Russian poet sentenced to seven years in prison for anti-war verse

A Moscow court has sentenced poet Artyom Kamardin to seven years in prison for “inciting hatred” against militia members in the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk “People’s Republics”, and for calling for actions that would threaten state security, Novaya Europe’s courtroom correspondent reported on Thursday.

Kamardin’s co-accused, Yegor Shtovba, was sentenced to five and a half years in prison on the same charge.

Kamardin’s wife, Alexandra Popova, shouted “disgrace” when the verdict was announced. Courtroom staff removed her from the premises. Our correspondent added that police then began detaining people attending the hearing.

In late September last year, Kamardin and Shtovba took part in the Mayakovsky Readings, an event at which activists and poets read anti-mobilisation and anti-war poems.

The next day, the police came to Kamardin’s home with a search warrant. Kamardin claims he was tortured and raped with a dumbbell handle during the search, adding that this was recorded and later shown to his wife. Popova said she was also subjected to abuse in the next room, and recounted how the police officers superglued stickers to her face and eyes, beat her and threatened to rape her.

The three defendants in the Mayakovsky Readings case — Shtovba, Kamardin and Nikolay Dayneko — were arrested in September last year. Dayneko struck a pre-trial deal and was sentenced to four years in prison in May.