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Week-ending 25 March 2016

Judge Stepanenko 


‘Tighter control’

Poverty up 

Death in custody

Uzbek nationals detained

Pamfilova resigns

Some human 
rights ‘heresy’

Nazim Gadzhiyev

Nadia Savchenko
On 21/3 Judge Leonid Stepanenko began delivering the verdict at the trial of Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko, charged with complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists. Judge Stepanenko said Savchenko, driven by ‘political hatred,’ was part of a ‘criminal group’ and had aimed to kill an ‘unlimited number of people.’ (RFE/RL, BBC, 21/3)

On 22/3 Savchenko was convicted on all charges and sentenced to 22 years in prison and fined 30,000 roubles. (RFE/RL, 22/3)

Right of association
On 23/3 Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika vowed tighter control of NGOs’ activities ahead of this year's parliamentary elections, calling on prosecutors ‘to take exhaustive response measures’ against NGOs ‘violating laws,’ including ‘their dissolution via court hearings.’ (RFE/RL, 24/3)

Social rights
Government statistics showed an average of 19.2 million Russians – 13.4% of the population – living below the minimum subsistence level, 20% up on 2014. (The Guardian, 22/3)

On 23/3 a man from Kyrgyzstan suspected of recruiting fighters for the Islamic State group reportedly died after jumping from the fifth floor of a Moscow police building. (RFE/RL, 24/3)

Police in St Petersburg said they detained two Uzbek nationals (one on 19/3, a second on 21/3) who are suspected by Uzbek authorities of involvement in an ‘extremist religious, separatist, and fundamentalist group.’ (RFE/RL, 23/3)

On 25/3 the State Duma voted to accept the resignation of human rights ombudsperson Ella Pamfilova who has been appointed by Putin to the Central Election Commission. (RFE/RL, 25/3)

Russian Orthodox Church
On 20/3 the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill denounced as ‘heresy’ those human rights that he said contradicted the Bible, and proclaimed fighting them the goal of his church. (The Moscow Times, 21/3)

North Caucasus
On 21/3 a leader of the ethnic Lezgin community in Dagestan, Nazim Gadzhiyev, was found dead with numerous stab wounds in his apartment in Makhachkala. (RFE/RL, 21/3)

On 25/3 President Putin signed a decree appointing Ramzan Kadyrov, whose term as head of Chechnya ends on 5/4, acting head of the region of Chechnya prior to participating in regional elections in September. (RFE/RL, 25/3)
Rights in Russia,
26 Mar 2016, 00:08