Andrey Barabanov

Year of birth: 1990

Charge: Participation in mass disorder and use of violence against  authorities;
sentenced to 3 years 7 months

Currently imprisoned in:
Prison colony, Ryazan

Lawyer: Svetlana Sidorkina +7 (926) 55790−16 

Andrey Barabanov 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.

Andrey Barabanov was arrested in his apartment on 28th of May 2012. "It was like an action movie" said his mother who witnessed the event together with Andrey's de-facto wife Katya. "The lights went out and I opened the door to check for a power surge and immediately eight or nine heavily armed policemen broke into the apartment." The arrest was brutal: Katya had a gun pointed at her, Andrey was thrown on the floor, tied up and than taken away without explanations. In the search that followed all PCs and other electronic devices were confiscated together with his albums of drawings.

Andrey Barabanov is a graduate of a mathematics college who earned his wages as an artist. He did not belong to any political party or movement but held a strong critical view of a current government. The alleged ground for his arrest and detainment was "the existence of the video which shows him participating in a mass riot" and also the existence of "his friends - anarchists and football fans who may help him to hide from justice." Barabanov responded to the arrest with a dry hunger strike.

Later, during the investigation process Barabanov was played a video which shows him attempting to kick a policeman targeting his bullet-proof vest. He admitted being guilty of "use of violence against  authorities" but denied another charge of "participation in mass disorder" because he maintains that there was no disorder whatsoever conducted by the demonstrators. He sent the policemen whom he attempted to kick a letter of apology and received the response in which his addressee stated that he is absolutely satisfied and does not wish to press charges. Barabanov maintains that any resistance of the demonstrators was deliberately provoked by the police and the soldiers of OMON (a 'special' unit) who beat people up in an extremely violent way. This point of view is supported by many videos of the event and shared by other prisoners, their lawyers, various independent witnesses and human rights defenders.