Boris Kagarlitsky’s Appeal Denied

Against the Current No. 231, July/August 2024

“UNJUST BUT NOT UNEXPECTED” — this is how Suzi Weissman, spokesperson for the Boris Kagarlitsky International Solidarity Campaign, described the June 5 decision of a Russian court to reject Boris Kagarlitsky’s appeal against a five-year jail term for supposedly “justifying terrorism.” The “justifying terrorism” charge has been widely used against antiwar activists in the Russian Federation. It was brought against Kagarlitsky on July 25, 2023 well after he made an ironical remark following the Ukrainian Navy’s July 17 attack on the bridge connecting Crimea to Russia.

The refusal of the Judicial Collegium for Military Personnel of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to reject the appeal means that Kagarlitsky remains confined in a penal settlement in Torzhok (Tver region). According to his lawyer, Sergey Erokhov, the appeal process continues.

Weissman remarked that “The judges’ draconian decision was no great surprise since all recent appeals against sentences brought down under Russia’s catch-all anti-terrorism legislation have been rejected.” She noted that Boris Kagarlitsky has become a “courageous champion of peace and symbol of the struggle for the right to freedom of expression, who has been the victim of a gross but entirely deliberate miscarriage of justice.”

The appeals court judges refused to budge on Kagarlitsky’s sentence despite a special appeal from 37 internationally prominent progressive political figures and intellectuals, including Yanis Varoufakis, Jeremy Corbyn and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, as well as ministers in the Spanish government and MPs from France, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium and Brazil. Since his jailing Kagarlitsky has also received offers of university postings in Brazil and South Africa.

The Boris Kagarlitsky International Solidarity Campaign will now redouble its efforts for his release. Sign the petition, which already has thousands of signatures.

July-August 2024, ATC 231

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