FOSS activist arrested for tor exit node in Russia
Accused of incitations to “terrorism” made via his Tor exit-node, Dmitry Bogatov was arrested on the 6th of April.
Dmitry became part of a large penal case that was initiated by Russia’s Investigation Committee on “incitations to mass riots” during the protest action that took place on the 2nd of April in Moscow. According to the Investigation Committee, Bogatov was publishing messages on the forum sysadmin.ru. The messages posted were inciting to violent actions, for example, “he” was suggesting to bring “bottles, fabric, gasoline, turpentine [and] foam plastic” to the Red Square. According to the Investigation, the experts had analyzed the text of these messages and proved “linguistic and psychological characteristics of incitations to terrorism”. However, Dmitry claims that he has nothing to do with posting the incendiary messages.
The Investigation pled the judge to extend the detention period for the mathematician, but the judge Evgeniy Naidenov refused it. Article 212 of Russia’s criminal code establishes that offenders, who could be sentenced to up to two years in prison, should not be detained as a preventive measure. However, Bogatov was not released: he was taken away for interrogation at the Investigative Committee yet again, with handcuffs. The interrogation lasted for the whole night, and the Committee presented more serious charges: “calling for terrorist activities or justifying the use of terrorism via the Internet” (Article 205.2 with punishments from 5 to 7 years of emprisonment). These new charges transform a minor crime to a ‘grave’ one, and justify detention as a “preventive measure”. The hearing was held on April 10, and Bogatov got 2 months of preventive detention.
Dmitry Bogatov, 25 years old, teaches maths in MFUA (Moscow Finance and Law University). He was a free and open source software activist. Dmitry was administrating a Tor exit-node from his house. In fact, the author of “incendiary messages” (called “Airat Bashirov”) was using Tor, and, by chance, he used the ip adress of Dmitry’s exit node.
Dmitry’s lawyer, Alexei Teptsov, presented videos from surveillance cameras. The videos proved that during the moments when the “incendiary messages” were posted, Dmitry was away from his computer. He was coming back from a fitness center with his wife, Tatiana, and then went to a supermarket, where cameras were also working. Moreover, “Airat Bashirov”, the author of the provocative messages, continues to post on sysadmin.ru, while Dmitry is under arrest. The last post was seen on the forum on April 11.
Dmitry will stay in pre-trial detention center until June 8 at least. Now the Investigation is examining all his seized devices.
This is a guest post by Stanislav Shakirov (former PPRU chairman, 2009-2010).
Additional info about this case (in english)