Updated list of political prisoners in Russia published by Memorial Human Rights Centre

posted 2 Jun 2016, 11:41 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 2 Jun 2016, 12:38 ]
25 May 2016

Source: HRO.org (info)
Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow) has published an up-to-date list of Russian political prisoners.

“We understand political prisoners to be people who are serving time in prison and those who are held in pre-trial detention or are under house arrest. The full criteria for political prisoners is available on our website,” says Memorial Human Rights Centre in a statement. In the list published today (25 May 2016) there are 87 names.

“This list is certainly not exhaustive. It contains only those people and cases for which we managed to collect and investigate sufficient materials in order to make a reasoned conclusion about the politically motivated and illegal character of the criminal prosecution. So far the list does not contain a large number of people who have been deprived of their liberty whose prosecutions have the signs of illegality and political motivation, since so far we have either not received the necessary materials on these cases or they have yet to be analysed,” the human rights activists remark.

From the moment of publication of the previous version of the list on 30th October 2015, 8 political prisoners have been freed.

These are three men convicted in the Bolotnaya Case (Andrei Barabanov, Denis Lutskevich and Aleksandr Margolin), the last political prisoner convicted for riot in connection with events on Manezh Square in Moscow in 2010 (Igor Berezyuk), an environmentalist (Evgeny Vitishko), a former major who fought against corruption in the Interior Ministry forces (Igor Matveev), a man convicted of painting the stars on the spire of a tall building in Moscow in 2014 (Vladmir Podrezov), and the last of the three Muslims convicted in connection with a gas explosion in Bugulma (Famis Shaikhutdinov, sentenced to 10 years and 6 months). Only 3 of these were released earlier than the stipulated term of imprisonment. Margolin was released on parole; in the cases of Vitishko and Podresov, the court commuted the sentence to a limitation on freedom.

During this time 45 new names were added to the list.

The new political prisoners represent the most various groups of victims of the government’s repressive policy. This is clearly observed in the cases of the Crimean Tatars Akhtem Chiigoza, Ali Asanov and Mustafa Degermendzhi; the cases of Ukrainian citizens Stanislav Klykh, Nikolai Kapiuk and Sergei Litvinov, connected with the anti-Ukrainian campaign of the government, and the case of Andrei Bubeev, Darya Poliudova and Natalya Sharina.

As the Human Rights Centre Memorial emphasises, one of the important aims of the politically motivated imprisonment remains the attack on the freedom of assembly. In exchange for the three released defendants in the Bolotnaya Case, they have taken two new ones – Dmitry Buchenkov and Maksim Panfilov. Also on charges related to taking part in public events are the cases of the Sergei Akhmetov and Darya Poliudova, both of whom have lost their liberty. As the rights activists claim, the attack on freedom of speech and dissemination of information is continuing, especially with regard to the Internet.

Those who have been imprisoned for exercising this right are Andrei Bubeev, Darya Poliudova, Airat Dilmukhametov, Robert Zagreev and Natalia Sharina.

It is stated that the authorities of different levels are using illegal repressive measures as an instrument to suppress any sort of public activity of which they do not approve. This is why residents’ rights’ defender Ivan Barylyak and environmental rights defender Sergei Nikiforov have become their victims.

“The most massive repression has, perhaps, been directed against Muslims who peacefully exercise their right to freedom of religious association.

“People who have particularly suffered are those who are accused of being members of the organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (banned in Russia). Twenty-seven Muslims have augmented the list of political prisoners since last October on these grounds. And this is the group of victims of political repressions, meanwhile, which in all probability is proportionately least represented in our list,” Memorial states.

The total number of political prisoners who have figured in our list over this period comes to 95 people. Their prosecutions have taken place under dozens of various articles of the Russian Criminal Code.

Full list of political prisoners as of 25 May 2016 (in Russian)
Full list of political prisoners as of 25 May 2016 (in English)

Translated by Frances Robson