Reports | August 17, 2012 14:24

Kasparov arrested outside Pussy Riot trial courthouse (UPDATED)

Kasparov arrested outside Pussy Riot trial courthouse

Garry Kasparov was arrested and reportedly beaten by police today in Moscow outside the courthouse where the Pussy Riot trial is taking place. Dutch journalist Olaf Koens' photo of Kasparov in a police van is quickly spreading on Twitter and elsewhere on the internet.

Although protesters could be found outside the courthouse, Kasparov

wasn't protesting, just trying to get in!

according to Mig Greengard, a close friend of Kasparov, on Twitter.

On Kasparov's Facebook page the following statement was posted:

Garry Kasparov has just been arrested outside the Moscow courthouse where the Pussy Riot trial is taking place. He was not there to protest, simply to attend, and the police cornered him and dragged him into the police van. This photo shows the police assaulting him inside the van. We hope he is all right and we will provide updates when we have them.

The photo by Olaf Koens

Inside the courthouse, the three members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot were found guilty of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for staging an anti-government protest concert in a church in February this year. At the moment of writing, the sentence isn't known yet. Prosecutors demanded a three-year prison sentence for insulting the religion and Putin and shouting "blasphemous" remarks inside the church. Putin himself said he hoped the women wouldn't be treated "too severely".

In April 2007 Kasparov was also briefly arrested by the Moscow police while heading for a demonstration. He was held for some 10 hours and then fined and released. In November of the same year, Kasparov and other protesters were detained at an Other Russia rally in Moscow. He was subsequently charged with resisting arrest and organising an unauthorized protest and given a jail sentence of five days.

Kasparov is chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, which issued a "legal report" yesterday with the conclusion that

the arrest, bail denial, and criminal trial against the three women violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Kasparov was quoted:

These young women have committed no crime. Their protest performance, while it understandably offended some at the church that day, constitutes political speech that should be unconditionally protected. Having them imprisoned without bail for over five months is unacceptable. Anything but acquittal tomorrow will be a disgrace and another slap in the face of civilized standards of justice. If they are not acquitted it will be more proof that so-called Russian democracy continues to erode under Putin. Without question, Pussy Riot will eventually obtain a favorable verdict at the European Court of Human Rights.

Update 14:43 CET: Another photo of Kasparov's arrest has appeared online:

Photo by Yuri Timofeyev

Update 14:46 CET: Mig Greengard just tweeted:

I just spoke to Kasparov at police station. Was beaten but is okay. Isn't sure what next step will be. Cops waiting for orders from above.

The official Kasparov Twitter account, which seems to be run by Greengard as well, added:

[Editor] Garry was talking with journalists when the police pushed in to drag him away. Not protesting. With Udaltsov at police station now.

Update 14:56 CET: 'Udaltsov' refers to political activist and Left Front coordinator Sergey Udaltsov. As Interfax reports, Uldaltsov also wanted to enter the court building and, like Kasparov, he was detained and put into a police bus.

Update 14:59 CET: In a comment below, Mig Greengard mentions that Kasparov

sounded pretty bruised on the phone, if that makes sense. Hoping for no serious injuries and for release

Update 15:17 CET: Kasparov was part of a group of a few hundred Pussy Riot supporters outside the Khamovnichesky District Court building, writes The Guardian.

There was a heavy police presence around the court building in central Moscow, where hundreds of protesters and band supporters were gathering.

The Moscow Times mention that Kasparov

bit a police officer, the head of the public chamber of the Moscow bailiffs service, Anton Tsvetkov, told Interfax. The policeman has gone to receive a medical examination, the news agency said.

Update 16:07 CET: More photos of Kasparov's arrest can be found here. For non-chess media obviously the big story is the Pussy Riot trial itself. The verdict was just announced by the judge: all three group members got two years' jail time, of which they have some 14 months left to serve.

Update 16:37 CET: From the police station, Kasparov said:

This is the Kremlin's reply to those who talked about Russia's liberalization under Putin.

Update 16:43 CET: Kasparov denies that he bit a policeman, but this part of the story might suggest that he'll face assault charges.

Update 17:52 CET: The BBC has video footage of Kasparov's arrest. While he was being dragged to a nearby police van, he demanded to know why he was being arrested.

Update, 19:51 CET: On the Kasparov Facebook page it was announced that Kasparov has been released:

Garry has been released, but the police are seriously pursuing this ridiculous charge that he bit a police officer. So he has more protocol to go through tonight with his attorney and must return to the police next week. Thank you everyone for your support.

And then there was the following tweet:

I am out of police custody, going to emergency room to check my injuries and to prove that I am not drunk or biting anyone!


