Thursday, November 21, 2013

Putin to Examine Political Prisoners List, His Spokesman Denies Their Existence

Prominent Russian writer Boris Akunin refused to participate in a writers’ meeting that is supposed to be attended by President Vladimir Putin. Akunin said he does not want to be anywhere close to the president until there are political prisoners in Russia. Akunin mentioned jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, “Bolotnaya Square case” (a controversial criminal case instituted on mass riot charges) prisoner Sergey Krivov. In response Putin’s press-secretary Dmitry Peskov dismissed all accusations. “I do not understand, whom he means by ‘political prisoners.’ Those arrested in the ‘Bolotnaya case’? But they are not political prisoners; they are charged with hooliganism and violence against officers. This has nothing to do with politics,” Peskov said. He went on to comment on Akunin personally: “He is very well-known and respected writer. of course he has a right for his own opinion. But we also have a right to say his opinion has nothing to do with reality.” Later on a list of 70 political prisoners was passed to Vladimir Putin by opposition party RPR-Parnas leader Vladimir Ryzhkov. Putin publicly promised to “examine” the list.

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