Ludmila Alekseeva: 'Maybe by now they understand there's no need to use violence against the public' (Novaya gazeta)

posted 26 Nov 2013, 12:19 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 26 Nov 2013, 12:35 ]
14 November 2013

Interview with Ludmila Alekseeva by Yulia Polukhina (Martovalieva)

Source: Novaya gazeta

Photo: Novaya gazeta

A broad amnesty is in the interests of the government itself, its reputation.

Ludmila Alekseeva, historian and leading human rights activist, is not imploring, not demanding, and not begging. She's just voicing the facts about the life around us that we all already know. Yet she states them in a way that makes you feel the need to take action. Right now she is talking about the importance of giving the government an impulse and, if necessary, even help to finally hold a broad amnesty – including an amnesty for political prisoners

'We have not had a broad amnesty for many years now. And with the kind of court and investigative system they run in our country we need periodical amnesties even more. Not only as acts of mercy, but as a kind of correction to the actions of our courts. I often deal with cases which get no broad publicity because they are not strictly political. It's just that once you get into the particularities and circumstances of a case, you realise how relevant today is the old Russian saying: 'You can't be sure you'll never end up in prison or in poverty'. Literally anyone can end up in prison, without giving any grounds on their part, just as a consequence of a coincidence of a variety of circumstances. Just look at the case of Krasnoyarsk journalist Oleg Leontiev, who is accused of paedophilia. The guy has an alibi, and even the girl has withdrawn her testimony. But it's no use. Our Investigative Committee – it's like Ivan the Terrible's secret police, the Oprichnina.' [Read more]

Translation by Novaya gazeta