July 5, 2014 by AK
The triplegic man sentenced in January 2014 to six years in a labor camp has been approved for release by a court in Kostroma. The camp administration argued it was unable to provide adequate care to the inmate, supporting his lawyers’ request for release. However the prosecution can still appeal this decision within ten days so Topekhin remains in the prison hospital at the moment.
Anna Karetnikova, a Moscow human rights advocate, and Svetlana Sidorkina, Topekhin’s lawyer, deserve huge credit for this. The camp officials understandably did not want an invalid on the premises: their Moscow bosses would have them responsible if he died or if his plight made it onto Russian TV or into non-Russian media. The provincial court showed more decency than the Moscow judge and the Moscow City Court, which refused to suspend the sentence but reduced the term to four years – not much further from a death sentence than six.