Site Archive‎ > ‎Human rights week by week‎ > ‎2016‎ > ‎

March 2016

Freedom of expression 
On 2/3 Viktor Krasnov appeared in court facing charges of insulting the feelings of religious believers for posting ‘there is no God’ in an online exchange. On 18/3, RFE/RL’s Moscow bureau administrator was approached at home by unknown men identifying themselves as NTV journalists seeking personal information. On 18/3 a group of independent regional media companies appealed to the Press Council of Russia asking it to condemn a recent NTV story accusing them of being ‘indebted’ to the U.S. State Department. On 25/3 performance artist Petr Pavlensky was put in a punishment cell for 10 days. On 29/3 criminal charges against Pavlensky were reclassified from ‘vandalism’ to ‘damaging a cultural heritage site.’ On 30/3 a Krasnodar court upheld a 2-year sentence against Darya Poliudova for ‘inciting extremism and separatism.’

Right of assembly 
On 1/3 a Moscow court fined Sergei Mitrokhin, a leader of Yabloko, 10,000 roubles ($135) for a one-man picket demanding the resignation of Ramzan Kadyrov. On 4/3 Andrei Makarevich said St Petersburg officials cancelled a concert planned for 7/4. On 7/3 police detained 5 people protesting against Nadia Savchenko's trial in Moscow; on 8/3 a further 35 protestors were detained in Moscow. On 9/3 President Putin signed a law classifying motorcades and tent cities as forms of protest that must have authorities’ prior approval. On 13/3 15 artists and activists were charged with offences after holding an anti-war protest in Moscow. On 17/3 a video showed riot police beating and arresting local residents protesting against a loss of gas supply in a Tula region village. On 18/3 police detained activist Andrei Darklait at an improvised memorial near where Boris Nemtsov was shot dead last year. On 29/3 Sergei Udaltsov, serving 4.5 years in prison for organizing a protest rally at Bolotnaya Square on 6/5/12, was refused parole. On 31/3 a Moscow court rejected Ildar Dadin’s appeal against his 3-year prison sentence under an anti-protest law.

Right of association 
On 10/3 the Prosecutor General declared the National Democratic Institute ‘undesirable’ in Russia. On 18/3 a court ruled the NGO Public Verdict Foundation must pay a 400,000 rouble fine for violating the ‘foreign agent’ law. On 23/3 the Prosecutor-General vowed tighter control of NGOs’ activities ahead of this year's parliamentary elections. On 30/3 Moscow City Court cancelled a fine imposed on the Sakharov Centre for not complying with the ‘foreign agent’ law and returned the case to a district court.

Nadia Savchenko 
On 3/3 Nadia Savchenko, protesting a refusal to let her give her final statement at her trial, announced a dry hunger-strike. On 10/3 the authorities refused to allow Ukrainian doctors to examine Savchenko because of her ‘defiant’ and ‘insulting’ behaviour in court. On 22/3 Judge Stepanenko announced Savchenko guilty on all charges and sentenced her to 22 years in prison and a 30,000 rouble fine.

On 25/3 the State Duma voted to accept the resignation of human rights ombudsperson Ella Pamfilova, nominated by Putin to the Central Election Commission. On 28/3 Ella Pamfilova was elected head of the Central Election Commission.

North Caucasus 
On 9/3 in Ingushetia unknown assailants assaulted a group of journalists and staff from the Joint Mobile Group rights group travelling to neighbouring Chechnya. On 9/3 late at night armed men raided the JMG’s office in Karabulak, Ingushetia. On 16/3 the JMG’s leader, Igor Kalyapin, was attacked by masked men in Grozny. On 13/3 Mikhail Kasyanov, a leader of the Parnas opposition party, said the FSB had found no violations in a video posted online by Ramzan Kadyrov, featuring himself and another opposition leader in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle. On 25/3 President Putin signed a decree appointing Ramzan Kadyrov, whose term in office ends on 5/4, acting head of Chechnya prior to participating in regional elections in September.
Rights in Russia,
2 May 2016, 05:19