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November

Human Rights in Russia: November 2009

Pre-trial detention
Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer in custody on charges of tax evasion related to William Browder's Hermitage investment fund, died on 16/11 in pre-trial detention. An investigation into his death is ongoing. The Federal Prison Service admitted (26/11) part responsibility for the death. On 13/11, Moscow’s Khamovniki district court extended until 17/02/10 detention on remand of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. Earlier public figures observing the YUKOS trial had called on the authorities to ‘end this shameful farce.’ A Supreme Court plenum ruled 10/11 that detention on remand should apply only where the prosecution proved the need, taking into account the personal situation of suspect and family.

Police abuse
On the night of 23-24/11 Eduard Gurlitsky died after being beaten by three drunken men in police uniform in Moscow. Three officers were detained. A district court in Ufa (17/11) made the first award of damages (RR50,000) to a victim of the December 2004 police ‘cleansing operation’ conducted in Blagoveshchensk.

North Caucasus
Murad Salikhov, a victim of suspected enforced disappearance in Dagestan, on 29/10, was reported killed, together with three other men, by an explosion in a car on 31/10. Relatives of three other victims of suspected enforced disappearance in Dagestan and Ingushetia appealed to Memorial for assistance. On 5/11 in Moscow, Chechen security officers detained Arbi Khachukayev, head of a Grozny-based human rights NGO, and flew him to Grozny against his will, where he was released. On 30/11, Memorial announced it would restart its work in Chechnya. Earlier, ten other Russian human rights NGOs announced the creation of a Public Commission on Chechnya to combat rights violations in the region. Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg called on Russia, in a report published on 24/11, to take steps to achieve stability in the North Caucasus. In Ismailov and Others v Russia (26/11), the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Russia in a case concerning alleged disappearances in Chechnya in 2003.

Freedom of assembly
National Bolshevik leader, Eduard Limonov, detained 31/10 at a demonstration on the right of assembly, was given (12/11) 10 days’ administrative arrest and a RR1,000 fine. Demonstrators in his support were arrested outside his Moscow place of detention. Moscow city government rejected a request by rights groups to hold a demonstration on Triumph Square on 21/11. On 4/11, Moscow city police reported about 20,000 took part in a demonstration by the pro-Kremlin Nashi group.

Rights defenders / NGOs
On 16/11, anti-fascist activist Ivan Khutorskoi was shot dead in Moscow. On 19/11 Moscow city authorities extended rental agreements for Moscow Helsinki Group and For Human Rights following attempts to evict them from municipally-owned offices. A district court in Kazan ruled on 19/11 that Tatarstan tax police violated the law during and after their July search of the offices of human rights NGO Agora. A commercial appeal court on 17/11 upheld its June decision that donations received from abroad by Planet of Hopes, an NGO in Ozersk, were not subject to taxation .

Media rights
Kazan’s Kirov district court sentenced Irek Murtazin, ex-press secretary of Tatarstan president Mintimer Shaimiev, to 21 months in a penal colony for libel and inciting hatred against the president in a 2008 blog containing false information about the president’s death. Yandex, Russia’s leading search engine, stopped ranking popular blog posts after several entries exposed problems that embarrassed government officials. On 30/11, Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky District Court fined Boris Nemtsov RR500,000 for a September brochure Luzhkov. Results in which Nemtsov called Luzhkov a “thief” and a “corrupt official.” Kommersant were also fined RR500,000 for later publishing an interview with Nemtsov in which some of the allegations from the brochure were repeated.

Death penalty
On 19/11 the Constitutional Court ruled the death penalty cannot be used after 1 January 2010, extending the moratorium until Russia ratifies Protocol 6 to the ECHR.
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Rights in Russia,
4 Dec 2009, 07:26
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Rights in Russia,
4 Dec 2009, 07:33
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Rights in Russia,
4 Dec 2009, 07:33
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Rights in Russia,
4 Dec 2009, 07:33
ĉ
Rights in Russia,
4 Dec 2009, 07:33
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