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June 2011

Human rights defenders 
Elena Bonner, widow of Andrei Sakharov and a founding member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, died on 18/6 in Boston aged 88. Bakhrom Hamroev of Memorial Human Rights Centre was brutally assaulted on 6/6 near his Moscow home.

Right of assembly 
Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said city authorities will permit access to the capital’s squares and streets to large political forces but not to “a few dozen troublemakers.” On 7/6 Moscow City Court upheld the 2.5 year sentence given last June to Sergei Mokhnatkin for allegedly using force against a police officer at a December 2009 Strategy-31 rally. On 12/6 police broke up a Day of Wrath demonstration planned for Moscow’s Teatralnaya Square, detaining about 30 people. A “Slavic Gay Parade” on 25/6 in St. Petersburg ended with 14 activists detained. On 26/6 about ten people were arrested at an unsanctioned rally in support of Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Moscow’s Arbat street.

Yukos case
On 10/6 Mikhail Khodorkovsky's lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant said authorities informed Khodorkovsky's wife he had been sent to a prison camp, but not to which one. On 17/6 lawyers for Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev requested the Federal Penitentiary Service tell them where their clients were. Unofficial sources said Khodorkovsky was at Penal Colony No. 7 in Karelia and Lebedev in Penal Colony No. 14 in Arkhangelsk. Investigators dismissed (14/6) evidence by Judge Danilkin's ex-assistant Natalia Vasilieva that the judge at Khodorkovsky’s trial had been pressured by superiors as ‘unconvincing’.

North Caucasus
On 1/6 a Vienna court sentenced three Chechen men, and one of them to life in prison, for the 2009 murder of Umar Israilov, a Chechen refugee who alleged Chechen President Kadyrov had committed torture against him. In Chechnya (10/6) Aslambek Shataev was abducted released from a police station on 11/6 with severe injuries. Amnesty International said the Chechen authorities must end harassment of rights defenders after Grozny police threatened members of the Committee Against Torture and broke up a peaceful rally on 24/6. The Committee against Torture won the 2011 Human Rights Prize awarded by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in recognition of outstanding action in defence of human rights in Europe on 23/6. Reports said Shamkhan Mukhidovich Aziev in prison in Chechnya was denied medical aid for a life-threatening condition. The European Court of Human Rights condemned Russia (7/6) for the disappearance of three Chechen civilians in 2000, 2002 and 2004; and in Isayev and Others v Russia (21/6) found Russia responsible for the 2004 torture and death of 25 year-old Zelimkhan Isayev in Chechnya.

Freedom of expression 
A Moscow court acquitted (14/6) Oleg Orlov, head of Memorial, of charges he slandered Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov when he said Kadyrov was responsible for the killing of Natalia Estemirova. A Moscow court cleared (21/6) Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin in a defamation lawsuit brought by top Kremlin official Vasily Yakemenko whom Kashin had suggested on his blog had organized an assault on him.

Political parties 
The Justice Ministry refused to register (22/6) the liberal opposition Party of People's Freedom on grounds its membership list had dead and underage members.

Freedom of conscience
A Moscow region court declared books and brochures by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard extremist, the Prosecutor General's Office said on 30/6. The works will now be on a Justice Ministry list of banned materials.

Constitutional Court 
The Constitutional Court on 30/6 ruled that state employees cannot be punished for engaging in whistleblowing activities against their superiors.
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Rights in Russia,
8 Jul 2011, 03:22
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