Site Archive‎ > ‎Human rights week by week‎ > ‎2011‎ > ‎

November 2011

Magnitsky case
The Investigative Committee said (1/11) the prosecution case was ready against two doctors at Moscow's Butyrskaya pretrial prison charged in the 2009 death of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. Moscow Helsinki Group head Ludmila Alekseeva said (16/11) human rights defenders promised to secure a full investigation into Magnitsky’s death. Investigators declined (24/11) to close a probe against Magnitsky, extending the investigation by two months. A report by Hermitage Capital (28/11) said Magnitsky died after a beating ordered by prison officials. In two other high profile cases of detainees in pre-trial detention, the Investigative Committee blamed (17/11) the death of Vera Trifonova on the criminal negligence of a hospital doctor; and Natalia Gulevich, gravely ill, was transferred (22/11) to a hospital after a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

Elections
Moscow-based NGO Golos said (9/11) it had registered more than 1,000 violations of election-related laws. Later in the month Golos became the object of a smear campaign by state-run media. Among election offences reported during the month were officials asking subordinates to confirm in writing they would vote for United Russia (Voronezh); United Russia election materials being displayed in schools (Krasnoyarsk); the banning of political ads denouncing “crooks and thieves” on the grounds they could only be seen as an attack on United Russia (Novosibirsk); election authorities prohibited the Communists from satirizing PM Putin in caricatures on the grounds he had not given permission (Nizhny Novgorod); officials asked priests to campaign for United Russia (Volgograd); Moscow metro ads by Yabloko were removed from stations (Moscow); ads by opposition parties were banned on state television by order of Vladimir Churov, head of the Central Elections Commission. Churov announced an investigation into whether preparations for an observer mission by the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly might have violated the law. An interim report on the election campaign by the OSCE registered concerns about the fairness of the electoral process. On the eve of the State Duma elections transport police monitored the movements of the leaders of informal groups. Fifteen protestors were detained at an unsanctioned protest at Moscow State University on 19/11 against the use of the university to promote the United Russia party. Oleg Prudnikov of Left Front was sentenced (22/11) to 7 days in jail for not following police instructions at a Moscow demonstration against election abuses (21/11).

Freedom of conscience
Amnesty International said the ruling on 3/11 by a court in Altai Republic which found Aleksandr Kalistratov, a Jehovah's Witness, guilty of inciting hatred and enmity against other religious groups for distributing literature is an attack on freedom of expression and religion. Aleksandr Kalistratov has lodged an appeal against his conviction. 

LGBTI rights
St. Petersburg legislators approved a bill in first reading (15/11) that would impose fines on gays or lesbians who openly profess their sexual orientation. Participants in a rally in the city (20/11) against the bill were attacked. On 18/11 Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch urged the city authorities not to enact the homophobic bill. 

Racism
An estimated 10,000 Russian nationalists marched in Moscow on 4/11, National Unity Day. In mid-month Russian officials rounded up hundreds of Tajik immigrants for possible expulsion in apparent retaliation for the jailing of Russian pilot Vladimir Sadovnichy in Dushanbe. According to reports, the detentions of Tajik migrants continued after the release of the Russian pilot and a fellow Estonian pilot by the Tajik authorities on 22/11.

Media rights
The State Duma passed (17/11) amendments decriminalizing defamation and slander and making threatening journalists a criminal offence from 2013. Nineteen out of 20 Moscow cinemas refused to screen Cyril (Kirill) Tuschi’s documentary Khodorkovsky.