High-profile case: Russian actor Pavel Ustinov released on own recognisance

Pavel Ustinov in court. Photo: Reuters/Forum

On Friday, Moscow City Court has considered the appeal for the release of actor Pavel Ustinov from the pre-trial detention centre and ruled to free him under the pledge not to leave the country.

On September 16, Tverskoy district court of Moscow sentenced actor Ustinov to 3.5 years in prison. The convicted man was found guilty of violence against a Rosgvardia employee.

In late August, the actor was detained in Pushkin Square during an unauthorized protest in Moscow. Alexander Lyagin, a guardsman, was the victim, whose shoulder, according to the investigation, was dislocated by Ustinov during the arrest.

In mid July, Russians started protesting against the authorities’ refusal to register opposition and independent candidates for the Moscow City Duma elections.

Moscow: Criminal case opened against participant in Saturday’s protest rally

The 24-year-old Ustinov did not admit guilt and said that he had just stood by and waited for his friend and did not participate in the rally.

“I was beaten, I was beaten with special means, I never resisted,” he said.

Although prosecutors asked for six years of imprisonment for him in court, later the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office asked for the sentence be changed. According to Deputy Prosecutor Yuri Ponomarev, the agency considers Ustinov’s guilt proven but the court decision is ‘too harsh’.

The sentence given to Pavel Ustinov triggered a wave of solidarity; many Russian actors and cultural figures took part in picketing in support of him.