Police accuses Russian activist of planting fake bomb

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Russian police detained an environmental activist Thursday as part of an investigation into a fake bomb threat that fellow activists said was an attempt to pressure them.

Alla Chernysheva said she was detained for nearly six hours in the Moscow region town of Khimki, where environmentalists are opposing a major road project through a local forest.

Police launched a criminal probe into a fake bomb left in a bag in a crowd during a on February 1 protest by the movement, Moscow region police spokesman Yevgeny Gildeyev told RIA-Novosti.

"In the course of studying video footage, it was determined that Alla Chernysheva brought the said package and placed it among the people," Gildeyev said.

The offense carries up to five years in prison.

Khimki activists denied the allegations, saying a suspicious package was left near their protest's location before any activists arrived, and that Chernysheva was harassed by police in an effort to hamper the group's activities.

Chernysheva said the bag she is holding in the video shown to her by police had signatures the movement gathered of people opposing the construction of a major housing development in a park zone.

Chernysheva told AFP she was "threatened and pressured psychologically," during questioning by investigators.

"They tried to make me take responsibility for the fake bomb, to say that I'm a terrorist, and that if I don't, my children will be taken away," she said.

"They want to scare us and pressure us into stopping environmental activities," she said.

Activists in the Khimki forest movement have been repeatedly detained in recent months, and several journalists covering the plans to build the Khimki forest motorway have been beaten.

© 2011 AFP

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