The Basmanny District Court of Moscow has extended the arrest of Golos co-chairman Grigory Melkonyants; he will remain in detention until 17 April 2024. His case will be handled by a new investigator.
The term of detention of Grigory Melkonyants would expire only on 17 January. In other words, the court decided to extend it a month and a half before the expiry of the previous term.
Stanislav Andreychuk, co-chairman of Golos, explained why such a decision was made:
“We understand that the reason for such a rush to extend the term is the same - not to shadow the course of the presidential campaign with a court hearing over the chairman of the watchdog organisation. It is not fair somehow. That is why they decided to extend the term one day before the elections were announced.”
The campaign for the Russian presidential election will officially started, with the election scheduled to take place on 17 March 2024.
Grigory Melkonyants has been in pre-trial detention since 17 August 2023. He is accused of organising the activities of a foreign or international non-governmental organisation, in respect of which a decision has been taken to declare it undesirable in the territory of the Russian Federation (part 3 of Article 284.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
The undesirable organisation whose activities in Russia were allegedly organised by Grigory Melkonyants, according to the investigation, is ENEMO - the European Network of Election Monitoring Organisations. It was declared undesirable in 2021. ENEMO was once a member of the Golos Association, an organisation that was liquidated by a court in 2020, a year before ENEMO was declared undesirable.
The Golos movement made a public statement immediately after ENEMO was declared an undesirable organisation that it had no interaction with the organisation, and it has not had any since.
In mid-October we were forced to repeat our statement that the Golos movement was not a founder or participant in ENEMO, nor was it "part of the organisation's structure" in any other way.
By 100 days of imprisonment Grigory wrote a letter from the pre-trial detention centre, in which he thanked everyone for kind words and support.
We remind you that you can write a letter of support to Grigory in pre-trial detention centre-5 Vodnik (for Grigory Arkadyevich Melkonyants, born in 1981).