Prosecutor demands 4-year jail term for alleged organizer of unlawful referendum
MOSCOW, July 17 (RAPSI, Nikolay Merkulov) – Prosecutor had demanded a 4-year prison term for a RBC journalist Alexander Sokolov, charged with masterminding the activities of an extremist organization, RAPSI reported from the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow on Monday.
The prosecutor also asked the court to give other defendants in the case, Kirill Barabash, Valery Parfyonov, and publicist Yury Mukhin, sentences ranging from 4 to 4.5 years behind bars.
According to Mukhin, he and other people charged in the case, are indeed members of the Initiative Group to Campaign for a Referendum for Responsible Government, which, the authorities believe, is the successor of earlier banned People’s Will Army (PWA). However, as Mukhin has told RAPSI, the action group aiming to organize the referendum was established yet in 2010.
Sokolov, Parfyonov, and Barabash are charged with continuing to run the prohibited in 2010 People’s Will Army, earlier headed by Mukhin. After the PWA was banned, the accused founded the Referendum Initiative Group seeking to make the authorities directly answerable to the people through changing the country’s Constitution.
Nevertheless, the prosecution says that in fact Mukhin and his supporters have attempted to destabilize the political situation in Russia and accomplish a regime change with illegal means.
In 1995, Yury Mukhin, a proponent of radical change, founded the Duel newspaper, which attempted to reach out to Russian conservatives and far left. The newspaper was banned in 2009 on grounds of extremism.