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Chemist Jailed In Russia For Giving Expert Opinion In Court

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the science-will-rise-up-against-you dept.

The Courts 232

scibri writes "Think the imprisonment of Pussy Riot is a miscarriage of justice? Check out the story of their cellmate: Chemist Olga Nikolaevna Zelenina heads a laboratory at the Penza Agricultural Institute. She is an expert in the biology of hemp and poppy, and is a sought-after expert in legal cases involving narcotics produced from these plants. Last year, she was asked by defense lawyers to give her opinion in a case involving imported poppy seeds. The prosecutors didn't like her evidence though, and now she's in prison accused of complicity in organized drug trafficking."

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Just look at those dead, dead eyes. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416031)

Clearly a criminal mastermind. Russia's answer to Walter White.

Re:Just look at those dead, dead eyes. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416313)

She's Russian. If she wasn't involved in criminal activity, she was going to starve.

Russia: Doing Democracy Without a Condom (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416435)

If those people don't take care, pretty soon their justice system will be as corrupt and misguided as the US justice system. They'll be walking around demanding your papers, taking possessions and money without a warrant, jailing people for smoking pot, and only people with money for connected lawyers will sure of (cough) "Justice."

Re:Russia: Doing Democracy Without a Condom (5, Informative)

wpi97 (901954) | about 2 years ago | (#41417429)

You and many other posters here are amazingly naive. With all its shortcomings, the US justice system is perfect compared to the Russian one. The members of the "Pussy Riot" group have just been sentenced to 3 years in prison for chanting an anti-Putin slogan in the main cathedral in Moscow. Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been convicted twice for completely ridiculous charges, and has been in prison for 9 years. Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for a British firm operating in Moscow, uncovered massive tax fraud by Russian officials. He was the arrested for... wait for it... tax fraud, held without trial for almost a year, and conveniently died just days before the 1-year limit for which he could be held without trial was due to expire. It is highly unlikely that he has died from natural causes. These are just the recent high-profile cases that are known internationally. Beyond those there is incredible corruption at all levels, and complete disregard of the rule of law by the police and other officials.

Same in the US (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416033)

Wow, sort of like the private equity firms that support Romney getting investigated and subpoena'd while MF Global and John Corzine (an Obama supporter) go free. As the government behemoth grows, so does the need to appease the beast lest you suffer the wraith of those in power. Sad.

Re:Same in the US (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416087)

I was about to reply to this story when I read your response. I tend to agree that the New Russia is becoming like the New Amerika. Can we bring back the guillotine and have a simultaneous American-Russian Revolution in which the people of both countries rise up against their own Ruling Class or Bourgoise. Nothing like blood in the streets to keep the bureaucrats in check.

Captcha: 'disdain' - poetic and timely

Re:Same in the US (-1)

feedayeen (1322473) | about 2 years ago | (#41416185)

Not that I particularly like Obama, but wouldn't this analogy be the Ruling Class (Obama) be turning against the Bourgose (Romney)*. We also have the issue in that a company being subpoenaed is not even close to being comparable to being thrown in jail.

*At a net worth of 10M, Obama's hardly not a member of the Bourgose, but when you compare it to Romney's 200M, the analogy works alright in my books.

Re:Same in the US (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416259)

And to be fair, you would have made the analogy if Obama had anything less than 200M.

Re:Same in the US (2)

mrbester (200927) | about 2 years ago | (#41416311)

The word you're looking for is "bourgeois"

Re:Same in the US (5, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41416387)

IIRC, the bourgoise were the 1% of their age.

BOTH obama and romney, and all associated tools are neatly tucked into that 1% demographic.

What the french did was repeatedly eliminate the 1%-ers. (Remove the top 1%... check to see if the problem resolved.. remove the next top 1%... rinse, repeat until problem solved, or population == 0)

We call them "the 1%", they called them "bourgoise". Same difference. Its the people with all the money, influcence, connections, and power to be assfucks.

Note: the french had to do it... REPEATEDLY.

It isn't JUST the 1%-ers. It's also the people who would seek to replace them straight up, and the people who readily and willingly enable them to be the 1%.

In the US, that would be an *alarming* number of people guillotined before the problem would be resolved.

The problem is far more systemic than you would care to realize.

That's because (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416541)

Note: the french had to do it... REPEATEDLY.

The French don't do anything properly the first time.

The problem is far more systemic than you would care to realize.

Stopping the proles from reproducing would be a better way to start.

