Russians accused of extremism cut wrists in court

Vyacheslav Kryukov (far left) and Ruslan Kostylenkov (2nd left) in court Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Vyacheslav Kryukov (far left) and Ruslan Kostylenkov (2nd left) are accused of attempting to overthrow President Putin’s government

Two Russians on trial for belonging to an anarchist organisation have slit their wrists in a Moscow courtroom.

The pair, Ruslan Kostylenkov, 25, and Vyacheslav Kryukov, 20, face extremism charges after being accused of belonging to Novoye Velichiye (New Greatness) group.

They were removed from the witness stand. Their condition is not yet known, Russian media report.

Both had called to be put under house arrest but had their request rejected.

When their request was denied, they reportedly told the courthouse: “This is an unfair trial” and “Glory to Russia, freedom of Russia, freedom of political prisoners.”

They then slit their wrists.

Lawyer Alexander Lupashko said it was unclear how the pair had managed to get sharp objects into the courtroom.

“They were checked by dogs. I believe either a piece of glass or a piece of a blade was carried in there,” he said.

Mr Kostylenkov’s lawyer, Svetlana Sidorkina, said: “Their nerves couldn’t handle it any more. All of the evidence proves that they didn’t commit a crime.”

The pair are part of a group of 10 young people facing trial on charges of creating an extremist organisation and seeking to overthrow President Vladimir Putin’s government. The suspects include teenagers.

One alleged member of the group, Anna Pavlikova, 19, has already been charged. Her health deteriorated in prison and she was later placed under house arrest.

The prosecution’s case largely relies on the testimony of an undercover policeman who infiltrated the group.

Human rights groups say the suspects were set up. Parents of the suspects say the group discussed everyday life such as school, work and in some cases, politics.


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