Russia: peaceful anti-draft protesters must be released

At least 1,386 arrested for taking part in protest rallies following Putin’s call to mobilise additional troops for Ukraine

Police used excessive force, including baton beatings and chokeholds

‘All reprisals against dissenting voices in Russia should end’ - Denis Krivosheev

Responding to the detention of at least 1,386 peaceful protesters for taking part in rallies in Russia following Vladimir Putin’s call to mobilise additional troops to fight in Ukraine, Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Deputy Director, said:

“Everyone has the right to freely express their opinions and protest peacefully, including in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

“They are raising their voices even amid the stifling of their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and as new repressive laws criminalise all forms of anti-war activity. 

“All those detained solely for peacefully protesting against mobilisation and the war must be immediately and unconditionally released, and all reprisals against dissenting voices in Russia should end. 

“The international community must step up its efforts to end Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, including by supporting those who are peacefully protesting against the invasion or conscientiously objecting to participate in the conflict.” 

During arrests, police officers frequently resorted to unnecessary and excessive force against peaceful protesters, including by beating them with batons and putting them into chokeholds. In Saint Petersburg, one person suffered a broken arm after being beaten by police. According to the independent human rights organisation OVD-Info, police handed summons to enrol at military enlistment centres to several of yesterday’s male detainees in Moscow and Voronezh in Central Russia. The detainees are also at risk of administrative or criminal prosecution.  

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