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Russian courts have heard 3,500 cases of “armed forces discrediting”, says human rights defender

Russia’s courts have heard around 3,500 cases initiated under the article on “discrediting of the Armed Forces” (Art. 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses), reports lawyer and prominent human rights defender Pavel Chikov on his Telegram channel.

“Russia has 3,500 potential defendants in criminal cases similar to that of Evgeny Roizman,” he wrote.

According to Pavel Chikov, the defendants have been found guilty in almost all of the administrative cases. Should they make another anti-war statement, they will be prosecuted under Article 280.3 of the Criminal Code.

Evgeny Roizman, the former mayor of Yekaterinburg, was detained on August 24 on the charges of “discrediting” the Russian army. Mash released a video of his arrest. The police also searched his apartment, the Russian icon museum he runs as a hobby project, and the office of the Evgeny Roizman Foundation. Since the beginning of the year, Roizman has received three fines for “discrediting the Armed Forces” of the Russian Federation totaling 150,000 rubles (~$2,500).

Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses provides for a fine of up to 100,000 rubles (~$1,700) for this offense. A fine under Article 20.3.4 of the same code (“calls for sanctions”) may reach 50,000 rubles (~$830).

Criminal prosecution for anti-war acts is also an option under the current Russian law: “discrediting the army” is punishable under Art. 280.3 of the Criminal Code by a prison sentence of up to five years, while “calls for sanctions” (Art. 280.4) could mean up to seven years in jail. Finally, Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code (“Spreading deliberately false information about the Armed Forces”) stipulates a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

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