Update August 18th, 10:05 CET: Kasparov spoke to Eli Lake of The Daily Beast and wrote about his arrest for the Wall Street Journal. Mig Greengard gave an interview for CNN.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

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Comments

Matt's picture

This is the world we live in.

KingTal's picture

Kasparov: "These young women have committed no crime." Well, they did, it´s called hooliganism. If you are stupid enough and make a racket in a church, you will be punished. Here in Germany you can get a maximum of three year sentence for such kind of actions. But nothing special nonetheless, Kasparov just trying to bring himself some media attention and of course for his Western money feeders.

Also one question to other smart commentators here. What the hell does making sh*t in the church by some Punkers has to do with Putin? If they would sing "Hail Satan" or "USA out of Iraq!!" there.. they would end up being prisoned too...

redivivo's picture

"What the hell does making sh*t in the church by some Punkers has to do with Putin?"

Do you think they would get two years in prison for saying "Down with Kasparov!" in the church?

Ruben's picture

Exactly and in no county this is allowd, but because it is Russia now everybody start to yell oh dictature! This is rather cheapo. The the USA sometime someone is shooting some people dead but nobody make too much problems about this because you have the right to carry weapons and this is the most important. Maybe this is better then arresting dancing naked in the church.

redivivo's picture

These girls were treated like cattle during the trial. They had to stand for hours on end handcuffed in a glass cage without being given food or water. We are talking about girls in their 20s with kids, that had committed a harmless crime, and they were much worse treated than the Nazis during the Nuremberg trials.

KingTal's picture

@redivivo: You have a twisted way of thinking. If these girls are mothers, then why are they spitting on other people´s religion and f*cking in public places like museums... also knowing what awaits them if they get caught. This in mind you can assume they show zero responsibility for their kids.

redivivo's picture

Seriously, have a guy like Tal as the judge in a case like this, and he would probably say that what the girls did was stupid, tell them not to do it again, and sentence them to follow the kibitzing at Chessvibes for a week.

Thinking's picture

wow super reply

Ruben's picture

I completly agree with this. As a mother of
children you must be more responsble and not dancing in strangs custums provoking religieus people and risking to be arrested, in mind that you have kids that you have to take care for.
This zero responsibility for there kids came also in my mind when I saw them laughing like unmature adolecents that have done something noty . As fathers you would never see your childeren agian after something like this but mothers can do anything seem it.

Ruben's picture

Well the Nazis were mostly hanged, but thats also a different story they committed crimes thats goes a little bit further than singing in a church..

Frits Fritschy's picture

Well, sorry, I didn't believe you at first, so I looked it up and it seems that you're right: (www.gesetze-im-internet.de/stgb/_167.html):
"§ 167 Störung der Religionsausübung
(1) Wer
1.den Gottesdienst oder eine gottesdienstliche Handlung einer im Inland bestehenden Kirche oder anderen Religionsgesellschaft absichtlich und in grober Weise stört oder
2.an einem Ort, der dem Gottesdienst einer solchen Religionsgesellschaft gewidmet ist, beschimpfenden Unfug verübt,
wird mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu drei Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe bestraft."
Which, by the way, doesn't mean I agree with it.
The thing is, believers have the right to be protected in a place that stands for their inner feelings. But in that case the holder of this place should hold back when it comes to politics.

Ruben's picture

Ah so in Germany also 3 years stands for this. In Holland I don t know it.

Arne Moll's picture

There are old laws in even the most liberal countries, but it's another matter to be actually sentenced by them. The question is not whether these girls broke a law or not (I guess they did) but whether the punishment is proportionate to the crime they committed. In this case, the punishment is totally out of proportion, bordering on the insane. And that is why Kasparov and other rightfully speak up about this case.

Peter Doggers's picture

In fact Kasparov doesn't focus on the "disproportionate" argument.

(...) as if the length of the prison term were the only problem with open repression of political speech. The Russian Constitution is freely available online, but this was a medieval show trial with no connection to the criminal code.

Goendi's picture

That is because it is very well known Kasparov is chasing a political carreer in Russia, which explains why he actually showed up. In fact in this matter I doubt Poetin is even involved. He doesn't need to... The orthodox religion is strict enough to use their influence in bringing these girls to trial. And why choose a cathedral anyway? They knew they would provocate. They knew the consequences...

Arne Moll's picture

Well, Kasparov and op-eds... ;-) 

Anyway, would Kasparov also have been there if these girls had faced a symbolic 1 ruble fine instead of 7 years prison? Or, even more interestingly, if the girls had prayed for the demise of Gary Kasparov rather than Vladimir Putin? Perhaps Kasparov is a bit more principled that I am but I can't help feeling that freedom of speech was less of an issue in this particular case than the fact that the sentence was so ridiculously high.

