Seven anti-fascist and anarchist men were accused of planning attacks against the 2018 football World Cup and presidential election.
A Russian court has convicted the men, aged 23 to 31, on terrorism charges and imposed jail terms of between 6 – 18 years.
Investigators said the activists had bought illegal weapons and explosives, and claimed they were plotting to overthrow the government.
Agents of Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, the FSB, said that they had found two Makarov handguns and grenade parts during searches.
The men are accused of being behind a far-left organization called Set, which translates as the “Network”.
In 2019, the “Network” was named as an extremist organization, alongside groups like ISIS.
Amnesty claims that this group is “non-existent”.
“It is clear from the trial that no criminal organization called “Network” has ever existed. What has probably existed is a loose group of young like-minded people interested in playing airsoft. There is no evidence linking them to terrorism-related activities.” said Natalia Prilutskaya, Amnesty International Russia’s Researcher.
Four of the defendants claimed that they had been tortured during the investigation, saying that they had been beaten and electrocuted to garner confessions.
“I was in my underwear, they put a sock in my mouth, and tied wires to my big toes. Someone asked, why do you lie to the FSB?” one of the defendants was quoted as saying by Novaya Gazeta newspaper.
“They turned on the electricity, they did it five times. I told them whatever they wanted me to.”
According to Europol, there was 27 instances of left-wing and anarchist terror attacks in 2016.