Legal Case of the Week

Legal Case of the Week: Yury Kuly

posted 22 May 2017, 08:35 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 22 May 2017, 08:38 ]

On 18 May 2017, Yury Kuly, an actor who had been detained at an anti-corruption rally in Moscow on 26 March 2017, was sent to prison for eight months. As The Moscow Times reports, Yury Kuly "is the first demonstrator to face the court after the protest, which saw more than 1,000 people detained by police in Moscow alone." The demonstration, which had been called by anti-corruption campaigner and opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, had not been given official permission. Kuly was charged with assaulting a member of Russia's National Guard, an offence for which the prosecutors had asked for a two-year prison term. According to the The Moscow Times, Kuly had pleaded guilty to the charges in the hope of receiving a suspended sentence. The lawyer representing Yury Kuly, Aleksei Lipster, is reported by The Moscow Times as saying that Kuly maintains he "had grabbed the officer's hand in a bid to protect an elderly man from the riot police."

Earlier, the news webiste Mediazona reported that one of two witnesses who had given testimony in court against Yury Kuly was Aleksei Petrunko, an activist with a pro-Kremlin radical group, "who is suspected for attacking oppositionist leader Alexei Navalny with a brilliant green dye solution."

Three other defendants have been charged with attacking law enforcement officers during the anti-corruption protest in Moscow on 26 March 26.

Photo: OVD-Info 

'Anti-Corruption Protester Jailed for 8 Months After Navalny's Moscow Rally,' The Moscow Times, 18 May 2017
'Man suspected of attacking Navalny testified against detainee in “March 26” case,' Mediazona, 12 May 2017

Legal Case of the Week: Ruslan Sokolovsky

posted 15 May 2017, 06:11 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 15 May 2017, 06:11 ]

On 11 May 2017 22-year-old blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky was given a three-and-a-half year suspended prison sentence by a court in Ekaterinburg for ‘inciting hatred’ and ‘offending believers’ feelings’ after filming himself playing Pokémon Go in a cathedral. As Amnesty International reported, Ruslan Sokolovsky had been arrested in September 2016 under charges of 'public actions expressing clear disrespect to society with the aim to insult religious feelings of believers committed in places for religious worship' and 'incitement of hatred' after publishing a video of himself playing Pokémon Go in a cathedral in Ekaterinburg. Ruslan Sokolovsky was convicted under Article 282 (incitement of hatred or enmity and humiliation of human dignity) and Article 148 (violation of the right to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion) of the Russian Criminal Code.

Sergei Nikitin, director of Amnesty International Russia, said: "While some may see Ruslan Sokolovsky’s comments on religion as disparaging, this alone is not enough to prosecute him. Sokolovsky came to the attention of the authorities only when he publicly challenged absurdly harsh Russian legislation that criminalized offending believers’ feelings. With Sokolovsky’s conviction, the Russian authorities send a strong message to anyone who wants to challenge the country’s grotesque ‘blasphemy’ law. Make no mistake, this is neither piety nor a genuine effort to protect the freedom of religion in Russia – especially coming after the authorities only last month banned Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is another assault on freedom of expression.”

Yulia Gorbunova, Russia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: “It’s a relief that Sokolovsky is not behind bars, but the fact that he was prosecuted and convicted remains a prime example of the Russian authorities using vague and broad anti-extremist laws to stifle free speech and promote self-censorship. Sokolovsky’s actions may have offended some or indeed many, but they present no public danger and criminal sanctions against him are groundless incursions on the right to free expression.”

Following his arrest, Memorial Human Rights Centre recognized Ruslan Sokolovsky as a political prisoner.

Aleksandr Podrabinek, a journalist and human rights defender, pointed out in an article that "The prosecutor in the trial of the case of Ruslan Sokolovsky [...] accused the defendant of not respecting the State. 'An expression of disrespect for the State is inadmissible,' Prosecutor Ekaterina Kalinina stated. Moreover, she accused Sokolovsky of “anti-constitutional 'attitudes' and 'ridiculing the Russian president.'" Aleksandr Podrabinek went on to ask: "What does any of this have to do with the law? [...] Why is a legal professional in court accusing a defendant of something that does not fall within the framework of the law?"

Also commenting on the case, journalist and human rights defender Zoya Svetova, said in an article published before the conviction of Ruslan Sokolovsky: "The charge and criminal case against Ruslan Sokolovsky is the latest stupid joke bringing to mind what was far from the best time in Russian history. Ruslan Sokolovsky made this point in his final address to the court: ‘There was a time, long long ago, when people were sentenced to the camps for longer than three and a half years, for as long as ten, for telling obscene jokes about Stalin or communism. Today I am to be sentenced to three and a half years for an obscene joke about Russian orthodoxy and Patriarch Kirill. As far as I am concerned, this is simply savage and barbaric, I don’t understand how such a thing is possible. However, as can be seen, it is perfectly possible – a sentence of three and a half years is being asked for’."