Madonna (who never writes articles for the WSJ) addressed the root of the matter much more pointedly (and shorter): "I protest the conviction and sentencing of Pussy Riot to a penal colony for two years for a 40 second performance extolling their political opinions. Even if one disagrees with the location or how they chose to express themselves, the sentence is too harsh and in fact is inhumane."

Frits Fritschy's picture

Arne, a two year sentence in a Russian penal colony is too harsh a sentence and in effect inhumane to anyone, even for stealing a car (where 40 seconds would be a bad performance).
I already have said there is nothing wrong with the law itself, the girls broke it and they didn't get anything near the maximum sentence.
But they broke the law on purpose and for a good reason.
For the rest, I don't understand what you are putting up. If a judge had been courageous enough to fine the girls with one ruble, that would have been a protest in itself and Kasparov would only be needed for the defence of the judge.
And Kasparov is at the moment not in a position to be demised; he has been demised more or less already. If any band in Russia at this moment would write a song against him, they should be very much distrusted.
At last, doubting your principledness a bit less than you do yourself, I can't make cheese (sorry that I am too lazy to get a dictionary) of your last remark. He saw something wrong, protested and got what he knew he was risking. Anything wrong with that?

valg321's picture

there are multiple issues here, by definition you can't focus on more than one

Frits Fritschy's picture

See for the last verdict on 167 Strafgesetzbuch: http://openjur.de/u/277548.html# (2008).
I agree with your opinion, but you can't ignore facts.
As a totally unreligous person, still in my opinion it is under normal circumstances impermissable to disturb a religous gathering in a designated place. A church is a public building, but with a very private function. You can't just say these are obsolete laws.
But were circumstances normal? From another verdict on 167 StGb (1996) I learned that the protection of this law is not applicable when someone uses it for political purposes. You could say that was the case when Kirill openly put the Orthodox Church behind Putin.

KingTal's picture

You should not ignore the fact that this is not the first time they did stupid things. They also f*cked in a public place, in a museum i think it was and sprayed dick Graffitis on walls... these things are considered as a crime in every country and also might be a reason for that punishment. And why does Kasparov claim, that they comitted no crime, does he have no clue of the laws there or does he think he can decide what is a crime and what not? I hope he got beaten some sense into him by the police there.

Also he uses their actions to bash Putin, who has nothing to do with it in this particular case. Just one conclusion: Kasparov doesn´t care about this case, he just want some media attraction to promote his and foreign countries political interests.

Anonymous's picture

"I hope he got beaten some sense into him by the police there."

I really really hope you don't seriously think this way...

Ruben's picture

Yes it was on Dutch television. They had an orgie in public place and one of the girls from 18 years get pregnant from this. Is this normal?
I am a very liberal person but this even me goes to far. Must everything be tolerated then?
How idiot is must become then for that there is a reaction from the society ?

The Devil's picture

This is slightly reminescent of Bobby Fischer getting jailed and beaten. I know they were about entirely different issues but it still reminds me! Don't go crazy Garry!

The Devil's picture

And to add, Bobby Fischer punched one of the officers, and Kasparov bit one!

Picard47's picture

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-for-arrested-Garry-Kasparov/37035...

FACEBOOK PAGE FOR THE SUPPORT TO THE ARRESTED GARRY KASPAROV

KingTal's picture

It´s not about saying something about someone, it´s about breaking the law on purpose and disrespecting the belief of other people, but you can go try out screaming "Down with Kasparov" and rioting in a nearby church in your country and lets see what you will get, hahaha... religion is a sensible thing.

Also it was a complaint by the Russian Orthodox Church and they would withdraw it, if these dumb girls would make an official apologize. Well, they didn´t, and so they must sit now. And they deserve it.

KingTal's picture

This post is directed @redivivo.

redivivo's picture

"they deserve it"

I'm not surprised that you think that :-)

KingTal's picture

Well, so you will try to make a riot at church ok, screaming "Down with Kasparov" and then wonder if you get busted, alright? Otherwise you mentally agree with me. =)

Tom Finn's picture

mentally is the only word I agree with

Guillaume's picture

"religion is a sensible thing"

Ha ha ha.

Sensible (adj): having, using, or showing good sense or sound judgment; capable of being perceived by the senses; material.

Synonyms:
1. intelligent, sagacious, rational, reasonable. See practical. 2. conscious, understanding, observant. 4. perceptible, discernible, palpable.

Antonyms:
1. stupid.

KingTal's picture

Hahaha, i made a translation mistake, i meant "sensitive", which means "sensibel" in German. Funny though. ;)

Henk de Jager's picture

One can say many things about Kasparov, but not that he is a coward or afraid of fighting (literally) for what he believes in.

