Leonid Kovyazin  

Year of birth: 1986

Charge: Participation in mass disorder

Currently detained in: Prison 2 'Butyrka', Moscow 

Lawyers: Ruslan Chanidze  +7 (917) 54555−68 ruslan77799@mail.ru 
Vladimir Samarin +7 (925) 50651−93 

 

Leonid Kovyazin is one of 27 people who are currently on trial because of their involvement in the mass demonstration on 6th of May 2012. On that date, immediately before President Putin's inauguration, about 100,000-120,000 people took part in a peaceful protest in Moscow. The police suddenly blocked the way to Bolotnaya (Swamp) Square where the SANCTIONED march was to terminate thus provoking a clash with the protesters. Then the police announced the demonstration was cancelled and immediately attacked the protesters, beginning to disperse them with the aid of batons and tear gas. As a result, approximately 600 people were arrested on the spot, hundreds were injured. Criminal charges were initiated not against the unlawful police officers but against the lawful protesters for participating in mass disorder and acts of violence. 27 people were selected by the authorities to serve as examples in a theatre of show-case prosecutions.

Leonid Kovyazin, a free-lance journalist of the newspaper 'Vyatskiy Observer' was arrested on the 5th of September 2012 in Kirov where he lived and studied. The reason for his arrest was the video of the event showing him moving two mobile public toilets in an attempt to protect himself from attacking soldiers of the OMON, an elite unit (according to other sources "barely touching one of the toilets"). He was present on Bolotnaya Square as a journalist.

Not a political person, Kovyazin is however a very keen defender of animals rights and a vegetarian, and also a lover of visual and performing arts. In 2004 he moved to Kirov to his grandmother and enrolled the Department of Philosophy and Culture of the local university supporting himself and her by various temporary jobs. His grandmother is now 78 years old and needs constant care.

As it was with other prisoners, the lawyer of Kovyazin requested his detention awaiting trial to be under house arrest. This was refused because, according to the procurator because of the fact that Kovyazin "did not come to the police at his free will and did not confess his crime". Naturally, the question what kind of crime is the moving public toilets and hiding behind them was left unanswered and the defendant was left in jail. Furthermore, the judge stated that even apart from that there are plenty of reasons to suspect that the defendant, being released, will run away: "no permanent job, single, and living in another city".

On 28th of March 2013 Leonid Kovyazin married Evgenia Tarasova. The marriage ceremony took place in prison. Various prominent Russian newspapers petitioned the court requesting the release of their colleague to no avail.

Released under amnesty 19.12.2013