June 06, 2024

63-Year-Old Political Prisoner Rejects Putin's Pardon


63-Year-Old Political Prisoner Rejects Putin's Pardon
Natalya Filonova being detained by police in August 2023.  RadioFreeEurope files. 

Natalya Filonova, an opposition activist from Buryatia, has refused a presidential pardon that would have freed her from a three-year prison sentence. 

Filonova was arrested in August 2023 on charges of assaulting police officers at a protest against mobilization orders. She was given the three-year sentence in May, but was offered a presidential pardon alongside 52 other female political prisoners.

In a letter to Holod, Filonova wrote that it is her right to refuse this pardon, as accepting it would require an admission of guilt on her part, and cooperating with the prison and police. "I don't want crumbs from the master's table," Filonova wrote. 

Despite worsening health conditions, Filonova wrote that she has not lost hope and looks on the bright side of her imprisonment, writing that she plans to use this time to lose weight and listen to music from her youth.

She reported that her fellow prisoners also keep her spirits up: "People are people everywhere, even those who have done something terrible. Despite the prohibitions, they help each other survive."

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