Yeah, they screwed up helping the USA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416757)

They shouldn't have bothered. Because as soon as they don't do EXACTLY what you merkins want, you'll go and slag them off forever. Thinking this is somehow "clever".

Re:That's because (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416809)

Note: the french had to do it... REPEATEDLY.

The French don't do anything properly the first time.

True. Look how many times they had to force the Germans to go to war so the French could practice surrendering.

I doubt it's a coincidence the French haven't won a war since the French Revolution (if you consider Napolean a continuation of the Revolution...)

Re:That's because (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#41417261)

They won WWI. Sure they had allies. So did Napoleon. The US had to buy military airplanes from the French back in WWI FYI.

Re:Same in the US (4, Informative)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#41416783)

IIRC, the bourgoise were the 1% of their age.

You don't. From "dict bourgeois": A size of type between long primer and brevier. Also: A man of middle rank in society; one of the shopkeeping class.

Re:Same in the US (5, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41416915)

Actually, no..

While that *is* what the word means, and is applied correctly, remember that pre-revolution france was a fuedal society. The number of non-aristocrats that owned their own lands and homes was minimal.

It's the same thing as with the 1% of today. A tiny fraction of the population owned the vast majority of land, wealth, resources, and power.

The revolution started with the aristocrats, the "clearly" 1%-ers. This was not sufficient, as the bourgioes readily replaced them in tyrrany.

The problem resolved when the aristocrats, *and* the supporting class (privilaged private land owners) were eliminated. After that, the peasant class could be represented in government.

Eg, what I am getting at here, is that caiming "no, they were the middle class, not the 1%!" Is a nonsequitor, when the aristocrats represented .01%, and the bourgeois represented .99%, while the serf class represented 99%. The false comparison to today's "middle class" being a significantly larger portion of the population does not negate the assertion that the historic bourgeois were the 1%ers.

Re:Same in the US (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#41417403)

Aristocrats also did not traditionally pay taxes in feudal systems.

Re:Same in the US (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41417227)

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

In contemporary academic theories, the term bourgeoisie usually refers to the ruling class in capitalist societies

Re:Same in the US (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#41416795)

That didn't actually work out for the French, and the peasantry got so sick of revolutionaries they stopped following them (the revolutionaries weren't all that great, really). They finally got democracy, but that more or less cemented the elites into power. You think Hollande is a socialist who will re-distribute his wealth to the impoverished unemployed? No, he will definitely keep his own wealth.

Re:Same in the US (4, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41417099)

No it didn't. They basically killed off everyone that had the connections to establish a cogent civil order, because civil order cannot meet the demands of mob rule, which is what the revolution became.

It indeed did end when the peasant classes refused to listen to the revolutionaries, as they woke up to the festering hell they had created, and the endless witch-hunts the revolutionaries were inciting in trying to hypocritically enforce their own wills over others, and branding any resistance "tyrany". In the end it wasn't at all about equal treatment in the courts, equal opportunities to own land, etc.. it was about vying groups of revolutionaries denouncing each other, and killing each others' supporters until the population basically just ignored them, and went about living.

In many respects, napolean's conquest actually helped bring order to this torn up france, and fostered reconstruction. The vacuums in local politics enabled the grassroots democracy that slowly sprang up however.

I agree though. The revolutionaries had gold on the brain. Not philosophy, nor intents on equality.

Re:Same in the US (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#41417441)

Actually the problems started because the price of bread rose to a point most people were unable to buy food to survive. This was due to a worse than usual crop compounded by wheat price manipulation by middlemen refusing to releases stocks in order for the price of the produce to rise further. The government refused to do anything about it and the masses revolted.

Re:Same in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41417475)

In the US, that would be an *alarming* number of people guillotined before the problem would be resolved.

The problem is far more systemic than you would care to realize.

I disagree. Put it on network television 24/7 and I assure you, after the first 500 or 600 heads are lopped off onto a pile, mounted on stakes, then paraded around a town square, the other 330,000,000 would fall in line pretty damned quick.

Re:Same in the US (4, Interesting)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 years ago | (#41416091)

There has been a long standing belief that them that has the gold makes the rules. In our country justice is supposed to be blind but as we hear more and more those without resources caught in the wheels of justice often get turned into gear lube. While I'm concerned with it, I don't think ultimately that our system of justice is flawed completely however your statement would be on the investigative/prosecutorial side of things, not in terms of the court. In the pussy riot brewhaha, the judge should have thrown the case out, but it would appear that the judge is also serving the guy in office rather than the business of the people. In this case I can't see how a judge would keep this scientist in detention for just an opinion based on documented testing results, that is unless she did it for somebody else. I guess there's just more to this than we're being told, kind of like "Fast and Furious?"