Photo of Ruslan Sokolovsky: Memorial Human Rights Centre

'Russian YouTuber convicted of blasphemy after playing Pokémon Go in a church,' Amnesty International, 11 May 2017
'Russia: Pokemon Go Blogger Convicted. Set Aside Unlawful Verdict on Extremism Charges,' Human Rights Watch, 11 May 2017
'Александр Подрабинек: Откровенные времена,' Radio Svoboda, 9 May 2017 [translation by Rights in Russia: 'Aleksandr Podrabinek: Candid Times,' Rights in Russia, 9 May 2017'
'Zoya Svetova on the case of the vlogger Ruslan Sokolovsky: "A Feeling of Outrage" [Radio Svoboda],' Rights in Russia, 3 May 2017
'ПЦ "Мемориал" считает видеоблогера Руслана Соколовского политзаключенным,', 5 December 2016

Legal Case of the Week: Darya Kulakova

posted 8 May 2017, 07:05 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 8 May 2017, 07:07 ]

On 30 April 2017 civil society activist Darya Kulakova, 23, was jailed for 10 days in Tatarstan for organizing a campaign of writing letters to President Putin, RFE/RL has reported. Some of the letters called on President Putin not to run for a fourth term. According to RFE/RL, the authorities in Tatarstan say Darya Kulakova, "violated a law on public demonstrations and disobeyed police in connection with the public submission of letters to Putin's regional reception office." The incident took place on 29 April 2017 when protesters took to the streets in a number of Russian cities. The protest in Kazan, which had been organized by Open Russia, of which Kulakova is an activist, had been banned by the city's authorities. RFE/RL reports: "In lieu of the protest, Kulakova and her fellow activists decided to walk to the Kremlin's regional reception center in Kazan to submit letters to Putin. After several activists dropped their letters in a box brought out to the street by an employee, Kulakova was detained by police. Her fellow activist, Lyaysan Ismagilova, was detained later, and both were held by police overnight." The police accused Kulakova of organizing an "unsanctioned public the form of submitting letters to the Russian president's reception that voiced demands against the policies of the current authorities." Among the demands set out in the letters were calls for Putin not to run for a fourth term in office, and for a halt to the construction of a waste incineration plant in the city. While Kulakova was sentenced to 10 days in jail, Izmagilova was sentenced to 36 hours' community service. 

A video of the arrest of Darya Kulakova can be seen here 

Photo of Darya Kulkova: Idel.Realii

'Russian Activist Jailed Over Letters Submitted To Putin,' RFE/RL, 30 April 2017

Legal Case of the Week: Ruslan Zeytullayev

posted 1 May 2017, 08:53 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 1 May 2017, 08:54 ]

On 26 April 2017 a court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Ruslan Zeytullayev, a Crimean Tatar, to 12 years in prison for establishing a cell of the Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir in Crimea. As RFE/RL reports, "Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in Russia, which seized control of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has prosecuted many opponents of the takeover -- including members of the Muslim Crimean Tatar community -- on what rights groups say are false charges." Memorial Human Rights Centre has repeatedly stated that in its view membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir should not be grounds for a criminal prosecution. Memorial Human Rights Centre argues that Hizb ut-Tahrir has not taken part in any terrorist activities and is legally active as a political party in many jurisdictions. 

Ruslan Zeytullayev was convicted and sentenced to 12-years in prison after a retrial that took place at the request of prosecutors who argued that an earlier sentence, handed down in September 2016 (when Zeytullayev and three other Crimean Tatars were given sentences from 5 to 7 years) had been too lenient. RFE/RL notes that "Rights activists say Crimean Tatars have been arrested, abducted, and in some cases killed in a campaign to punish the group for largely opposing the takeover and neutralize it as a potential political and social force. Crimean Tatar self-government organizations have been declared illegal."

Halya Coynash, writing on the website Human Rights in Ukraine, has commented:

"The second time around, Russian judges have done what they’re told and sentenced Crimean Tatar political prisoner Ruslan Zeytullaev to 12 years’ maximum security. The sentence was expected, not because there were any grounds to the charges against the 31-year-old father of three, but because Russia’s FSB needed an ‘organizer’ for its paperwork to seem ‘in order’. The retrial and this sentence are especially chilling since there are three other men charged under the same type of quota, and they face even harsher sentences.

