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Bashkortostan protesters face charges for assault on law enforcers

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On January 17, thousands of Baymak residents gathered at the regional court to protest the four-year prison sentence handed down to activist Fail Alsynov for his speech during an anti-gold mining gathering. Security forces deployed tear gas and sound grenades, as reported by Telegram channels 'Kushtau Bairam' and 'Odnazhdy v Bashkirii' ('Once upon a time in Bashkiria').

In the morning of January 17, thousands of Baymak residents gathered at the local court to demand a review of the case against activist Fail Alsynov, who had been sentenced to four years in prison for inciting hatred or enmity. Security forces dispersed the protesters using tear gas and sound grenades, and Telegram channels 'Kushtau Bairam' and 'RusNews' that covered the demonstration were blocked.

Clashes between locals and law enforcement persisted until the evening. Due to the large crowd, Alsynov could not be transported away from the court building. According to a local Telegram channel, the activist’s father, Fattakh, suggested that security forces release the detained individuals in exchange for the crowd moving away from the building. Following this, the protesters began to disperse.

Participants in the demonstration now face criminal charges for using violence against law enforcement, organizing mass riots, and participating in them. Preliminary data suggests that around 20 individuals have been detained. Local journalists report that 40 people sustained injuries from the actions of the riot police.

In April, Fail Alsynov delivered a speech at a meeting in Ishmurzino village, asserting that gold miners deprive people of their land. This led to a complaint filed by Republic head Radiy Khabirov. Linguists translated the activist’s speech from Bashkir, and statements he allegedly made became grounds for initiating a case for hatred or enmity towards citizens of Central Asia, Armenians, and residents of the Caucasus region in general.

Alsynov’s supporters addressed the head of the Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, demanding an additional investigation because "the translation was made with a bias towards the prosecution."

Bashkortostan residents assert their desire for the investigation to continue, allowing people "<...> to testify, express their points of view, and protect a fellow resident. We are accused of extremism, while in fact, we simply want our constitutional rights to be honored."

The verdict on Alsynov's case, initially set for January 15, was postponed after approximately 5,000 protesters gathered at the court building. The following day, security forces initiated the detention of the activist’s supporters across the Republic of Bashkortostan.


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