Had it coming. (5, Funny)

Roobles (1880882) | about 2 years ago | (#41416055)

Well, from the looks of the article, her testimone prevented someone from facing jail time. And clearly someone needed to be jailed. A simple and obvious solution, if you ask me. </sarcasm>

Re:Had it coming. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416081)

It is the law of conservation of happiness: happiness cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred from one person to another. It is not a physical law, but a real Russian law. After all, why do you think Putin is always so cheerful? Shooting tigers, wrestling bears, skydiving, etc.?

Re:Had it coming. (3, Funny)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 years ago | (#41417499)

So what you're saying is that Putin is a giant Incubus, sucking all the happiness out of Russia?

Re:Had it coming. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416309)

It happens enough in the US that prosecutors are willing to do unethical and sometimes illegal things to get their conviction.

Re:Had it coming. (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | about 2 years ago | (#41416893)

It happens enough in the US that prosecutors are willing to do unethical and sometimes illegal things to get their conviction.

Sad but all too true.

(Posting to remove mis-mod.)

Coming soon to a US courtroom near you. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416057)

Outlaw science!

There has to be more? (4, Insightful)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 years ago | (#41416061)

I would think that maybe this is not related to that particular case or is it? I realize with the whole Pussy Riot thing was blown way out of proportion but I would think that this sends a chill down the backs of every citizen in Russia today if it's true.

I didn't see in the article what the formal charges were, just "charged with complicity" socould she have helped some other organization and also, why didn't the prosecutors corroborate or refute the evidence she presented with another analysis of the poppy materials?

Re:There has to be more? (4, Insightful)

Muros (1167213) | about 2 years ago | (#41416141)

Why refute evidence when you can just arrest anyone who contradicts you with facts?

Re:There has to be more? (1, Offtopic)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41416329)

Why does there have to be more? Even here in The Land of the Free (TM), we have people serving decades in prison for nothing more than growing plants. Don't underestimate the capability of any government for wanton brutality.

Re:There has to be more? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41417235)

I think Ducard from Batman had it right. This shit has got to go. "You are defending a city so corrupt, we have infiltrated every level of its infrastructure. When I found you in that jail, you were lost. But I believed in you. I took away your fear, and showed you a path. You were my greatest student It should be you standing by my side, saving the world."

Re:There has to be more? (5, Informative)

ACS Solver (1068112) | about 2 years ago | (#41416673)

It is related to the case. I'm reading Russian sources, but the English TFA says as much.

Basically, in 2010, the Russian FSKN (a law enforcement organization specifically fighting drugs) initiated criminal proceedings on allegation of drug contraband in poppy seeds. FSKN experts concluded that the shipment does constitute a shipment of drugs. Zelenina, as an expert witness, said that the particular shipment did not have intentionally added narcotic compounds, and that small amounts of those substances were present because it is in fact impossible to eliminate them entirely from poppy seeds. And now she's jailed on charges of being party to a contraband shipment of drugs. Interestingly, I read that a new legal standard adopted in Russia in 2005 specifies that poppy seeds must be completely free of these narcotic traces, which is a technological impossibility and thus poppy is now only imported and not grown.

Fun thing is that there's another section in Russian law that allows people to be charged for making deliberately false expert witness statements - but she was not charged with that. The punishment for false statements is considerably lower than for drug contraband.

This is actually old news (she's been in jail for a month) but is cropping up again because her appeal is being heard.

Re:There has to be more? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 years ago | (#41417435)

Okay, that explains a lot. So, I guess we'll have to wait for to see what evidence is presented at the trial but I would think that if this is not thrown out by the court, it would definitely be a set back for progress in Russia. I guess the one take away in all of this is not to trust any government nor its legal system because a prosecutor can ruin your life with little evidence or trumped up charges.

