In one of Russia's most prominent trials concerning anti-Putin protestors, the authorities have shown that they will not tolerate protests against the ruling regime by sentencing seven defendants to penal colony terms, each from two-and-a-half to four years. The defendants were blamed for attacking police and inciting a riot, but rights groups have criticized the trial for being light on evidence and exceptionally heavy-handed. In Russia, less than one percent of defendants convicted of these charges are given sentences over a year in length. For those thinking about protesting in Russia, the message is clear: exercise your constitutional right to demonstrate against your government at your own risk. VICE News sent Simon Ostrovsky to the court in central Moscow to witness the reading of its verdict as a new batch of protesters was being arrested outside.
Inside a Russian Show Trial
Photo by Alexander Baroshin