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June 2016

Freedom of expression 
This month media regulator Roskomnadzor blacklisted (on 8/6) an online Vice Magazine article on grounds it ‘promotes shoplifting’ and issued a warning (on 10/6) to the paper Pskovskaya Guberniya for referring to Right Sector without saying it is a banned organization. After 8/6 over 100 regional newspapers printed reader warnings against ‘false news’ on state-run federal channel NTV. On 11/6 police detained Saida Vagabova, a journalist with the weekly Chernovik, as she covered a rally about missing persons. On 12/6 an employee of VKontakte was attacked in St. Petersburg following posts he made criticizing the government. On 14/6 Aleksei Sapov, chief editor of the Crimea newspaper Argumenty Nedeli – Krym, was arrested and held in detention. On 22/6 police raided the St. Petersburg offices of Novaya Gazeta and searched the offices of Leningrad Region Television Company. On 29/6 a Moscow court banned four websites for providing information on how to avoid the draft. On 30/6 Vladimir Luzgin was convicted and fined 200k roubles for reposting on the Internet a text stating the USSR invaded Poland in 1939.

Right of association 
On 10/6 the Venice Commission said the law on undesirable foreign NGOs should be modified; on 13/6 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged amendment of the ‘foreign agent’ law. On 1/6 four Crimean Tatars detained in Crimea and suspected of terrorism pleaded not guilty at their trial in Rostov-on-Don and rejected charges of being members of the banned Islamic Hizb ut-Tahrir organization. On 1/6 three alleged members of Hizb ut-Tahrir were detained in Chelyabinsk region. On 10/6 in Tyva Kyrgyz national Azamat Kasymbek-Uulu was sentenced to five years in jail for recruiting members to Hizb ut-Tahrir. On 14//6 three men attacked Parnas party activist Aleksandr Bragin in Ulyanovsk. On 24/6 investigators searched the offices of the NGO Women of the Don in Rostov region. On 28/6 Valentina Cherevatenko, chair of Women of the Don, was charged with ‘malicious evasion’ of the ‘foreign agent’ law. On 29/6, Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Election Commission, rejected a plea to register Aleksei Navalny’s Party of Progress.

Right of assembly 
On 4/6 a court sentenced Aleksandr Valov to 5 days in jail on charges of ‘organizing a public event in a border zone’ (near Sochi). On 4/6 at least 50 Crimeans were violently dispersed by police at a peaceful protest against commercialisation of a beach in Crimea. On 10/6 Roman Roslovtsev was sentenced to 30 days in jail for walking to Red Square in a Putin mask with a placard 'I am not afraid of Article 212.1'. On 13/6 a gay couple were detained by police after attempting to pay tribute at the U.S. Moscow embassy to victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. On 15/6 several protestors were temporarily detained outside the Federation Council as Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika was sworn in for another five-year term. On 23/6 Moscow authorities rejected a request to hold a memorial march for the victims of the Orlando terrorist attack.

Freedom of conscience 
This month the Supreme Court ordered (9/6) the regional branch of Jehovah's Witnesses in Belgorod, and (on 16/6) the Church’s group in Stary Oskol, Belgorod region, be closed for ‘extremism’. On 21/6 police searched the Moscow and St. Petersburg churches of Scientology, with 10 people detained in St. Petersburg.

North Caucasus 
On 2/6 the Human Rights Council cancelled a planned meeting with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov over his stance on rights activist Igor Kalyapin. On 17/6 four security officers and six militants were killed in Dagestan. On 22/6 Memorial Human Rights Centre said Magomed Suleimanov, a Salafist whose body was found at the site of a counterterrorist operation in Dagestan, could have been killed earlier. On 27/6 the remains of two men were found inside an exploded car in Dagestan.
Rights in Russia,
10 Sept 2016, 13:31