Re:There has to be more? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#41416677)

It doesn't have anything to do with the Pussy Riot case, other than the (accidental) fact that she ended up in the same cell with Tolokonnikova. The case she was an expert witness was a completely different one, per TFA:

In September 2011, the defence attorneys of Sergey Shilov, a Russian businessman under investigation by the Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FDCS), asked her to provide an expert opinion on the amount of opiates that could possibly be extracted from 42 metric tonnes of food poppy seeds that Shilov had imported from Spain in 2010. ... In her expert report, Zelenina stated that it is technically impossible to fully eliminate such impurities from poppy seeds, as Russian laws require. She also wrote that the seized seeds did not contain any deliberately added narcotic compounds

okay lemme get this straight (3, Informative)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 years ago | (#41416133)

She did LAB TESTS on i would assume a bunch of semi random samples of a shipment of Poppy Seeds and concluded that THIS SHIPMENT was so low in Drugs that this was not a DRUG shipment but a FOOD shipment. So the response of The Government is to JAIL HER for being "in on it". I would assume she had things like lab reports and such which were submitted as evidence and that Somebody Else has not done the same work and found different results (her "random" samples just "happened" to be Clean).

Comrades Put down the Vodka for a moment and THINK.

Re:okay lemme get this straight (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416153)

Man, fuck you, I think best with a bottle of Vodka in my hands.

but it vass NOT ze Right Answer (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 2 years ago | (#41416243)

und zo Comrade Chemist must go to re-education. how can you not see ze logick here? or, iss zere, perhaps, another explaination? ....

Re:but it vass NOT ze Right Answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416273)

She's Russian, not German.

Re:but it vass NOT ze Right Answer (2, Informative)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 2 years ago | (#41416349)

GP's probably American cut him some slack. At least he got the hemisphere right...

Re:but it vass NOT ze Right Answer (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41416511)

Nicht comrade. Even we american imprialist dogs can get correct inflection!

It is clear to all that lady scientist was using contraband narcotics while at work, and not wholesome Russian wodka, as is proper.

How else could she have made such blaring error as to contradict russian prosecutor?

Re:but it vass NOT ze Right Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416507)

YOU LIE!!!!!!!

Re:okay lemme get this straight (2)

msauve (701917) | about 2 years ago | (#41416335)

Because, after all, it's profitable to import 42 metric tonnes of poppy seeds, at a market price of around $190,000 ($4600/tonne [beckleyfoundation.org] ), in order to extract 390 grams of morphine (based on the 0.00069% content according to the article). Based only on raw material cost, that's around close to $500/gram.

A quick Google says a 30 mg dose has a street price of $10, so that 390 grams has a street price of ~$130,000. Maybe the additional codeine content would bring it past break-even, if processing/packaging/distribution were free.

Sell at a loss, and make it up on volume, I guess.

Re:okay lemme get this straight (1)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#41416535)

Because, after all, it's profitable to import 42 metric tonnes of poppy seeds, at a market price of around $190,000 ($4600/tonne [beckleyfoundation.org]), in order to extract 390 grams of morphine (based on the 0.00069% content according to the article).

The seeds will not be destroyed. You separate the seeds and sell them. Whatever remains you put into processing and additionally get whatever you can.

Of course this process makes no profit if the drug content is so low. IMO, the prosecutor is just throwing the book at the uncooperative expert. Let's wait three days and see what the other judge says. Even in Russia you cannot jail someone with no excuse - however flimsy and laughable it may be. But once the bad excuse is out it can be attacked. If there is no political will to imprison her (and I don't see any here) she will walk, and may even be a bit richer in the end.

Re:okay lemme get this straight (1)

msauve (701917) | about 2 years ago | (#41416813)

"The seeds will not be destroyed."

What makes you say that? Obviously, the original source did as economical separation as possible, probably using screens before shipment. So, the opiate bearing material is likely "fines," not easily separated.

I used simple prices/costs, ignoring any processing/packaging/distribution, and 100% extraction. If the value of the seeds is to be recovered, that can only increase the processing cost - assuming there is any reasonable method of separation at all. Additionally, 100% extraction is unlikely at any reasonable cost, so that reduces the value of any extraction.

I have to think that if importing opiates is the goal, it would be cheaper and more profitable to simply sneak a kg of finished product across the border.

Re:okay lemme get this straight (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41416979)

If the value of the seeds is to be recovered, that can only increase the processing cost - assuming there is any reasonable method of separation at all.

If there is no reasonable method of separation then there is no point to doing anything, because they cannot cost-effectively chemically process the entire batch of seeds. They must separate the parts which bear the active ingredient if there is to be any point.

I have to think that if importing opiates is the goal, it would be cheaper and more profitable to simply sneak a kg of finished product across the border.

At these concentrations there is probably nothing whatsoever that you could do to get the opiates out in a cost-effective fashion, which was the entire point of the testimony.

Re:okay lemme get this straight (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41416347)

Comrades Put down the Vodka for a moment and THINK.

