Prosecutors in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk have asked court to convict anarchist couple to six years in prison each on charges of hooliganism and vandalism motivated by hatred and enmity.
Pavel Chikov of the Agora legal defense organization wrote on Telegram that prosecutors asked the Ural City Central District Court to convict Dmitry Tsibukovsky and his wife Anastasia Safonova on August 30.
The charges against the couple stem from the fact that they placed a large banner in February 2018 near the Federal Security Service (FSB) building in Chelyabinsk, saying “FSB – Main terrorist”.
By placing the banner, Tsibukovsky and Safonova expressed their solidarity with a group of activists arrested in 2017-2018 for allegedly creating a terrorist group called Set (Network), with cells in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Penza and Omsk, as well than in neighboring Belarus.
Last year, nine members of the group were convicted of terrorism and sentenced to long prison terms.
Amnesty International has called the terrorism charges “a figment of the imagination of the Russian security services … made to try to silence these militants.”
The London-based human rights watchdog maintains the case is “the latest politically motivated justice system abuse aimed at targeting young people.”
Tsibukovsky and Safonova were initially arrested in 2018. Tsibukovsky said at the time that they were tortured while in detention. The case was dismissed twice after investigators failed to prove elements of a crime in the couple’s actions.
They were also charged with vandalizing graffiti protesting unpopular pension reforms in 2018.
The couple were arrested again in April 2020 and spent four months in pre-trial detention before being transferred to house arrest.