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NGO: Russian activist kidnapped in Kyrgyzstan, brought to Moscow, and tortured

by Dinara Khalilova November 3, 2023 12:13 PM 2 min read
Russian left-wing opposition activist Lev Skoryakin. ("Political Prisoners. Memorial" project)
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Russian authorities detained left-wing opposition activist Lev Skoryakin in Moscow after he was kidnapped in Kyrgyzstan, probably by special services, a Russian independent human rights project reported on Nov. 3, citing Skoryakin's lawyer.

The activist has spent two weeks in a Moscow detention facility and was subjected to torture, the "Political Prisoners. Memorial" project wrote. Skoryakin, who previously fled to Kyrgyzstan, was reportedly kidnapped there overnight on Oct. 17 and taken to Russia the next day.

"Most likely, Skoryakin was pressured to say that he allegedly decided to return to Russia of his own free will. It was impossible to legally extradite him to Russia due to the refusal of the Kyrgyz prosecutor's office and the fact that he was an asylum seeker," the human rights defenders added.

The detention facility's employees denied that Skoryakin was in their institution, while other Russian government agencies haven't reported on his whereabouts, according to the "Political Prisoners. Memorial" project.

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In 2021, Skoryakin and another anti-Kremlin activist, Ruslan Abasov, organized a protest near one of the headquarters of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in Moscow. They unfurled a banner with the inscription "Happy Chekist Day," where "chekist" means an agent of Soviet secret police, and lit road flares.

After the protest, Skoryakin and Abasov were detained in Russia for 1.5 years, after which Skoryakin managed to flee to Kyrgyzstan. In February, Russian law enforcement arrested Skoryakin in absentia in the case of "unlawful behavior committed by a group of people using weapons" and put him on a wanted list.

Skoryakin planned to leave Kyrgyzstan for Germany and already received a humanitarian visa but didn't manage to leave in time as his internal Russian passport was confiscated four days before the kidnapping.

The "Political Prisoners. Memorial" project has recognized Skoryakin as a political prisoner.


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