A Moscow court on Saturday night sentenced Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion who leads a coalition of opposition parties, to five days in prison for leading an "unauthorized" demonstration in the capital. If forced to serve out the term this week, Mr. Kasparov would be out of the picture in the lead-up to Sunday's parliamentary elections.
The charges against Kasparov were trumped up by the authorities, and when questioned by Kasparov's attorney about the false allegations, the court was closed to both public and media scrutiny. A blog published the information of the trumped up charges through an interview with Kasparov's attorney.
The Journal further reports:
(Kasparov) is denied access to the media and prevented from freely campaigning and assembling, and is finding no relief from the judiciary. Mr. Kasparov, a contributing editor to the Journal's editorial page, isn't surprised, calling his conviction Saturday "a symbol of what has happened to justice and the rule of law under Putin."
Kasparov has been a consistent critic of the Russian government's authoritarianism, has repeatedly faulted Putin for poorly devised and ineffectual government policies, and has publicly called for investigations into the disappearances, false arrests, and murders of fellow dissidents. Larisa Arap was forcibly detained in a mental asylum and medicated against her will because she dared speak out against those in authority. The still-unsolved murder of journalist and Putin critic Anna Politkovskaya was followed by regular physical and verbal attacks on the president's opponents.
John McCain recently wrote an opinion piece against President Putin's authoritarianism entitled Why We Must Be Firm With Moscow. McCain believes . . .
A firm and unified response by the world`s great democracies to aggressive Russian behaviour abroad could mellow the belligerent elements.
There is trouble in Russia. The only way the authoritarian Russian regime will be dismantled is when firm, consistent pressure is applied to Putin and other Russian government leaders against the immoral and unjustified persecution of critics of the Russian government. Those who cherish freedom in this world better wake up and do something about what is happening in Russia before it leads to an even tighter axis of totalitarianism with Iran and North Korea that will lead to our world into despotism not seen since Stalin and Hitler.
Evil prevails when good men do nothing.
In His Grace,