28 Sep 2018 17:40

Krasnodar lawyer defending opposition activists arrested for biting policeman

KRASNODAR. Sept 28 (Interfax) - A court in Krasnodar ruled on Friday to arrest Mikhail Benyash, a member of the regional bar association and a public figure, Benyash's lawyer Alexei Avanesyan told Interfax.

"The Leninsky District Court of Krasnodar granted investigators' request to remand Mikhail Benyash in custody for two months," Avanesyan said.

Benyash is charged with violence against a law enforcement official and obstruction of justice.

The Investigative Committee's branch in the Krasnodar Territory said two criminal investigations department officers detained Benyash in the center of the city in early September to draw up an administrative offense protocol over calling for participation in an unpermitted protest.

The investigation claims that, while being put into a police car, Benyash bit one policeman on the hand and elbowed another in the face several times.

Benyash has also been accused of disruptive behavior while defending a detained activist in court on May 6. Despite being dismissed from the hearing, he refused to leave the courtroom and was forcibly removed by court bailiffs.

Benyash's lawyers said he has defended arrested participants in unpermitted opposition demonstrations.

Earlier in September, Benyash was found guilty on two administrative counts: disobeying a police official's lawful order and violating the rules for organizing an assembly, rally, demonstration, procession, or picket.

The court sentenced Benyash to 40 hours of community service and 14 days of administrative arrest. He was supposed to go free last Sunday. Instead, upon the expiration of the term of his administrative arrest, he was detained for 48 hours in a criminal case, after which his preliminary detention was extended by another 72 hours.