Russia’s Supreme Court has overturned Ildar Dadin’s conviction for illegal protesting. On February 22, 2017 the Court ruled the prosecution introduced insufficient evidence to prove he violated illegal protesting law Article 212.1.
In the summer of 2014 Russia’s Parliament passed Criminal Code Article 212.1 that concerned crimes related to unsanctioned public protests. The law included a “three-strikes” provision: anyone convicted three times of ‘violating the regulations governing public rallies’ within a six-month period is subject to felony prosecution. Upon conviction a defendant can be sentenced to up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of one million rubles (About $17,200).
Article 212.1 went into effect in January 2015.
Ildar Dadin was the first person prosecuted for violating Article 212.1. His prosecution was based on his three convictions for illegally protesting in Moscow within a six month period of time, after Article 212.1 went into effect. Dadin was not involved in any violent protests.
In December 2015 Dadin was convicted in the Moscow City Court. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison, and sent to a Siberian prison.
Peaceful protests were held in St. Petersburg and Moscow by Dadin’s supporters. In Moscow they released balloons with Dadin’s picture on them.
Dadin appealed. On March 31, 2016, with about 100 supporters in the courtroom, his conviction was affirmed, but his sentence was reduced to 2 years 6 months in prison.
Dadin appealed that ruling, arguing that Article 212.1 was unconstitutional.
On February 10, 2017 Russia’s Constitutional Court upheld the constitutionality of Article 212.1, but ruled it had to be applied proportionately, by consideration of “the real scale of public danger” presented by a protester’s actions.
Based on the Constitutional Court’s ruling, the prosecution withdrew its opposition to Dadin’s appeal. The prosecution acknowledged there was a lack of evidence Dadin’s protests had presented any “public danger.”
Twelve days later, on February 22, 2017, Russia’s Supreme Court vacated Dadin’s conviction on the basis of the prosecution’s admission there was insufficient evidence he had violated Article 212.1. Dadin’s case was ordered closed, and he was ordered to be released by the prison upon its receipt of the Supreme Court’s order.
Dadin was expected to be released on Monday, February 27, when his lawyer is allowed to visit him.
Dadin is believed to be the only person prosecuted under Article 212.1.