It has been just over a year since the police operation ‘Fenix’ became known to the people of Czech Republic. Just over 1 Year since the 1st arrests were made, of which Martin still remains on remand in custodial prison as a result of what appears to be entrapment. People are still being bullied, pursued and repressed on a daily basis. On 26 & 27 April was the first trial since the repression began (to our knowledge). The case of Igor Shevstov, who was accused of throwing Molotov cocktails at the house of defense minister Stropnický, and for filming somebody graffiti the prison. He was looking at 15 years imprisonment, on top of the 3 months already served in custodial prison (remand), where he was kept under maximum security for part of the time. (read more under the Igor tab on antifenix.noblogs.org)
The Court room held the first major public display of this farce, also known as Fenix.
The trial was held in a small room, accessible to 18 people only, the majority of which were journalists. This did not prevent supporters of Igor gathering in the corridor and outside the courthouse.
After the charges were read out, the damning evidence came out. Of all the digital and printed evidence the police collected in this investigation, the judge pulled out a photo which was found on Igor’s mobile phone, a picture of his foot on a doormat of the USA flag. When questioned about why he saved this picture, Igor replied “I thought it was funny”. At this point it became clear that the prosecution were going to prey on Igor’s Russian origins as a motive for the alleged Molotov attack on the Stropnický house. – To explain, Stropnickys undying love for the west makes him a target for any Russian! In this case, Russian translates as Pro-Putin/anti-west. Igor was portrayed in the media as a crazy Russian nationalist after his arrest. The great contradiction here is that in Russia Igor was prosecuted for unannounced demonstrations against the Russian occupation of the Crimea and against Putin’s imperialist government. And as he explained in his closing speech, simply being Russian does not automatically make you pro-Russian/some kind of Russian nationalist.
The next laugh in the courtroom was the judges interest in Igor’s tattoos, namely the ACAB on his neck. The room erupted in laughter at his explanation. It wasn’t the last time the judge had to settle the crowds laughter.
It came as no surprise, but it still bites. The contradiction. One rule for Igor, another for Stropnicky. Like many anarchists before, Igor was forbidden to use any political argument in his defense. When Stropnický took to the stand, he completely utilized his freedom, with a mixture of politics, fear and slander, he created a monster out of Igor, exclaiming that since the defendant moved to the Czech Republic he felt a great radicalization of society, with increased hatred from the left and the right. He referred to the alleged Molotov attack as an assassination (the media’s sensationalized term for this case) and basically said Igor’s presence in the country attributed to the rise of so called Rightist, Leftist and fundamentalist extremism. Stropnický was also the only person in the court room to openly claim to know how to make a Molotov cocktail, as learnt from an anarchist website, he described why the bottle did not ignite correctly and went on to say that his house would have been burnt to ashes in seconds had the molotovs been a success. Interesting.
Martin Stropnický and His wife Veronika Stropnická spoke of how the attack was clearly aiming for their daughters room, as though anarchists make a habit of attacking children. It is worth noting at this point that a collage containing photos of the daughters with black crosses over their faces came to the family. The family for some reason don’t think that the photos and the attack are connected. Police said they actually had some person, which was saying, that he had experience making Molotov cocktails and working for the Bernard beer company (Molotov cocktails were made out of Bernard bottles). And it was the person, who was sending letters to Stropnicky. Police then said that this person is not suspicious and sent him to the psychiatric hospital.
The prosecution’s main evidence was the alleged scent match between Igor and the Molotov bottles. The defense requested an expert from the scientific sector on odor to testify, since this kind of evidence is seen as untrustworthy, this request was however rejected by the judge.
Interestingly, it is facebook which was used in Igor’s defense. At the time of the attack, Igor was using facebook to communicate with his partner while being in the student club. The judge claimed that the conversations were untrustworthy and doubted the claim, since the Facebook ID is not identical to Igor’s name, and therefore it could be anybody writing there. However, to use this against Igor the prosecution should collect data, logs, and match it against Igor’s personal style of communication, like an old fashioned handwriting test perhaps. This of course did not happen.
The prison officer brought forward the bill to repair the graffitied external prison walls.
The graffiti apparently appeared because Igor was filming it.
The invoice was 6267Kč (approx €230). 3 points worth noting, first, the purchase of materials to repair the graffiti sprayed in May 2015 took place in March 2015, secondly it was necessary to reimburse several prisoners for 96 hours of work repairing an 8.5 m2 wall. And finally the inscription “Free Nationalists” which had been there long before the event, was also cleaned and pegged on Igor’s Bill. However, the court said that Igor does not have to pay this, because there were some mistakes in the prison’s protocols about damage, they shit their own bureaucracy.
13.00, 27 April 2016 the verdict was announced. The Court ruled that Igor Shevstov was not to blame for the attack on the Minister of Defense’s house. However the judge stressed that its not because it was proved that he didn’t do it, but because unfortunately they failed to prove that he did do it!
The second paragraph of the indictment; assistance in the offense of the destruction of foreign affairs (filming the graffiti).
Igor was found guilty and sentenced to deportation form Czech Republic for two years, and that he must leave within 20 days. However He will appeal the decision, so he doesnt have to leave. For now.
The camera was also forfeited to the state.
The camera operator was clearly looking right and left, and thus physically assisting the accomplices who sprayed the graffiti.
As well as, psychologically supporting “accomplices”, which means putting up slogans in support of the people inside the prison.
Igor supposedly has no ties in Czech, no facilities or a proper visa and so the punishment of expulsion was seen as the most appropriate. The Judge failed to mention the three months Igor already spent in jail for no reason, the fact that he lost his student visa because of it, and the numerous friends he has in Czech Republic. Igor has asked for a work visa, which is giving him the right to stay in Czech until the state will most probably refuse it.
The judgment is clearly influenced by political opinion. Being exiled for two years (in Russia!) for filming somebody graffiti and for not respecting local democracy, was the best way to get rid of Igor.
The Judge did not take into account the fact that Igor had already spent three months in remand prison, for no reason, without being able to contact his loved ones.
One does not have to be an anarchist to understand why Igor dislikes “our” democracy. Just as we do not have to be from Russia to dislike the democratic states. And it is not because we want Putin’s dictatorship, (how the police, courts and the media seem to see it), but because it is still based on a regime of inequality and exclusion held by institutions and the market.
Igor himself said after the verdict that “the whole process is just politicized and the state is a dehumanized bureaucratic machine, not able to perceive real people’s bounds and interests”. This received an agreeing applause, after which the judge said that it is really the last time, otherwise she will expel the whole back row.
For more information, check antifenix.noblogs.org