MOSCOW, February 21 (RAPSI) – Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky District Court on Friday convicted eight activists charged in connection with Moscow's 2012 Bolotnaya riots, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.
Judge Natalia Nikishina held that the accused were guilty of participating in mass riots and assaulting police officers. The reading of the sentence was then delayed until February 24. The defense for the accused stated that they will appeal both the verdict and the possible sentences.
Sentences are expected to be handed down shortly. Prosecutors have pushed for 6.5 year sentences to be handed down to all but two of the accused, for whom they seek five and a half years.
The hearing started with a three-hour delay. The press, families, and defense attorneys waited for the start in the court’s building, with members of the press confined to the ground floor until 14:30 local time. Hundreds of supporters arriving at the courthouse were cordoned off, with around 50 people detained by the police. The police spokesman estimated the turnout at around 400 people.
Initially, twelve suspects were on the indictment, but four were pardoned pursuant to a broad amnesty spearheaded by Russian President Vladimir Putin in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution.
On January 22, prosecutors issued a statement vowing to hold the remaining defendants guilty of participating in riots and assaulting the police.
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.