If anyone involved with drug prohibition actually thought, there would be no drug prohibition.

Re:okay lemme get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416569)

Sure there would be. Once 70% of the population was regularly using drugs, they'd be "too mainstream" and hipsters would be kvetching about how they liked heroin/coke/meth etc "before they was mainstream". Hipsters would then push for drug prohibition because by then it would be the only non-mainstream position on drugs.

Re:okay lemme get this straight (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41416959)

If anyone involved with drug prohibition actually thought, there would be no drug prohibition.

That is the most naive thing I've seen all day. They have thought it through very carefully, and they sleep on a gigantic pile of money. Some of them, of course, have just been stupid. The majority are corrupt.

Re:okay lemme get this straight (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416399)

I am sure police will dig up a proper sample which their experts will identify to containing overall morphine and codeine content of 69% and 49% respectively.

Re:okay lemme get this straight (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416483)

Depending on how the analysis is done, that's a sadly valid possible outcome.

Re:okay lemme get this straight (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41416729)

Wow.. magic poppyseeds to have values like that!

% by weight values like that means that the seeds themselves have negative mass! How else do you explain the drug content of the seeds being in excess of 118%!?

Somebody tell nasa! Its just what they need to build an alcubierre warp drive!

140% (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 2 years ago | (#41417241)

I'm pretty sure that in russia it goes up to 140%

Re:okay lemme get this straight (5, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41416527)

it's russian justice. which is an oxymoron

a court room merely provides the veneer of impartiality. the state controls the judges, the state controls everything. whatever verdict the state wants, it gets. actual justice is not the point. power and control is

russia still believes in the strong man mentality. one strong dude has to control all. this is viewed as strength. when of course, this is colossal weakness. many russians understand this. but if they speak out about it, they get jailed, censured, fired or otherwise ostracized. it's sad

as long as there is a large pool of russians that respect and believe in the idea of the big strong man, russia is doomed to mediocrity and, paradoxically, weakness

Does Russia have Battered Wife Syndrome? (1)

kawabago (551139) | about 2 years ago | (#41416621)

It's a good question in light of this story.

Re:Does Russia have Battered Wife Syndrome? (1, Flamebait)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41417045)

in a way, yes

beat the population, you teach the population power and strength means beating the population. some break the cycle, but enough continue the brutality to keep the brutality going generation after generation

no country is immune from this

in the usa, we have a bunch of ignorant rural southerners who faithfully vote republican, even though they live shorter, unhealthier lives, because of republican policies

how is this possible? well, education is deemphasized: that's evil liberal indoctrination. so you get them with the constant litany of teaching ignorant things. that mr. CEO deserves his ridiculous salary because he worked hard to get it all by himself from scratch (pay no attention to the favor daddy called in to his country club chums to get him his first job). that the idea that he has to sit on a silver toilet, and not a gold toilet, so some of his workers get healthcare, is evil socialist redistribution

even more amazing: rural southerns will be shouting that redistribution is evil, even as the rural south receives the lions share of federal subsidies. amazing, isn't it? the ignorance, the blindness? get a kid young, you can teach him the craziest shit, and he will believe it and defend it, as a point of pride

my fellow americans: everyone should start out on the same footing, with good healthcare and good education, and where they wind up should be a simple reflection of how much hard work they do. a meritocracy. i believe in that

but what the hell that idea has to do with a predatorial class that uses those words to defend its existence, even as it redistributes money UP, making you poorer and unhealthier and your kids more stupid, is beyond me. why do so many fools who understand the idea of meritocracy, understand so strongly when a poor nonwhite women staying on welfare is wrong, but don't understand when mr. i-got-my-job-from-my-dad's-country-club-chums is bailed out and pays a ridiculously low tax rate: no, that's fair. wtf? wake the fuck up

america believes in working hard, you get your just rewards. the upside of this belief is that a lot people actually do just that. but plenty others work hard, and get shit, and don't perceive the class structures keeping them down. classism is alive and well in america, but america's work hard ethic masks the bad side effects of classism, people only blame themselves, not the class structures holding them down. in europe, they readily recognize classism. and so "evil socialist redstribution" isn't seen that way, but instead seen as a good correction for genuine class structures that keep the poor unfairly down

if everyone doesn't start on the same footing, you can't believe where they wind up is fair. you correct that by making sure everyone gets a good education and good healthcare. then you erase a lot of the unfairness of what is real and alive in america: class structures

Re:okay lemme get this straight (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#41416695)

many russians understand this. but if they speak out about it, they get jailed, censured, fired or otherwise ostracized. it's sad

A slight correction. You can speak out about it, just not loud enough. Generally speaking, the higher you distribute the message, the more likely you are to get into trouble. Ranting here on Slashdot, like I do, is not their concern. Publishing it in newspapers is.

offtopic but (-1, Offtopic)

Velex (120469) | about 2 years ago | (#41416137)

Why do I care about Pussy Riot? Men don't even have a voice in whether their genitals are mutilated or not. They can have a Pussy Riot when people are discussing mutilating infant girls.

