Statement by Garry Kasparov on His Unlawful Arrest


AUGUST 18, 2012


Given the disturbing events of the past few days, many people have been asking what they can do to help. Garry Kasparov’s non-profit organization, the Foundation for Democracy in Russia, supports legal defense for opposition activists. You can donate to the foundation by clicking here.

This purpose of this statement is to make clear the facts of my unlawful arrest by the Moscow police on August 17, 2012, outside the courthouse where the trial of the band Pussy Riot was taking place. I need make no complicated arguments, as there is a large amount of professional video publicly available that shows the police violently seizing me while I was chatting with journalists and later physically assaulting me. I plan to file suit for this illegal arrest and against the officers who attacked me.

This video evidence also categorically disproves the accusation made by the police that I assaulted an officer by biting him on the hand. The officer in question, and his hands, are clearly visible before, during, and after the police assault on me. There is never any sign of a bite, any visible injury, or any reaction from the officer as if he had been harmed. Article 318(1) of the Russian criminal code describes penalties from fines of 200,000 rubles ($6200) up to five years in prison for causing a minor injury to a uniformed state officer on duty. On Monday, August 20, I will be interrogated by the police on the matter of my supposed assault on a police officer. They will then decide whether or not to proceed with a criminal case against me. On August 23, I will be in court on the charge of participating an unsanctioned political rally on the 17th. Both allegations are preposterous and in any free nation with an independent judiciary they would be thrown out after a single viewing of the video record of events.

Unfortunately, having all the evidence in the world on my side will not help me in a Moscow courtroom. The sentencing of the members of Pussy Riot to two years in prison for an anti‐ Putin prank is only the latest demonstration that the rule of law in Putin’s Russia begins and ends in the Kremlin, and not with our Constitution. It does not matter who you are. Any demonstration of disobedience to the Putin police state is met with violence and persecution. The video evidence of August 17 does more than prove my innocence. It indicts the security forces as nothing more than political enforcers. They do not serve the state, which is defined by the Constitution. By committing these acts of brutality they want Russians to be afraid. But we are not afraid; we are angry. And we will stay angry until Vladimir Putin and his cruel, corrupt system are swept away.


Below is a link to a compilation of annotated video footage showing the police violently seizing Garry Kasparov, lifting and carrying him to the police bus, and forcing him on board. The police refuse to answer Mr. Kasparov’s repeated question, “What am I being charged with?”

Later, Mr. Kasparov is grabbed and beaten by several police officers outside the bus. One of these officers, highlighted in the video and in the video stills below, was reported injured by the police, who claimed Mr. Kasparov had bitten him on the hand. The videos and the photos show this officer striking Mr. Kasparov in the head with his left hand. There is never appearance of a bite or injury to the officer. The officer stays at the scene and uses both his hands with no sign of discomfort.

Garry Kasparov talking to reporters, August 17, 2012

Police carrying Garry Kasparov, August 17, 2012

A police officer beats Garry Kasparov with his left hand, August 17, 2012

Police officer who beat Garry Kasparov, August 17, 2012

Right hand of officer who beat Garry Kasparov, August 17, 2012

Left hand of officer who beat Garry Kasparov, August 17, 2012

Left hand of officer who beat Garry Kasparov, August 17, 2012

Right hand of officer who beat Garry Kasparov, August 17, 2012


A PDF of the press release is available here.