[JURIST] A new association of political prisoners formed by Russia's National Bolshevik Party (NBP) [party website, in Russian] will advocate for prisoners' rights and call attention to the plight of political prisoners in the country, party spokesman Alexander Averin said Sunday. Averin also called on the Russian government to release 25 alleged political prisoners, but government officials denied that they held any such prisoners in custody. Rights groups have also accused Russia of holding political prisoners and have petitioned for their release [advocacy report]. Averin said NBP plans to hold a rally on September 14 and called for Russians to protest the detentions. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.
The NBP, lead by writer Eduard Limonov [NYT backgrounder], has been repeatedly labeled as an extremist group and was banned by the Russian government. Last week, 12 NBP members held a protest [RT report] in the county's foreign ministry office before being arrested. In March, the Tagansky District Court in Moscow sentenced seven members of NBP to prison [JURIST report] for "armed hooliganism." In April 2007, a Moscow City Court judge heard arguments [JURIST report] on whether to grant the chief prosecutor's request to ban NBP.