The Board of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum is dismayed at the trial for the “Set‘” (Network) group, which was labelled by the Russian authorities a terrorist community – without any plausible ground. Besides, the trial was marked with numerous law violations, including torture, and followed by the inhumane verdict, which was delivered on 10 February in the City of Penza, Russia.

Seven young men (aged from 23 to 31) were sentenced to jail terms from 6 to 18 years; the court stated that they were planning to carry out attacks inside Russia and to overthrow the government.

There are strong indications that proofs were falsified and the original confessions of the defenders were received under torture carried out by FSB officers. However, the Federal Investigative Committee refused to examine the torture allegations.

Lev Ponomarev, a prominent Russian human rights defender and Head of “For Human Rights” Movement, who has been following the case from the very start, writes in his statement that the case has been “fully based on torture and lies.” (see the whole text in Russian at

We demand not only abolition of the imprisonment terms but also a fair and impartial investigation into the cases of torture of the defenders and falsification of evidence.

The “Set’” case has been under investigation since late 2017, when 11 young left, antifascist and anarchist activists were detained in Penza and St Petersburg and accused of organising a terrorist group. Most of them were airsoft players: The prosecutors claimed that those games alone were training exercises for alleged future terrorist activities.