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October 2010

Right of Assembly
On 1/10 activists held a first gay rights street protest sanctioned by Moscow City Hall. On 6/10 a St. Petersburg court ruled the ban on a Gay March planned for 26 June 2010 unlawful. The European Court of Human Rights ruled (21/10) Russia had violated rights of assembly and discriminated on grounds of sexual orientation in banning gay rights parades in Moscow. Dozens of protestors were arrested at a Day of Anger rally on 12/10 in Moscow. On 30/10, Day of the Political Prisoner, a rally held at the Solovetsky Stone demanded an end to political repressions. On 31/10 about 2,500 demonstrators held a first officially permitted rally organized by Strategy-31 at the capital's Triumphal Square.

Media Rights
Sergei Sokolov, deputy editor-in-chief at Novaya gazeta warned on 17/10 the newspaper may be closed down by the authorities. The Moscow District Federal Arbitration Court quashed (21/10) a July ruling that Boris Nemtsov had defamed Yury Luzhkov (former Moscow mayor) in a 2009 booklet. Newsweek's Russian edition ceased publication on 18/10, a Newsweek source complaining the Kremlin had thwarted talks to sell to an investor. On 19/10 Moscow city authorities banned advertisements that cited the Constitution.

Kremlin / Presidential Human Rights Council

President Medvedev appointed (4/10) Aleksandr Bastrykin, ex-head of the Investigative Committee at the Public Prosecutor's Office, chair of the new Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. President Medvedev appointed (12/10) Mikhail Fedotov, a secretary of the Union of Journalists of Russia, chair of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights. The Council had sent (6/10) proposals to amend the police bill to President Medvedev, calling for deeper reforms. The Kremlin published the police bill online on 28/10.

On 4/10 Moscow City Court dismissed an appeal against the conviction of Yury Samodurov and Andrei Erofeev, organizers of the Forbidden Art 2006 exhibition, for inciting religious hatred. On 8/10 Moscow Region Court ruled unlawful the extension by Khimki town court of the pre-trial detention of Maksim Solopov, accused of organizing the attack on Khimki town hall on 28/7. On 15/10 Moscow region court took a similar decision in relation to Solopov’s co-defendant, Aleksei Gaskarov. In the trial of former Yukos owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his partner Platon Lebedev at Moscow's Khamovniki District Court, prosecutors asked (22/10) for a 14-year prison sentence. Khodorkovsky urged (27/10) in a closing statement that the case against him be thrown out. Amnesty International Germany and German public and cultural figures issued the Berlin Declaration calling on President Medvedev to ensure, among other things, an independent review of the prosecutions of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev. Leading international human rights organizations called on President Medvedev to stop the prosecution of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev.

North Caucasus
Memorial Human Rights Centre reported (4/10) that the whereabouts of Ali Aliev, detained by armed men believed to be law enforcement officers on 26/9 in Khetokh, Tsuntinsky district, Dagestan, were not known; and (5/10) that Said-Arbi Mazhaevich Tsuraev, unlawfully detained on 15/9 in Achkhoi-Martan by law enforcement officers, is currently being held at a pre-trial detention centre in Groznyi. Memorial Human Rights Centre appealed to the authorities on 26/10 concerning the plight of Zarema Gasanova, a Dagestani journalist who has been harassed by law enforcement agencies.

The size of the average bribe in Russia has surged by a third this year, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said (13/10). Russia was 154th in Transparency International's 178-country Corruption Perceptions Index published this month.