who subsequently receive harsher sentences,” the lawyer said.
Agranovsky also said it is illegal to deny the defense team the right to offer plea bargains to defendants.
Over 400 people were arrested and scores injured in the Bolotnaya Square protest that turned violent in May 2012. Dozens were later charged with inciting mass riots and using violence against law enforcement officers.
Riot organizers Sergei Udaltsov and Leonid Razvozzhayev were sentenced to 4.5 years in prison each, based partly on testimony by Konstantin Lebedev, who was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison but has been released on parole.
Other participants received prison terms ranging from suspended sentences to four years. Several defendants were pardoned; one is undergoing compulsory mental treatment.