Henk de Jager's picture

@KingTal: You show the confused, but typical, opinion on law and order of citizens of (former) dictatorships. In civilized countries people don´t go to jail for two years over a little fuss in a church.

KingTal's picture

You missed the point, i said that if you do stupid things, you can´t complain being punished. Also I heard the death penalty does exist in some civilized countries, but you can´t have everything.

I am rather confused by the logic of some people first defending idiotic actions by some random Punkers, who noone would care about, wouldn´t there be propaganda media to hype them up, while second trying to connect it with the goal of defamation, out of context, of a certain head of state...

Ruben's picture

Maar Henk als je dit flikt in Barneveld, Veenendaal of putten of epe dan ga je ook met handboeien de cel in hoor. Ik weet alleen niet hoe lang ze je vast zullen houden maar het zou je wel eens tegen kunnen vallen. En in Peru Mexico of Bolivia ga je zeker de bak in. In Palermo of Napoli overleef je het waarschijnlijk helemaal niet en wordt je door de mafia in stukjes geneden. Dus het is maar net hoe je het bekijkt. Niet dat ik religieus ben in het geheel niet.

valg321's picture

why did the girls did what they did inside a church? the way i see it that way they're giving an easy excuse to the court for the sentence they'll surely get.
And Goendi is right. The Orthodox religion in general is one of the strictest religions there is. I don't think there's a lawyer that can adequately defend that fact for the girls. Well not in Russia in any case.

Frits Fritschy's picture

What you are saying, valg321, is that the girls took a big risk. Maybe they thought it was worthwile. At least it makes clearer to the outside world what connections there are (and have been, see the source redivivio supplied further up) between the Orthodox Church and the Russian rulers.
In 1913 Emily Davison threw herself before the king's horse in the Epsom Derby. You could just call that a stupid action (she died), but 5 years later women (at least partly) got the vote in the UK.

valg321's picture

anyone with half a brain, a shred of common sense, and some basic knowledge of world history, knows that the clergy have always supported the dominant political powers. Always. And everywhere, not just Russia. And the fact that these girls have oundoubtedly enraged the orthodox fanatical religious core, doesn't make things any better, does it? You say they took a risk to prove a point to the outside world? I say they took a risk to prove a point to the outside world in a stupid way.

Ruben's picture

It maybe nice to mention that in Holland there is a political party the GPV that does not allow women to participate. What you think about that? Yes the ones with the big mouths have also some human right voilation. And then I don t even speak about the "Family Live" of children.
Because then it goes about more
then 100.000 s cases of human right voilation.
This story is a bit too big.

valg321's picture

i meant defend the fact that the band was playing inside the church.

Tom Finn's picture

Whatever happened to the God Who would sweep all of them pussy riots with His Mighty
Wang Dang Doodle straight to hell? He did not need a president to do that ;-)

slonik's picture

No lawyer can defend such a horrible crime as playing in the church, those girls just don't know how to respect believers in the way the Communists always did during the years Putin was a KGB boss.

Septimus's picture

Very easy to confirm biting. Teeth leave a distinct mark and Kasparov's DNA would be in the alleged bite.

Kasparov is no saint, but the police seem extraordinarily intent on beating up people.

Pulern's picture

Should profiled chess players consider boycotting Russian events?

Ruben's picture

So Kasparov does everything to get some attention. He is smiling when he is arrested so he seems to have big fun that he succeed.
And people are writing over him again, but not anymore about his chess playing.

Thomas's picture

By no means I want to defend the Russian authorities or powers, neither in the main Pussy Riot case nor in the IMO rather secondary Kasparov case. But I tend to agree with Ruben that it was a planned PR stunt by Kasparov and his "assistant" Mig Greengard - by all appearances they aren't "merely" friends but business partners or whatever you want to call it (nothing wrong with that). If Mig is in New York, given the 8 hour time difference with Moscow it seems he started to become active, take over Kasparov's Twitter and Facebook accounts etc. very early in the morning or still in the middle of the night? IMO it's debatable just how brave Kasparov was: he knew that he might be arrested due to his VIP status, for the same VIP reason he would be released a few hours later. The Pussy Riots were brave (or naive or whatever, others discussed how their action would be received in other countries), Kasparov was jumping on the bandwagon.

When van Wely was arrested at Newark Airport, he was allowed one phone call - how many times could Mig Greengard call Kasparov or the other way around? Russian police let it happen, from their perspective to make Kasparov look stupid!? Again I don't share their perspective, though.

Frits Fritschy's picture

If Mig is following this (I have a feeling he is), I would be interested in his reaction.

valg321's picture

i agree that Kasparov took the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon and he does look like he's desperate for the attention but that doesn't make me feel any less for him

Ruben's picture

Kasparov has only no pussy.

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