A citizen of the United States was detained twice for holding a picket


Ms. Ariella Katz, a citizen of the United States, was arrested twice on September 19 at the Zhukov monument in Moscow, and was again released from the 'Kitai-gorod' police station. There were no charges filed, however the police tried to conduct preliminary questioning.

On September 19, Ariella Katz held two picket protests at Manezh Square in support of Ildar Dadin, who had been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for "repeated violations of the legal procedure for organizing public events." Both times she was arrested and taken to the local 'Kitai-gorod' police station.

Commentary from Alexey Kozlov, the expert of the project:

The arrest of those conducting one-person picket protests, unfortunately, has become a regular practice in Russia.

The most frequently arrested picket protesters are those who picket in downtown Moscow, especially if the protest takes place near the Red Square. According to the law, a one-person picket does not require any government approval. So, essentially, you can make a poster with any demands that do not contravene Russian law (e.g. calling for national discord would be a contravention and is the reason for detention and legal action according to the infamous Article 282 of the Criminal Code), and you can march anywhere. Marching with a poster from 07:00 am until 11:00 pm is allowed.

There are two common scenarios surrounding the arrest of single picketers.

1. Provocation: a person comes to the picketer and takes out a second poster, and thus the one-person picket turns into a regular picket, giving the police an opportunity to carry out an arrest for the violation of the order and the organization of a public event. Typically, the second poster is unrolled by a freelance police officer or so-called "police volunteers."

2. The claim by law enforcement agencies' that the territory is departmental or classified is, in many cases, false (for example, concerning the area by Zhukov monument). But it allows them to 'arbitrarily' make an arrest and stop any pickets.

The courts, utilizing the shockingly bad condition of the Russian Administrative Code, grind out indictments. The penalty for such 'one-person picket', by the way, is very serious. It may include an arrest of up to 30 days and a fine of up to 1 million rubles.

Criminal proceedings are possible after the third violation.


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