Investigation Got Tangled: Court Sent Anastasia Denisova's Case Back to Prosecution
Public prosecutor has withdrawn the case from court, acknowledging serious discrepancies. Investigation got tangled in dates, streets, experts and did not even verify real beholders and users of the seized computers and the laptop.
Today on March 31, 2010 at Leninsky district court of Krasnodar public prosecutor Karpenko appealed to judge Herman Lonshakov to withdraw the case of Anastasia Denisova, leader of human rights NGO “ETHnICS” and the member of the Coordinating Council of Youth Human Rights Movement, because of gross contradictions in the indictment. The judge allowed an appeal and delivered a judgment to send the case back to the Prosecutor's Office. That was exactly on what Marina Dubrovina, Anastasia's lawyer, was insisting. But it took four pre-hearings in order to bring it home to the prosecution and make law violations vivid, says Open Inform Agency correspondent.
Marina Dubrovina, who is representing Anastasia on the initiative of Interregional Human Rights Association AGORA, has many times stated not only about the veracity of the expert advice which was the indictment basis, but also about the unspecified place, time of an alleged crime and real proprietors of the seized computers and the laptop. Namely, in some documents the investigator claims that computers were seized at Lenin street, in some – at Frunze street (in some documents different house numbers are put together). Dates of “the crime” in some documents do not coincide with dates in other documents of the case.
During the search at Denisova's apartment, Yuri Ivaschenko stated that the laptop, which the police agents were checking, belongs to him and offered to show the documents of the purchase. “Investigation did not even attempt to question or to enter the documents upon the record, points out Ramil Akhmetgaliev, the barrister and legal analyst of Association AGORA. - In terms of the expert advice it has already been identified that there was an unsanctioned access to the seized computers after the search. The investigator appointed one expert to make the expertize and then corrected this name with correction fluid, while the head of the expert institution proved the otherwise. The methodological approach of the expertise is impressive: the expert compared program keys with some “information on the Internet”, as he stated himself. IT specialists and ordinary users will understand the doubtfulness, putting it mildly, of such an approach”.
Anastasia draws another example from the expert advice, “such a methodology allowed the expert to label a pre-installed operating system on Yury's laptop as an illegal, though at the bottom of the laptop was a sticker – certificate of veracity, the photo of which the expert made himself”.
When the case was forwarded to the court, investigation insisted that Anastasia Denisova had violated author's rights and used the objects of author's rights – computer software as well as “viruses”. The head of “ETHnICS” pleaded not guilty and linked this criminal case with persecution for her professional activities.
It is interesting that when the investigator made a decision to accuse Denisova, he issued a recognizance not to leave and made Anastasia sign a document about the confidentiality of preliminary investigation information. The last document was issued because the investigator was alarmed with the spread of information about the situation with the human rights defender in the Russian mass media. AGORA association lawyers note that it is an illegal attempt to deprive Anastasia of her right of defence by making the criminal prosecution public.
The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation repeatedly issued unambiguous explanations that investigators cannot withdraw a written cognizance not to spread information related to preliminary investigation from the accused.
As a reminder, on January 11, 2010 the police searched the apartment in Krasnodar, where at that moment was Anastasia Denisova. The police arrived in the afternoon with the owner of the apartment and witnesses, showed a search warrant which was issued on January 6. They explained to the apartment owner that «a special operation which should identify the correspondence between the inhabitants and the officially registered residents of the apartment due to the terroristic threat is under way». Investigators announced to Denisova that they were searching for the unlicensed computer software. The search lasted for more that 3 hours. Investigators took away a laptop, an external hard drive and a flash memory drive which were found in the apartment.
The first search took place in October 2009 in the office, rented by Anastasia personally. That time the police were also searching for the unlicensed computer software. Both times the police confiscated computers which did not belong either to Anastasia or to her organization. The police did not have any complaints about Anastasia’s personal laptop or about the computer which does belong to «ETHnICS».