[ by Charles Cameron -- the Garry Kasparov arrest ]
It isn’t chess. It isn’t, as we’d say in England, cricket. It besmirches the good name athletes like Arsen Galstyan brought Russia in the London Olympics.
It is Garry Kasparov, arrested for protesting the trial of Pussy Riot..
In yestrdays Wall Street Journal, under the title When Putin’s Thugs Came for Me, Kasparov — Russia’s one-time youngest ever undisputed World Chess Champion — wrote:
The men refused to tell me why I was being arrested and shoved me into a police van. When I got up to again ask why I had been detained, things turned violent. I was restrained, choked and struck several times by a group of officers before being driven to the police station with dozens of other protesters. After several hours I was released, but not before they told me I was being criminally investigated for assaulting a police officer who claimed I had bitten him.
It would be easy to laugh at such a bizarre charge when there are already so many videos and photos of the police assaulting me. But in a country where you can be imprisoned for two years for singing a song, laughter does not come easily. My bruises will heal long before the members of Pussy Riot are free to see their young children again. In the past, Mr. Putin’s critics and enemies have been jailed on a wide variety of spurious criminal charges, from fraud to terrorism.
But now the masks are off. Unlikely as it may be, the three members of a punk band have become our first true political prisoners.
If it was chess, here’s what we’d have to call it: a knight hustled into a van by pawns.