Crime & Justice

Flames of protests against Kremlin burn behind bars

Zakharova, Russia, Feb 7 (efe-epa).- Bags of cigarettes, sachets of tea and boxes of cookies are piled up in the snow in front of the detention center. They are for demonstrators who were detained in the mass protests in favor of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The demonstrations have stopped, but the discontent of these young people and their families with the Kremlin is growing.

“They kept him for two days without food. From the time they arrested him until they brought him here,” Natalia, whose husband, a 27-year-old computer programmer, was arrested for nine days, tells Efe.

As Moscow’s prisons became overcrowded after the arrest of more than 10,000 people in the protests – more than half of them in the capital – the authorities had to transfer many of the detainees to a temporary holding center for immigrants located in the town of Zakharova, some 65 kilometers from Moscow.

Hours in police vans or buses without food, water or toilets. Upon arrival, long lines in freezing temperatures, beds without mattresses and overcrowding in cells not equipped for so many tenants, mostly young people.

Administrative penalties for demonstrating range from a few days to a month’s imprisonment. Human rights defenders have denounced beatings, kicks and the use of electroshock.

“Those in there were not protesting, they were just walking around. Half of them were arrested for no reason, but we will not abandon them,” laughs one of those queuing in front of the prison. EFE-EPA


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