Re:offtopic but (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416217)

I saw Pussy Riot last night.

Last time I change cat litter brands.

I thought this ended with the cold war... (3, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41416157)

Seriously. The very language of the charge spells out the kind of justice that is being dished out: we say you are guilty, and the court is a formality. Don't question the ruling party comrade.

If her report showed that the defendant couldn't possibly have been importing poppyseeds for the manufacture of narcotics, due to the almost undetectable levels of the required compounds in the imported samples, then he should have been released, and charges dropped.

Claiming that she is complicit with drug smuggling means they found the defendant in the case she testifed for to be guilty anyway. Otherwise, how could she have been complicit in his "criminal importation operation"?

Seriously-- I thought this kind of shit ended with the cold war, and that Russia was trying its best to become a respectable member of the global community. Seriously... this shit is out of control.

Re:I thought this ended with the cold war... (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41416421)

Seriously-- I thought this kind of shit ended with the cold war, and that Russia was trying its best to become a respectable member of the global community.

You forgot, we replaced the cold war with the drug war. There's nothing respectable about any country involved with either.

Re:I thought this ended with the cold war... (1)

Jimbookis (517778) | about 2 years ago | (#41416465)

I think for centuries now the ruling class (from the czars 'til today) modus operandi in Russia is "We're not happy until you're not happy."

Re:I thought this ended with the cold war... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416501)

Seriously-- I thought this kind of shit ended with the cold war, and that Russia was trying its best to become a respectable member of the global community.

What rock have you been living under? It's been obvious for a long time that Putin's Russia is a mafiocracy.

No not at all (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#41416683)

Russia has become a little more free than it was when it was part of the USSR, but not much. http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2012/russia-0 [freedomhouse.org] more or less it has presented the facade of a democracy, but is still a one party centrally controlled system.

Re:I thought this ended with the cold war... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416685)

I don't think the beginning and end of the Cold War coincided with the prevalence of corruption in Russia. Consider this quote from Abraham Lincoln in 1855:

  "Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it, "all men are created equal, except negroes." We the Know-Nothings get control, it will read, "all men are create equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it come sto this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty . . . to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base allow of hypocracy [sic]."

Re:I thought this ended with the cold war... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416771)

Shut up about Russia. America has 2.3 million prisoners, way more than Russia. I suppose you think that they all had fair trials?

Re:I thought this ended with the cold war... (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41417215)

At least in the US, the defence doesn't go to jail for offering a strong defense. The defense is just impotent in the face of corruption.

Granted, that isn't a conslation to brag about. Being the most litigious and absurd country on the planet (with nukes) is about the only thing the US is "Number One!" At, other than explorting clearly stupid and one sided legislation worldwide under threat of invasion.

Really, I don't claim my country is paradise. It clearly isn't. But at least there is the fiction of a fair trial here. The russians don't even get that, it seems.

Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416269)

In the early morning of 15 August, a group of FDCS officials accompanied by masked and armed members of a special police unit entered Zelenina’s home in Lunino, a town in the district of Penza. They arrested her and took her to Moscow.

Why can't these people govern themselves without state thugs snatching people in the night?

More importantly, how is this the fault of the US? It must be, I'm just having trouble connecting the dots.

Re:Russia (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41416385)

Why can't these people govern themselves without state thugs snatching people in the night?

I ask the same thing about America. When we imprison sick people and their care givers, what right do we have to lecture Russia?

Re:Russia (0)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#41416725)

There's a difference between imprisoning people over violations of unjust laws, but still with due process being properly applied, and the insanity of this story. One is rule of law, and can be fixed by repealing the unjust law. The other showcases a fundamentally broken justice system.

Re:Russia (3, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 2 years ago | (#41417049)

No there isn't. You are a fool to even suggest there is. Assine laws enforced with procedure are no different that good/poor laws enforced without procedure. If I make it illegal to breathe but you still have due process when you are convicted you think that's better?

