"We noticed a lot of publications and certain public response but, again, it is a judicial decision and we will not comment on it," Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that refusal to comment on court rulings was a matter of principle that had nothing to do with the particular decision.
The spokesman said during a daily briefing on Monday that President Vladimir Putin had looked into the case and ordered the authorities to make sure that everything was in line with the law but stressed that the Kremlin could not interfere with the court.
A court in the Russian city of Penza sentenced seven men to between six and 18 years in penal colonies on Monday on terror-, gun- and drug-related charges. The case has caused a public outcry, with rights activists saying that the men were tortured into confessing that they had formed a non-existent terror group, dubbed Set (Network), to overthrow the government.
The state security authority, the FSB, has designated Network as a terrorist group. Most of its suspected members hailed from the Penza region. Prosecutors said the group was created sometime before 2015 and met for training until fall 2017 when the FSB exposed it. The suspects told the presidential council for human rights that they had been tortured.