Open Democracy, “Why Russian mathematician Azat Miftakhov is on trial”

In Russia, the authorities are increasingly taking aim at left-wing activists – using any means necessary. The charges against Miftakhov, his lawyers say, stem from his anarchist beliefs and support for political prisoners.

Azat Miftakhov, a mathematics student and anarchist living in Moscow, is currently preparing to be tried on hooliganism charges. He’s been charged in relation to an incident involving a broken window at a district office of United Russia, the country’s ruling party. According to investigators, Miftakhov’s “criminal activity” also included participation in protests in support of Russian political prisoners.

Miftakhov, 27, was detained in early February 2019 – he was initially supposed to face charges relating to explosive material found in the Moscow satellite town of Balashikha. Miftakhov stated that the men who detained him tried to beat a confession out of him. Human rights activists recorded marks on his body left by an electric screwdriver.

In the end, Azat was not charged in relation to the Balashikha explosives, but he was jailed for another case: a year previously, unknown persons broke a window in the Khovrino district office of United Russia, before throwing a flare inside. These actions were filmed, and the video found its way to anarchist pages on Russia’s social networks.

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