Investigators Open New Case Against Putin Foe

Leonid Razvozzhayev file photo with hand to ear, as if holding cellphone

MOSCOW/IRKUTSK, January 18 (RIA Novosti) ­ Investigators opened a new criminal case against opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev on Friday and denied media reports of his disappearance.

Investigators accuse the activist of spreading false information, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told RIA Novosti on Friday, stemming from Razvozzhayev’s continuing claims that he was tortured into confessing his role in organizing mass disorder after being kidnapped in Kiev last October.

Those claims were previously found to be groundless, Markin said.

Meanwhile, prison officials in Irkutsk, where Razvozzhayev is currently being held, denied on Friday reports carried by Russian media that he had disappeared while being transferred from an Irkutsk detention center to remand in the nearby city of Angarsk.

They added that there are no plans to trasnfer the activist to Argansk.

Earlier on Friday, firebrand Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov said on his Twitter feed that Razvozzhayev had “disappeared” en route from Irkutsk to Angarsk, citing his relatives.

Razvozzhayev is in Irkutsk in connection to another investigation into accusations that he robbed an Angarsk businessman of 500 fur hats and video cameras in 1997.

The authorities closed that case, however, and Razvozzhayev has asked to be transferred to Moscow, his lawyer Dmitry Agranovsky said on Thursday.

Agranovsky also said Razvozzhayev has complained of deteriorating health.

Razvozzhayev is one of several opposition activists facing charges of inciting mass disorder after a major opposition rally in Moscow last May that ended in violent clashes between police and protesters.

Investigators say the clashes were organized by Udaltsov, Razvozzhayev and another Left Front activist, Konstantin Lebedev, during a meeting last summer with Givi Targamadze, an influential Georgian politician.

All three men deny the charges. Lebedev has been in custody since October, while Udaltsov is barred from leaving Moscow.