The trial of an 18-year-old student, the youngest Russian to be tried on charges of spreading “false information” about the Russian army, began Monday in Odintsovo, a western suburb of Moscow.
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Maxim Lipkan, who faces up to 10 years in prison, was arrested last February, shortly after celebrating his 18th birthday, while planning to organize a protest against the Russian attack in Ukraine.
The session took place behind closed doors and without the presence of the accused, who on Friday was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Chekhov, near the Russian capital, at the request of the court.
His lawyer, Alan Kaczmazov, who attended the session, told AFP that “the trial will take place behind closed doors because, according to (medico-judicial) experience, it has been partially recognized that he is not responsible for his actions.”
According to Mr. Kaczmazov, his client is accused of spreading “false information about the Russian army,” for publishing on his channel in Telegram and on YouTube information about “a well-known maternity hospital (in Ukraine) which, according to Mr. Kaczmazov, Maxim, was supposedly bombed by soldiers.” Russians.
“We are very worried about Maxim,” his mother Elena said before the hearing.
According to another of Maxim’s lawyers, Antonina Levochskaya, the young man “had his hair forcibly shaved” and had “disagreements with his cell neighbors” while he was in pre-trial detention.
The defense hopes Maxim will be released due to his undisclosed diagnosis.
Apart from his parents, only one person came to support Maxim in court: Lyudmila Ivanova, a 67-year-old pensioner. She said she regularly attends trials of anti-attack activists. “I came here to support the accused, but also to be supported by people who have the same point of view as those who found themselves under the hammer” of Russian justice, she said, crying.
Maxime Lipkan, an activist against the attack, had just finished his studies and was going to study law at university to become a lawyer.
Before his arrest, he intended to organize a protest on the occasion of the second anniversary of the start of Russian intervention in Ukraine, on February 24, under the title “The Year of Hell,” but the Moscow authorities prohibited this gathering. Maxime then filed a legal complaint against the D.C. City Council, but lost the case.
In February 2023, he gave an interview to Radio Free Europe, a media outlet funded by the US Congress, in which he explained why he was demonstrating against the Kremlin.
“I was so shocked by the casualties among the Ukrainian people in Kharkiv, Bucha and other Ukrainian cities that I decided to actively protest,” he said in this interview, calling on his compatriots to do the same.
The young man emphasized: “I understand all the risks, but I am not afraid to organize movements against the war.”
Police came to his door at 6 a.m. on February 21 and arrested him.
The next session is scheduled to be held on Wednesday.