Jailed mathematician marries co-accused in Moscow detention center

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MOSCOW – A postgraduate math student jailed at Moscow State University and his former co-accused, who have been convicted of charges which rights groups have described as politically motivated, have married in a detention center.

The official wedding ceremony of Azat Miftakhov and Elena Gorban took place on June 23 at the Butyrka detention center in Moscow.

In January, the 28-year-old mathematician was sentenced to six years in prison after a Moscow court found him guilty of involvement in an arson attack against the ruling United Russia office in Moscow in 2018.

Miftakhov has denied the charges, which his lawyers say stem from his anarchist beliefs and support for political prisoners.

Miftakhov was arrested in early 2019 and charged with helping to build an improvised bomb found in the town of Balashikha near Moscow.

He was released several days after the initial charge failed, but was immediately re-arrested and charged with participating in the attack on a United Russia political party office in January 2018.

The Public Oversight Commission, a human rights group, said Miftakhov’s body bore traces of torture, which the student said was the result of investigators unsuccessfully trying to force him to confess. charge of manufacturing bombs.

Azat Miftakhov (file photo)

Gorban was one of Miftakhov’s co-defendants. She was also convicted in this case and given a suspended sentence.

Gorban told RFE / RL after the wedding ceremony that his parents supported his decision to marry his imprisoned fiance.

Miftakhov’s mother, Gulnur Khusainova, told RFE / RL that she too was happy that the two could get married.

The Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Center recognized Miftakhov as a political prisoner, while some 2,500 mathematicians from 15 countries signed a letter urging the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) to help free Miftakhov.

Earlier in June, the American Mathematical Society urged Lisa Peterson, acting assistant secretary in the Office of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the US Department of State, to include the case of Miftakhov on the agenda of the summit between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin held on June 16 in Geneva.


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