IAPL: Kremlin’s crackdown on dissent turns Russian courtrooms into instruments of repression

As a defence lawyer for high-profile critics of the Putin regime, Vadim Prokhorov is used to his clients meeting grim fates.

One was murdered outside the walls of the Kremlin. Another sentenced to 25-years in prison for criticising the war in Ukraine.

Their names – Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Kara-Murza – stand as warnings to anyone who might dare challenge the Russian state.

But it was only last month that the 50-year-old barrister, a thick-set man with a furrowed brow and a shock of black hair, found himself, too, in the Kremlin’s cross-hairs.

He received a tip-off that, after the verdict in the Kara-Murza case, he could be arrested. So he decided to flee.

“I realised they don’t need me as a free man once the verdict is delivered,” Mr Prokhorov told The Telegraph in a matter-of-fact voice.

Persecution for political views is old news for Vladimir Putin’s Russia – his opponents have been jailed, poisoned or shot just outside the Kremlin for the most part of his 23-year-long rule – but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year and a plethora of draconian laws that came in tow have turned Russian courtrooms into places of public condemnation, not unlike during the Soviet Union’s Great Terror in the 1930s.

Last week, Lilia Chanysheva, an associate of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navlany, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years on charges of “extremism”.

This week Mr Navalny himself faces a new trial from his maximum security prison 250 km east of Moscow. He says the “absurd” charges could keep him behind bars for another 30 years.

The swift transformation of Russia’s corruption court system into a close replica of the Soviet show trials has surprised even its former victims.










https://www.lejdd.fr/international/nouveau-proces-dalexei-navalny-lopposant-russe-face-au-risque-de-loubli-136935 (FRANCAIS)