Russian opposition activist seek asylum in Ukraine
An activist of the Other Russia unregistered opposition movement and his wife have applied for political asylum in Ukraine.
Kiev: An activist of the Other Russia unregistered opposition movement and his wife have applied for political asylum in Ukraine.
According to Russian human rights group Agora, Alexei Devyatkin and his wife, journalist Jenny Kurpen, fear criminal prosecution over riots that broke out during an opposition rally in Moscow on the eve of Vladimir Putin`s inauguration as president May 7.
"We realise that we are in the `risk group` and may be included in the list of suspects (over the riots), that is why we have made the decision to leave the country," Agora quoted Kurpen as saying in a statement.
If the Ukrainian authorities reject their application, Kurpen said she and her husband would seek asylum in a "third country". She mentioned Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, and the US as possible destinations.
A Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman refused to either deny of confirm the report.
Kurpen said she and her husband had been detained in Moscow May 6, the day when the opposition staged a mass rally on Bolotnaya Square, across the river from the Kremlin, to protest Putin`s inauguration.
The rally saw violent clashes between police and protesters, in which some 80 people, including 30 police officers, were injured. More than 400 people were detained, and 16 were identified as suspected participants in the riots. Official charges have so far been brought against half of them.
Kurpen said she and her husband fled to Kiev after they were released from detention.
She said they fear that they may be arrested again, citing an example of another activist of the Other Russia movement, Alexander Kamensky.
According to Kurpen, Kamensky was detained May 6 several hundred metres away from Bolotnaya Square, but was subsequently charged with organising the riots.
Kurpen said she and Devyatkin would only return to Russia if the investigation over the riots is closed and all suspects are released.
Another member of the Other Russia movement, Alexander Dolmatov, who took part in the May 6 demonstration, was earlier reported to have applied for political asylum in the Netherlands.