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7 Aug, 2019 13:19

Russian couple probed over putting 1yo son in danger at anti-govt rally cleared of all charges

Russian couple probed over putting 1yo son in danger at anti-govt rally cleared of all charges

Prosecutors have dropped charges against a Russian couple it investigated over having allegedly put their one-year-old child in harm’s way, by bringing the child to an unsanctioned opposition rally in Moscow.

The pair, identified by the media as Dmitry Prokazov and his wife Olga, appeared on authorities’ radar last month, when a large-scale anti-government protest took place in Moscow.

The two Moscow residents were spotted handing over their little child to an unknown man, giving the authorities grounds to believe that they’d used the baby to sneak through police cordons.

Russia’s Investigative Committee promptly launched an inquiry, accusing the spouses of “exploiting the child ... to the detriment of their son’s interests.” The law enforcement body even asked a court to strip the couple of their parental rights, stirring up a frenzy in Western media.

However, the sensation created by the story proved to be short-lived, as the committee dropped all charges after its brief probe. It found no child endangerment had occurred, as the man in question to whom the child was handed over – named Sergey Fomin– turned out to be a relative of one of the accused parents and their older son’s godfather, their lawyer told Russian media.

Being an established opposition activist, Fomin is now being pursued by authorities for helping stage “mass unrest.” “They were out for a walk together, they didn’t break any cordons and didn’t take part in any rallies,” the lawyer stated.

The couple earlier said they’d tried to keep away from the crowd when the protest unfolded in the area. Deliberately bringing a child to the protest would be “absurd,” they told the media.

Moscow witnessed a string of opposition rallies on July 27 and August 3 after independent candidates were accused of voter fraud, of allegedly “farming” the hundreds of signatures they’d needed to reach the eligibility target for inclusion in the upcoming municipal elections.

They called for an appeal of the decision and, in the meantime, have urged supporters to take to the streets. Ultimately, at least 2,000 protesters were detained during both rallies, according to police figures.

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