"The only positive information is that Zeytullaev announced in court on April 26 that he would be ending his hunger strike, begun 22 days ago. He notes that he has been asked to stop it by his family and friends, by prominent Crimean Tatars (including Mustafa Dzhemiliev and Ilmi Umerov) and many other people concerned for his health. During those 22 days, he adds, he sent 14 statements to state and law enforcement bodies, not one of which received any response. [...]

"It is a tragedy that the world has stood by and watched Russia (and Uzbekistan) sentence men en masse for no more than allegedly holding views that diverge from those of the officially. The situation in Russian-occupied Crimea is especially acute, and the renowned Russian Memorial Human Rights Centre rightly declared all four men political prisoners well before the trial ended. There can be no chance of a ‘fair trial’, given that Russia has no right to apply its legislation on territory it is illegally occupying, and Hizb ut-Tahrir is legal in Ukraine." 

Halya Coynash urges that people show their support for Ruslan Zeytullayev by writing to him. For more information, see her post on Human Rights in Ukraine.

Photo of Ruslan Zeytullayev: Human Rights in Ukraine

'Russian Court Sentences Crimean Tatar To 12 Years In Prison,' RFE/RL, 26 April 2017
Halya Coynash, 'Crimean Tatar Ruslan Zeytullaev gets 12-year sentence to meet Russian FSB quota,' Human Rights in Ukraine, 26 April 2017
'Прокурор добавил,' Memorial Human Rights Centre, 26 April 2017

Legal Case of the Week: Jehovah's Witnesses

posted 24 Apr 2017, 07:27 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 24 Apr 2017, 08:11 ]

On 20 April 2017 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation designated Jehovah's Witnesses as an extremist organization. The
BBC reported that the Supreme Court had "accepted the government's request to designate Jehovah's Witnesses as an outlawed religious group, deeming it to be an extremist organisation." According to the report, the justice ministry had argued that Jehovah's Witnesses had distributed pamphlets which incited hatred against other groups in society. 

The Jehovah's Witnesses, which has about 8 million adherents worldwide, has about 175,000 members in Russia. The religious group said it would lodge an appeal against the ruling, which effectively criminalizes its activities. 

The BBC quoted a spokesperson for the group, Yaroslav Sivulsky, as telling AFP he was shocked by the ruling: ""I didn't expect that this could be possible in modern Russia, where the constitution guarantees freedom of religious practice." 

The Jehovah's Witnesses group, which was founded in the USA in the 19th century, take a literal view of the Bible. Adherents of the faith were persecuted both under Hitler and Stalin. During the Stalin era the religion was outlawed and adherents were deported to Siberia. The ban on Jehovah's Witnesses was revoked in 1991. 

Over the years since legalization in 1991, Jehovah's Witnesses have encountered increasing difficulties in conducting their affairs in Russia. For example, on 24 January 2017 the chair of the Jehovah’s Witnesses branch in Dzerzhinsk was fined 4,000 roubles for ‘extremist’ literature. According to RAPSI, the Nizhny Novgorod Region Court announced on its website that day that the fine was imposed for 'for keeping and distributing extremist literature banned in Russia.' RAPSI reported that the materials in question consisted of two booklets, which were seized by the court.  RAPSI reports that among the many legal problems the Jehovah's Witnesses have face in Russia are the following:

'On October 12, a court in the Jewish Autonomous Region ruled to ban a branch of “The Jehovah’s Witnesses” in Birobidzhan because of distributing extremist literature by the organization. On June 16, Russia’s Supreme Court declared “The Jehovah’s Witnesses of Stary Oskol” in the Belgorod Region an extremist organization and ruled to liquidate it. On June 9, the Jehovah’s Witnesses of Belgorod was banned as extremist organization. In March 2015, a court in Tyumen fined the organization 50,000 rubles ($792) and seized prohibited literature. In January 2014, a court in Kurgan ruled to ban the organization’s booklets as extremist. The books talk about how to have a happy life, what you can hope for, how to develop good relations with God and what you should know about God and its meaning. In late December 2013, the leader of the sect’s group in Tobolsk, Siberia was charged with extremism and the prevention of a blood transfusion that nearly led to the death of a female member of the group. In 2004, a court in Moscow dissolved and banned a Jehovah’s Witnesses group on charges of recruiting children, encouraging believers to break from their families, inciting suicide and preventing believers from accepting medical assistance.'