Both scenarios result in tremendous damage to truly innocent people. There isn't a such thing as less terrible when the result is destroying peoples lives. Oh don't worry George, you only lost 30 years of your life for an unjust law, but at least you weren't railroaded over a just law and lost 30 years, because that would just suck so much more.

Re:Russia (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#41417549)

There is a difference because, in one case, you know about the unjust law, and you can plan your actions to avoid it - or at least avoid getting in caught. In the absence of the rule of law, on the other hand, you can be found guilty on a whim of someone in power just because you crossed their way - even on accident. That's a very big difference.

Re:Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41417273)

not really, the majority of defendants can not afford an attorney, and when they get a public defender they throw them under the bus and do the least amount of work to help them. So no there is no justice for the 99% sorry.

Re:Russia (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41416661)

state thugs snatching people in the night

We prefer the term extraordinary rendition [guardian.co.uk] .

Re:Russia (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#41416707)

Why can't these people govern themselves without state thugs snatching people in the night?

We tried in the 90s, but somehow it just ended up being criminal (non-state, private "enterprise") thugs doing the same thing. And there were more of them, so people kinda figured that it's better when you have one in charge officially. At least that takes care of all the others.

Re:Russia (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#41417085)

Why can't these people govern themselves without state thugs snatching people in the night?

That'd take all the fun out of it. You want your victims pissing their pants while they're still half asleep and verging on a heart attack when you paint them with a laser sight. How else are they going to learn the lesson? Besides, it's safer for everyone involved since it's far less likely that you've armed yourself and are ready for them.

That's nothing (1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41416271)

Here in America we jail people just for making bad movies!

Re:That's nothing (4, Funny)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 2 years ago | (#41416337)

George Lucas is in jail??!

Meh. So what? No worse than here. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416307)

Where you'll be arrested for resisting arrest.

In Soviet Russia... (1)

logicassasin (318009) | about 2 years ago | (#41416355)

... oh wait.... ... nevermind.

Jailed for giving facts! Not opinions. (3, Informative)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | about 2 years ago | (#41416357)

From the article it is evident that she made precise measurements with lab equipment and presented them in court.
Any of her colleagues could have repeated those measurements.

Re:Jailed for giving facts! Not opinions. (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about 2 years ago | (#41417219)

From the article it is evident that she made precise measurements with lab equipment and presented them in court.
Any of her colleagues could have repeated those measurements.

But would they be willing to testify in court to confirm those same measurements, after what happened to her?

Re:Jailed for giving facts! Not opinions. (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#41417277)

From the article it is evident that she made precise measurements with lab equipment and presented them in court.

The prosecution is accusing her of having reported on biased test results. Make lots of tests, but only report the lowest detected concentrations.

Any of her colleagues could have repeated those measurements.

Or, just start over with their own sampling and testing.

I'm guessing corrupt prosecutor. He hasn't seen enough tithe in his bank account, so she's going down.

Bad Luck Brian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416377)

Prominent scientist and intellectual

in Russia

Re:Bad Luck Brian (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#41417321)

Prominent scientist and intellectual

in Russia

You ignorant git. [wikipedia.org] I'm shaking my head in astonishment that anyone could be as dense as you.

It's like the KGB still runs the country.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416411)

Tell me again what Putin did before everyone 'voted' for him and his stooges?

Oh, that's right, the same thing Bush Sr did before everyone voted for him, his stooges and his son.

By amazing coincidence, Blair in the UK, Sarkozy in France, Berlusconi in Italy and many others around the world that were 'elected' to office had all previously worked in the spy business.

What an amazing coincidence.

The list is even longer if you include media personalities. Even puppy dog eyed Anderson Cooper is a CIA trained Vanderbilt.

Re:It's like the KGB still runs the country.... (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#41417421)

Interesting. I knew about Putin and Bush senior. I didn't know about Blair, Sarkozy, Berlusconi, or Cooper (not that Cooper matters much here).

Thanks.

Could happen anywhere ! (2)

redelm (54142) | about 2 years ago | (#41416461)

... all it takes is _one_ over-zealous persecutor. The other prosecutors might think it going too far, or might even be genuinely outraged. But what can they do? Charges are charges, and will grind through the pre-established system. She might [or might not] be able to "beat the rap", but no-where can a targetted individual "beat the ride".

One could say things about Russia's lack of tradition and understanding of basic human rights. But frankly I'm not convinced this matters much -- look at how rapidly the majority of Americans have accepted the appalling violations of the TSA.

