The convicts - anarchists and airsoft fans – deny the charges against them
A court in the Russian city of Penza has announced the verdict in the sensational case of the ‘Set’ (network) organization.
Novaya Gazeta reports that seven young people received sentences ranging from six to 18 years in prison for organizing and belonging to a terrorist community.
27-year-old Dmitry Pchelintsev and 23-year-old Ilya Shakursky received the heaviest sentences – 18 and 16 years respectively in maximum security prison.
They dismiss the charges against them.
Several dozens of people came to support the accused, including human rights activists Lev Ponomarev and Alexander Krylenkov.
The Network Case
According to investigators, the members of the underground organization were going to raise an armed rebellion and carry out terrorist attacks during the presidential election and the World Cup in 2018.
According to investigators, the “Network” cells operated in Penza, St. Petersburg, Moscow and Belarus.
The investigation is based on the testimony of only one witness – a student at the Penza Pedagogical Institute, Yegor Zorin, who, as the media found out, had previously been caught using drugs.
The detainees are united by a passion for left-wing ideas – some of them consider themselves anarchists or anti-fascists. And also: an interest in airsoft. But, according to relatives and lawyers, not all of them communicated with each other.
The Russian special services considered training and airsoft games to be the development of skills of armed resistance.
However, the detainees were not charged with preparing terrorist attacks.
Some of them stated that in the first days after the arrest, they were forced to sign a confession, unable to withstand the torture.
All the defendants deny their guilt and claim that no ‘Network’ community existed.