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Week-ending 14 May 2010

Sokolov given five year sentence

Charges against Denisova dropped

Detention extended in YUKOS case

Fears for health of Latvian businessman

Closed trial gives four year sentence 

Government announces funding for NGOs

Medvedev hands over documents

High death toll expected in mine disaster
Human Rights Defenders
Aleksei Sokolov, founder of the NGO Legal Basis, has been sentenced to five years in a strict regime penal colony on two counts of robbery by a court in Sverdlovsk region on the basis of statements by convicted prisoners. Sokolov became well-known for creating a documentary film about the treatment of prisoners (see ВИДЕО ГРАНЕЙ-ТВ). (, 13/5)

Charges against Anastasia Denisova relating to the illegal use of computer software have been dropped. A prosecutor in the city of Krasnodar sent Anastasia Denisova, leader of the ETnIKA Youth Group for Tolerance, an official letter of apology for the 'moral harm' she suffered. (, 12/5)

Legal Cases
Moscow's Khamovnichesky district court extended the pre-trial detention under guard of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former head of YUKOS, and Platon Lebedev, former head of MENATEP, until 17 August 2010. (, 14/5)
Grigorijs Spektors, a 62-year-old Latvian businessman, jailed on economic crimes charges despite poor health (he suffers from ischemic heart disease, has diabetes and is blind in one eye), fears he will die at the Matrosskaya Tishina pretrial prison, his lawyer said on 13/5. (The Moscow Times, 14/5)

Moscow City Court sentenced cartographer Gennady Sipachev to four years in prison on 13/5 for espionage in a closed trial for sending classified maps to the Pentagon over the Internet. (The Moscow Times, 14/5)

Government Funding for Civil Society Groups
President Medvedev signed an order (10/5) to allocate 1bn roubles to civil society groups. The same NGOs will distribute the funds as last year: the National Philanthropic Foundation, the State Club Foundation for the Preparation of Reserve Personnel, the Civil Society Issues Institute, the human rights organization Resistance, the Institute of Social Projects. (Kommersant, 11/5)

President Dmitry Medvedev gave Bronisław Komorowski, the acting President of Poland, 67 volumes of the criminal investigation carried out by Russian authorities into the shooting of Polish officers at Katyn in 1940. (, 8/5)

Mine Disaster
On the night of 8-9 May, two methane explosions occurred at the Raspadskaya mine in Kemerovo region when more than 350 mining personnel were underground. Rescue teams who entered the mine after the first explosion were underground at the time of the second blast. (BBC Russian, 9/5;, 10/5)
Rights in Russia,
16 May 2010, 14:42