One might say western judges have a greater sense of procedural necessities like attorney-client or judicial privilige. But judges have been ground down over the years by the stick of overturned-on-appeal and the carrot of higher appointments. Judges routinely accept any intelligent or independant juror being rejected, and AFAIK none will instruct a jury on their [still legal] nullification power. Even some of the USSC rulings are bizzarely in favor of govt (property seizure).

Re:Could happen anywhere ! (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41416995)

Judges routinely accept any intelligent or independant juror being rejected, and AFAIK none will instruct a jury on their [still legal] nullification power

Not just that; the judge will use misleading language to attempt to make the jurors believe they do not have any jury nullification powers. They tell the jurors that if the defendant did such and such thing that they must follow the law. This isn't strictly false; the law says they may nullify, because the law includes case law, not just what's in the code. So the judge effectively lies to them and gets away with it, which is apparently part of the job... the job of collecting all power to oneself and keeping it.

Re:Could happen anywhere ! (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#41417561)

One might say western judges have a greater sense of procedural necessities like attorney-client or judicial privilige. But judges have been ground down over the years by the stick of overturned-on-appeal and the carrot of higher appointments. Judges routinely accept any intelligent or independant juror being rejected, and AFAIK none will instruct a jury on their [still legal] nullification power. Even some of the USSC rulings are bizzarely in favor of govt (property seizure).

Yes, and prosecutors can generally get away with murder. There is no check on their power that can stick.

in soviet russia we miscarriage you! (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41416491)

in soviet russia we miscarriage you!

Er, wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416499)

Think the imprisonment of Pussy Riot is a miscarriage of justice?

Not really; no.

Potential explanations (2, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#41416559)

As much as it clashes with both our "Russia is evil" and our "science is right" mindsets, there are some explanations that could justify this. I'm not saying they're actually what happened (indeed, "Russia is evil" is the simplest and most likely explanation), but someone more fluent in Russian than I can look at the actual documents and see.

First, suppose the expert is not actually an expert, just an accomplice of the traffickers posing as one to try to get out of the charges. Rather obvious conspiracy charges there.

But let's suppose the expert scientist is indeed both an expert and a scientist. But let's also suppose that some stronger evidence showed clear drug charges - for instance, finding actual drugs and video evidence of trafficking. This could mean the expert was simply incompetent, or was bought off. Either of those would be grounds for obstruction of justice, although probably not conspiracy (at least according to my limited knowledge of a different country's laws).

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go actually read the article.

Re:Potential explanations (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416711)

Well, in that alternate universe she's guilty. But that's not what happened.

miscarriage of justice? (5, Insightful)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41416699)

How about gruel-born double-standards?
I've been wondering what all this hysteria about Big Bad Russia is about for some time now. Surely Russia is no Shambhala, but the US is a veritable litigation shit-hole slaughterhouse. We, here in the U.S. of A., imprison more people than any other nation [nytimes.com] . We have a privatized prison-industry and trade virtual crime-futures on the stock-exchange. Closer and closer we are coming to a re-introduction of prison labor, all while a repugnantly large portion of incarcerated citizens live in cages for victimless crimes.

My advice to anyone itching to don the Good-Guy Badge and storm the palace of bacchanalian litigation, is to look no further if you are a US citizen. In no way do I suggest that pointing fingers at corruption is error; but we really do have some house-cleaning of our own to do -- and to recklessly embrace hypocrisy may not be wise.

Re:miscarriage of justice? (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41416943)

We, here in the U.S. of A., imprison more people than any other nation.

That's because we don't murder so many as some others, like China, where they legally murder ten times as many people as we do, per capita.

My advice to anyone itching to don the Good-Guy Badge and storm the palace of bacchanalian litigation, is to look no further if you are a US citizen.

Before we get around to that, let's storm them for doing murder in our name in pursuit of profit.

Re:miscarriage of justice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41417529)

Despite all the problems in the US, is smells very nice compared to truly corrupt places like Russia. People like to equate the two but it's just not possible to do that rationally. We can actually talk about the problems of the US inside the US without going to jail for it.

In Soviet Russia... (3, Funny)

Graham J - XVI (1076671) | about 2 years ago | (#41416733)

...seeds jail YOU.

Clueless summary (0)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | about 2 years ago | (#41416791)

Pussy Riot was a group of vandals that trespassed and trashed the place. Comparing such scum to an actual expert in chemistry who did her job is just disgusting.
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