Site Archive‎ > ‎Human rights week by week‎ > ‎2011‎ > ‎

April 2011

Media
LiveJournal, Russia’s main platform for uncensored political discussion, was hit by a major DDoS attack from the end of March (ending 5/4) that bloggers said was probably staged using state resources. A DDoS attack closed the website of Novaya Gazeta for two days from 8/4. On 8/4 the FSB called for bans on Skype, Gmail and Hotmail as major threats to national security, but backed down after disagreements between the camps of President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin. The Russian Union of Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists in a joint report (13/4) said that in 2010 the murder of journalists had given way to savage beatings. A report on Internet freedom in Russia by Freedom House (18/4) ranked Russia 22nd out of 37 countries and said the situation would deteriorate further.
 
Police / Prisons
Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said (6/4) improvements to the police service were tangible, but a survey showed public attitudes toward police remained negative. President Medvedev dismissed 22 police generals and reappointed 19 others (2-3/4). On 7/4 Medvedev signed a bill giving some senior officials and rights activists access to detention facilities. An independent inquiry set up at the request of the presidential Human Rights Council said (26/4) Sergei Magnitsky had been illegally held in pre-trial detention and deprived of medical care. Zabaikalye Human Rights Centre said (28/4) officials concealed brutality against inmates at Krasnokamensk penal colony after an arson on 16-17 April.
 
Political Parties
On 7/4 President Medvedev signed a law allowing opposition parties to field election candidates in regions and municipalities where they have no offices. On 12/4 the European Court of Human Rights ruled the 2007 dissolution of the Republican Party was unjustified. Leftist Rot Front party said the authorities rejected (12/4) its fifth attempt to register on the grounds its emblem, a clenched fist over a red star, could be seen as a ‘symbol of extremism’.
 
Right of assembly
About 12 activists, including Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov, were detained on 10/4 when about 100 ‘Day of Rage’ protestors tried to march on the president's offices. St. Petersburg police said bailed Oleg Vorotnikov of the Voina art group may face new charges in relation to alleged actions at a 31/3 rally. Over 5,000 people took part in a rally by the Party of National Freedom sanctioned by the Moscow city authorities on 16/4 on Bolotnaya Square against arbitrary government, corruption and unfair elections.
 
Law on Extremism
Chita prosecutors ruled (11/4) city Mayor Anatoly Mikhalev violated no laws when he publicly expressed regret federal law does not allow killing the homeless. A Moscow court declared (18/4) the Movement Against Illegal Immigration extremist and banned its activities. Rights defender Stanislav Dmitrievsky was summoned by police for questioning about alleged dissemination of extremist materials (reported 28/4). On 28/4 Nikita Tikhonov was convicted of the January 2009 murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova; Yevgenia Khasis, was convicted of aiding Tikhonov.
 
Chechnya
The body of 26-year-old Ilez Gorchkhanov, abducted in Nazran in Ingushetia on 21/3 by about 15 masked men believed to be members of law enforcement agencies, was found on 19/4. On 19/4 the European Court of Human Rights found Russia guilty of violating convention Articles 2, 3, 5 and 13 in Matayeva and Dadayeva v. Russia concerning a 2006 disappearance. On 20/4 rights activists appealed to President Medvedev to intervene to stop extrajudicial kidnappings and enforce the rule of law in Chechnya. On 28/4 Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov, in evidence by video link at the trial of Oleg Orlov for defamation, called for Orlov to be punished to the full extent of the law (Orlov allegedly accused Kadyrov of being behind the 2009 murder of rights defender Natalya Estemirova).