31 October 2016
Human rights defenders have announced that the number of political prisoners in the Russian Federation has more than doubled over the past year.
“Under the term ‘political prisoner’ we consider both those serving prison terms and those remanded in custody or under house arrest,” Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow) has said.
“In a change from past years, today we publish not one, but two lists. A list of those imprisoned for exercising the right to freedom of religious belief, and a list of all other political prisoners.
We have introduced this distinction so that people in Russia and around the world will be better able to perceive the problem of politically-motivated and unlawful imprisonment in our country. We also wish by this means to raise the level of public solidarity with political prisoners.
It is obvious that neither list is complete. The lists include only those individuals about whom we have managed to gather and analyse sufficient materials to come to a considered opinion about the political motivation and unlawful character of the criminal prosecution in their cases.
The lists do not contain the names of many who have been deprived of liberty whose prosecution bore signs of illegality and political motivation, either because we have not yet received the necessary materials on these cases, or because we are still in the process of analysing the materials.
The lists do not contain the names of anyone who has used violence against the person or who have called for the use of violence on grounds of religion, ethnicity, race, and so on.
If one year ago our list of political prisoners contained 50 names, today both lists taken together contain 104. The number of political prisoners, even in our lists that do not pretend to comprehensiveness, has therefore significantly increased.
Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner, or of a prosecution as politically motivated, does not mean that Memorial Human Rights Centre shares or approves of the individual’s views, statements or actions.
For more information about political prisoners in Russia, visit the website of Memorial Human Rights Centre
Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow) urges that political prisoners be supported by disseminating information about them, writing letters and making donations. Donations can be made via the electronic wallets of the Fund to Assist Political Prisoners:
- Yandex. Dengi [Яндекс. Деньги] 410011205892134
- PayPal firstname.lastname@example.org
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