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Soviet rebel on child pics charges

Published 27/04/2015

Mr Bukovsky was investigated by Cambridgeshire Police
Mr Bukovsky was investigated by Cambridgeshire Police

Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky is to be charged with making and possessing indecent images of children.

The political activist, 72, will appear in court next month charged with five counts of making an indecent photograph of a child, five counts of possessing indecent photographs of children, and one count of possessing a prohibited image.

The photographs include some classed as 'Category A' - the most extreme categorisation, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Russian-born Bukovsky is an author and activist who became well-known internationally as a vocal critic of the Soviet regime.

He spent 12 years in Soviet prisons, forced-labour camps and psychiatric hospitals, which were used by the authorities to incarcerate political dissidents and submit them to compulsory treatment to "cure" their beliefs.

He first fell foul of the Soviet authorities in 1959 when he was expelled from his Moscow school for creating an unauthorised magazine.

And he was arrested in the 1960s while part of a group of young activists who held public readings of banned poetry and organised demonstrations against the heavy-handed tactics of the authorities.

In 1971 he managed to smuggle to the West 150 pages of documents detailing the abuse of psychiatric institutions for political reasons in the Communist state.

The revelations sparked an international outcry, and Bukovsky was arrested for the spread of anti-Soviet propaganda.

In 1976 he finally secured his freedom when he was exchanged by the Soviet government for the Chilean Communist party leader Luis Corvalan, but was banished from his homeland.

He moved to Britain soon after and has lived in Cambridge ever since. He is a senior fellow at the libertarian think-tank the Cato Institute, according to its website.

Bukovsky has written many books about his experience, including his memoir To Build a Castle: My Life as a Dissenter.

And he has tried to galvanise opposition to President Vladimir Putin, who he has accused of ushering in a new era of Soviet-style autocracy.

He accused the Kremlin of ordering the murder of former spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned by radioactive polonium-210 which was slipped into his tea at a Mayfair hotel.

At a hearing with Mr Litvinenko's widow Marina in 2013 he said: ''Since the Russian authorities got away with this murder they continue the practice. They encourage the Soviet regime to continue murdering people.

"It's like giving them a licence to kill, like announcing a season for hunting.''

In 2004 he was one of the founders of the Committee 2008 whose purpose is to ensure free and fair elections in Russia.

Jenny Hopkins, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS in the East of England, said: "Following an investigation by Cambridgeshire Police, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to prosecute Vladimir Bukovsky in relation to the alleged making and possessing of indecent images of children."

She added: "The decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors."

He will appear before Cambridge Magistrates' Court on 5 May.

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