In its report, the BBC notes that the human rights group Sova "has argued that an 'official repressive campaign' has been conducted against the movement for years and many of their members have been physically attacked." In its report, 'Misuse of Anti-Extremism in March 2017,' Sova Centre wrote:

On March 15, 2017, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation filed a claim in the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation demanding liquidation of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia as extremist, the ban against the activities of this religious organization, as well as 395 of its units, that is, local religious communities, and confiscation of their property in favor of the state. At the same time, the Ministry issued an order to suspend the activities of the Administrative Center and the local religious organizations that are part of its structure, pending the consideration of the claim. The claim followed the audit of the organization that ended on February 27, 2017. The report of the Ministry of Justice on the results of the audit says that, despite the warning about the impermissibility of extremist activity, issued by the Prosecutor General's Office on March 2, 2016, the structural units of the organization are still involved in extremist activities that violate human rights and freedoms and harm citizens, public order and safety. From our point of view, the liquidation of Jehovah's Witnesses organizations for extremism (five local communities in different cities were banned in 2016) has no legal grounds and is a clear case of religious discrimination. In the event that the central organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia is banned, every person from among over one hundred thousand believers will be under threat of criminal prosecution for their faith.

In late March, Jehovah's Witnesses appealed to the Supreme Court with a counterclaim against the Justice Ministry. The Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses demanded that the Supreme Council recognize the actions of the Ministry of Justice against Jehovah's Witnesses as political repressions and deny the claim for the liquidation of the religious organization. As pointed out by the Administrative Center, “repressions include politically motivated actions of the authorities to limit the rights and freedoms of citizens regarded as dangerous for the state, including on religious grounds,” and the actions of the Ministry of Justice in this case limit the rights of citizens in this manner “on the basis of following the teaching of Jehovah's Witnesses” in violation of a number of articles of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Administrative Center also filed an appeal against the Ministry of Justice's order to suspend the activities of all 396 organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses registered in Russia. In addition, 395 local communities, which the Ministry of Justice pointed out in their lawsuit as structural subdivisions of the Administrative Center, appealed to the Supreme Court to recognize them as co-defendants in the case, so that each of them could exercise its right to a fair trial.

Photo of international headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses in Warwick, New York: Wikipedia

'Russia court outlaws "extremist" Jehovah's Witnesses,' BBC, 20 April 2017
'Misuse of Anti-Extremism in March 2017,' Sova Centre, 13 April 2017
'Chair of Jehovah’s Witnesses branch fined for distributing extremist literature,' RAPSI, 25 January 2017

Legal Case of the Week: Tagayeva and Others v. Russia [ECtHR]

posted 17 Apr 2017, 01:20 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 17 Apr 2017, 01:21 ]

On 13 April 2017 the European Court of Human Rights ruled in the case of Tagayeva and Others v. Russia that Russia had failed to protect the hostages of the Beslan school siege in which about 331 people died, including 186 children, and very many people were injured in September 2004, the BBC reported. School No. 1, the largest school in Beslan, was attacked by Chechen separatists on 1 September 2004. The attackers took 1128 people hostage, including 886 children. The siege was ended by an assault by Russian security forces, which included the use of tanks and flamethrowers. No Russian official has been held responsible for the high number of fatalities in the course of the security services' operation. The European Court of Human Rights awarded the applicants in the case [named Tagayeva and Others v. Russia] a total of €2,933,000. The BBC reports: "Russia said the ruling was 'utterly unacceptable' and that it would appeal. , which included 186 children."  

In Tagayeva and Others v. Russia, 346 of the 409 victims of the tragedy were represented at the European Court of Human Rights by the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), based at Middlesex University, and Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow). In a press release, the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre said that, in the case of Tagayeva and Others v. Russia

"The Court’s strongly-worded judgment found that Russia had violated the right to life of the victims and their family members on several counts:
    · the authorities failed to take preventative security measures given that there was prior knowledge that an attack was planned in the area at an educational institution;
    · the investigation into the siege failed to establish whether the force used by the State was justified;
    · there were serious shortcomings in the planning and control of the security operation; and
    · the security forces used disproportionately powerful and indiscriminate weapons (including tank cannon, grenade launchers and flame-throwers), resulting in hundreds of fatalities and injuries."

Professor Philip Leach, Director of EHRAC, said after the judgment: This ground-breaking judgment provides a significant measure of justice for the families, after so many years. It establishes the extent of the Russian authorities’ responsibility for severe loss of life during the Beslan School Siege, but also calls for important lessons to be learned, so that the mistakes made at Beslan are not repeated.”

