Lev Ponomarev Under Investigation

I have just received news from Russia that prosecutors have launched an investigation against human rights leader Lev Ponomarev, who recently traveled to the United States to debrief journalists on torture and abuse in the country’s prison camps. He is accused of committing slander against the Russian Federation, and is currently being prevented from leaving the country. Lev has been featured on this blog numerous times, and he is a hero, a father, a dear friend and highly respected colleague of mine. Several months ago, he provided us with a secret leaked video of “preventative actions” by the Russian OMON beating prisoners, which we posted to our YouTube channel. After Bret Stephens article in the Wall Street Journal linked to it, the video received more than 30,000 views in three days, before being removed by the YouTube community after an organized effort from unknown Russian parties to censure and remove it. It is fair to assume that these selfsame online censors are related to this harassment of Ponomarev. In clear violation of national and international law, the State’s administrative resources are being deployed to sanction someone who has dared to speak the truth about human rights and democracy in Russia. This baseless and outrageous investigation against Ponomarev is a clear gesture of intimidation. Lev’s brave work exposing the cruel and odious conditions within Russia’s renewed gulag system will not and cannot be deterred by these cowardly attack campaigns. I express both my complete solidarity and support for Lev, and I hope that you will do the same.