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March 2010

Terrorist attacks
Following two explosions at Moscow metro stations on 29/3 in which 40 people died and about 90 were injured, and a double suicide bombing in Kizlyar on 31/3 in which at least 10 people were killed, President Medvedev called for new laws to make counter-terrorism measures more effective.
Human Rights Defenders
Konstantin Pereverzev has been charged in relation to an assault on human rights defender Ludmila Alekseeva on 31/3 while she was laying flowers at a Moscow metro station in memory of victims of the terrorist attacks that took place on 29/3.

Dymovsky affair
Human rights defenders welcomed the release from detention of former police major and whistleblower Aleksei Dymovsky on 7/3 (he had been detained on suspicion of abuse of office) and called on the authorities to ensure the safety of his supporters. On 17/3 a district court in Krasnodar city rejected a suit by Aleksei Dymovsky that he be reinstated as a police officer in Novorossiisk. No reason was given.

Right of Assembly
According to the organizers, on 6/3 about 300 people took part in a demonstration for police reform on Moscow’s Triumphal Square. Seven arrests were made. On 20/3 opposition groups held demonstrations in fifty Russian cities against government policies. A number of Kaliningrad activists and bloggers were visited in the period prior to 20/3 by representatives of the police department combating extremism (Centre E) and warned not to take part in planned demonstrations. More than 70 people were arrested at protests that day in Moscow. Organizers claimed police used excessive force. Police said about 1,500 demonstrators took part in an unauthorized rally in Arkhangelsk on 28/3 against increased charges for housing utilities. No arrests were made. On 31/3 police officers at Triumphal Square detained Eduard Limonov and several dozen opposition activists who sought to take part in an unauthorized demonstration in support of freedom of assembly. On 19/3, State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov blamed unspecified foreign powers for growing anti-government street rallies, paid for by foreign money funnelled through NGOs.

Freedom of speech
The website of the Daily Journal experienced a DDoS attack beginning on 4/3. As reported on 8/3, Moscow city Prosecutor's Office opened an investigation into allegations that the monthly journal Novaya Polsha was disseminating materials of an extremist character. On 23/3 the Union of Journalists and the editors of leading Russia media issued a statement of concern about the campaign organized against the editor of Russky Newsweek, Mikhail Fishman, a video of whom surfaced on YouTube on 18/3 apparently showing him giving a bribe to traffic police officers. Fishman wrote about the incident on his LiveJournal blog. Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf was reported classified as ‘extremist’ by the Prosecutor General’s Office on 26/3. A federal media watchdog said on 31/3 it had issued a warning to Kommersant Vlast for divulging military secrets in a report about strategic rocket forces. The magazine said the information used in the report had come from public sources, including the Defence Ministry's official newspaper, Krasnaya zvezda.

On 1/3 an Arkhangelsk region district court rejected Igor Sutyagin’s parole request. On 3/3 the Federation Council confirmed Alexander Kokotov and Konstantin Aranovsky as judges of the Constitutional Court. On 10/3 the Supreme Court upheld a December 2009 decision by Moscow City Court not to review the case of Olga Kudeshkina, dismissed as a judge in May 2004, despite a February 2008 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in her favour. On 24/3 reports said the Council of Judges of Ingushetia accused President of Ingushetia Yunus-bek Evkurov of interfering with the work of judges.
Rights in Russia,
12 Apr 2010, 14:04