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Moscow court rejects Girkin's appeal against arrest

by Martin Fornusek August 29, 2023 5:18 PM 2 min read
Igor Girkin (Strelkov), the former commander of Russia's proxies in occupied Donetsk Oblast and milblogger, during a pre-trial hearing in Moscow, Russia on July 21, 2023, after he was arrested for extremism. (Photo credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

The Moscow City Court rejected the appeal of Russian warlord Igor Girkin, who has been arrested on charges of extremism, the Interfax news agency reported on Aug. 29.

"The decision of the Meshchansky Court in Moscow from July 21, 2023, on preventive measures in the form of detention against Girkin for a period until Sep. 18, 2023, is left unchanged, the appeal is rejected," the court decreed.

The lawyers of the Russian militant, who is also known under the alias Strelkov, asked the court of a higher instance to overturn the decision of the Meshchansky court and choose milder restraint measures.

Girkin's legal representatives argued with the suspect's allegedly poor health and noted that he is a recipient of various awards. The lawyers also pointed out that he actively cooperated with the authorities during the investigation.

The arrestee himself reminded that he is unlikely to run abroad due to his conviction by a court in The Hague, and insisted on his innocence regarding the extremism charges opened against him in Russia.

Girkin is a former officer of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) who played a major role in the Russian aggression against Ukraine's Donbas region in 2014.

In April of that year, he organized the seizure of the town of Sloviansk, Donetsk Oblast, initiating Russia's war in the Donbas. Girkin admitted later in an interview that he had "pulled the trigger" of Russia's war.

He also proclaimed himself the "defense minister" of Russia's proxy forces in Donetsk Oblast.

Girkin has been found guilty by The Hague court of participating in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which killed 298 people in 2014.

During the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he has often lambasted the Kremlin for mishandling the war effort. Girkin co-founded the Club of Angry Patriots, a hardline nationalist movement pushing for more extreme measures to achieve victory over Ukraine.

He was arrested on extremism charges on July 21 in a sign of the Kremlin's crackdown against the pro-war opposition in Russia. Girkin is being held in the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center in Moscow.

Putin cracks down on pro-war opposition as all-out war falters
After Russian dictator Vladimir Putin launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, he swiftly eliminated the liberal anti-war opposition. But Putin now faces a threat from the other side – pro-war hawks who criticize Russia’s political and military leadership for mishandling the wa…
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