02/18/2020, 09.19
RUSSIA
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Protests and strikes for young Russians 'Network'

by Vladimir Rozanskij

11 young people convicted of terrorism, but in reality they shared anti-terrorist and anti-fascist ideas online which they see spreading in Russian and international society in recent years. Confessions extracted through torture.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - On February 17 some large Russian bookstores went on strike to protest the the authorities alleged torture of 11 young men (pictured) convicted of terrorism, in the so-called "Set" affair (The Network), an organization accused of planning attacks against the Russian state.

The young people formed an anarchist-inspired group, pretending to impersonate characters from the great Russian novels, to defend themselves from the dictatorial regurgitations of society and power in Russia. Their sentence of 10 February would be based solely on confessions extracted with violence.

According to the striking booksellers, "how do you arouse the desire to imitate your heroes by reading books, when you can receive a life sentence for your fantasies, after being beaten and tortured? How can we make the classics of literature loved, when the books found in any school library are destined for destruction by orders from above? ".

Various journalists, human rights activists, politicians, teachers, film directors and actors, students, writers, scientists and psychologists joined the booksellers. Several people are displaying signs in the street these days in defense of the condemned, demonstrating individually to avoid accusations of "seditious gathering". (In the photo: Girl with the sign "Freedom for the Set affair accused").

A group of 140 Russian psychologists released an open letter in defense of the youth of the "Network", asking to review the process against them, as their spokesman Valerij Tenevoj said. The text states that "in the 21st century, torture and convictions obtained by frightening and inhuman means cannot be admitted, in the face of an almost total lack of evidence". Psychologists say they want to help the Russian population to "maintain mental health, but the issue of the Net is a terrible shock for all citizens: it creates the conditions for generalized violence".

According to the FSB version (formerly KGB), the 11 young people formed a terrorist association in St. Petersburg and Penza, with the aim of achieving a coup d'état. The arrests began in October 2017, and almost all the young men acknowledged their guilt in the first days of imprisonment, only to retract later. The confessions would have been obtained through psychological pressure, electric shocks and other physical violence. The first to be arrested was the physics student Egor Zorin, who mentioned the names of the other accused; he himself was released after the arrest of his "accomplices".

The 11 convicts, all young people between 20 and 25 years old, were accused of organizing attacks and holding prohibited and explosive weapons, of organizing attacks on shops and factories, of drug production and drug dealing. The organization's "cells" were allegedly active in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Penza and even Belarus. The names of the cells ("Campo Marzio", "Jordan", "Alba" and others), would have been taken from the "strike-ball" teams (or Soft Ball, a military simulation game), and the language encrypted would have served to avoid cyber-attacks by neo-Nazi groups.

The scandal would be precisely in the accusation of terrorism of young people who, in reality, were online to share anti-terrorist and anti-fascist ideas, which in their opinion have been spreading in Russian and international society in recent years.

The methods of the FSB made people cry out at the return to the years of Stalin's "red terror", the 1930s , when all forms of counter-information, extorted confessions and violence were used to eliminate political opponents. The purpose of the "Network" convictions would be to create the pretext to oppress any form of youth protests, such as those repeatedly expressed in the squares lately, and perhaps pave the way for a generalized censorship of the internet in Russia.

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