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StatementObservers21 May 2019, 20:14

On May 20, policemen detained the member of Golos Movement’s council Roman Udot. His detention is connected with the criminal case related to the incident at the Sheremetyevo Airport that took place in March of last year. The incident saw him grab the phone of the NTV correspondent who was acting improperly for a journalist, filming him and pestering him with questions. Roman had summoned police, gave them the telephone, and filed a complaint on harassment and violation of privacy, while the journalist, in turn, filed a countercomplaint on the phone theft. Earlier, Golos published a detailed account of this accident. 

As a result, the police used the NTV journalists’ complaint to open a criminal case under article 119 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (threat of homicide or risk of serious harm). Roman denies his guilt.

The opening of the criminal case was proceeded by regular harassment of Roman himself, nighttime calls to his parents, and threats that were provoked by the lies of the NTV-produced films. People with obvious connections to security services impersonated journalists and put psychological pressure on Roman’s underage child with ambushes. 

“Roman’s detention is nothing less than prosecution for professional activities exposing election rigging. This is a result of immense pressure that was applied to Roman, his parents, and his child,” claims the Movement’s co-chairman Grigory Melkonyants. 

So far, it remains unclear as to when the Khimki court will meet to determine the measure of restraint, which is why Udot’s lawyer believes there are no legal grounds for his detention or arrest. 

Golos Movement demands immediate release of Roman Udot and dismissal of these absurd charges. 

Roman Udot is a well-known activist of Russia’s election monitoring movement. During the presidential elections of 2008, he discovered and documented the now-legendary ballot box stuffing at Moscow’s precinct election commission №1513 that involved air raid alert. Today, Roman is one of the best experts in electoral statistics recognized on the international level. He co-authored a number of teaching aids of the OBCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Using statistical methods, he brings to light large-scale vote rigging, both in Russia and abroad. 

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