The EHRAC press release also quoted Lord Frank Judd, a former Rapporteur on Chechnya for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, as saying: The extreme nature of the attack on schoolchildren in Beslan is burnt into Russia's national consciousness. This case is just as relevant today given the continuing threat of terror attacks in Russia and across the world. The Russian state has refused to acknowledge its role in this terrible loss of life and today’s judgment is a pivotal moment in holding Russia to account.

For more information about this case, contact: Sabrina Vashisht of the EHRAC by email on or by phone on +44 208 411 4469

Legal Case of the Week: V.K. v. Russia [European Court of Human Rights]

posted 10 Apr 2017, 10:01 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Apr 2017, 10:03 ]

On 4 April 2014 in the case of V.K. v. Russia, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held that the rights of a Russian national involuntarily placed in a psychiatric facility had been violated, and awarded €1,500 in compensation, RAPSI has reported. In the case, the European Court of Human Rights found a violation of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention (right to liberty and security). The applicant (unnamed) was represented by Dmitry Bartenev, a lawyer practicising in St. Petersburg. According to the record of the case published in HUDOCS, "The applicant alleged that his involuntary placement in a psychiatric facility had been unlawful under Article 5 § 1 of the Convention due to the failure of the national authorities to meet the substantive requirements of that provision, and under Article 5 § 4 of the Convention because of procedural defects in the judicial authorisation of his admission to hospital." RAPSI reports that the applicant "was forcibly confined in a psychiatric hospital in April 2007 for numerous telephone calls to the police about the presence of explosives at an industrial facility, regular and allegedly groundless calls for emergency assistance at his home and aggressive behavior towards medical personnel." Subsequently, St Petersburg City Court dismissed an appeal brought by the person in question against the ruling that placed him in the psychiatric hostpital. The applicant was subsequently discharged from the hospital. 

'V.K. v. Russia,' HUDOCS, 4 April 2017
'Rights of Russian citizen forcibly placed in psychiatric hospital violated - ECHR,' RAPSI, 4 April 2017
'European Convention on Human Rights,' European Court of Human Rights, website

Legal Case of the Week: Crimean Tatar Mejlis contests designation as 'extremist' organization

posted 4 Apr 2017, 02:33 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 4 Apr 2017, 02:35 ]

On 30 March 2017, the banned Crimean Tatar Mejlis, a representative body of Crimean Tatars, submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights, the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre reports, contesting its designation as an ‘extremist’ organisation.The Mejlis and its leaders are represented before the European Court by the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC, London), the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (Kyiv) and Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow). As EHRAC notes: "In April 2016, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Crimea declared the Mejlis an ‘extremist’ organisation and the Crimean Prosecutor suspended the Mejlis’ activities." On 29 September 2016 Human Rights Watch reported that the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation that day confirmed the lower court's ruling declaring the Mejlis to be an extremist organization and banned its activities in Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea. Human Rights Watch called the decision of the Supreme Court "outrageous but not surprising." Human Rights Watch noted that it had documented "a steady curtailing of basic freedoms in Crimea since Russian forces began occupying the peninsula in February 2014."

Human Rights Watch also noted that since the Mejlis had been first banned, several Mejlis members have been threatened, harassed or are facing prosecution by the Russian authorities. EHRAC points out that to date ten members have been charged with administrative or criminal offenses for ‘illegal’ gatherings, and one is in prison. Moreover, "Mustafa Dzhemilev, former Chair of the Mejlis and a leading defender of Crimean Tatar rights, and Refat Chubarov, the current Head of the Mejlis, are forbidden from entering the peninsula, and several Crimean Tatar media outlets have either been banned or persecuted. Many Crimean Tatars have been forced to leave for mainland Ukraine or Russia." 

EHRAC in its press release states: "The Mejlis argues before the European Court that its designation as an extremist organisation and the suspension of its activities is a violation of the right to freedom of association, under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR); and that it has been banned – and its members persecuted – to punish them for their political position (in violation of Article 18). They also complain that the Russian Courts disregarded their status as a representative body of the indigenous people of Crimea, violating the prohibition of discrimination (Article 14). They further allege that they did not have access to a fair trial (Article 6 ECHR), and they could not have anticipated that their activities would be in violation of anti-extremist legislation (Article 7 ECHR). Approximately 3,000 individual cases related to the events in Crimea or the hostilities in Eastern Ukraine are currently pending before the Court."

Photo: The Mejlis building in Simferopol, confiscated by the Russian authorities [Wikipedia]

'Banned Crimean Tatar Mejlis takes case to Strasbourg Court,' EHRAC, 30 March 2017
Tanya Cooper, 'Crimean Tatar Elected Body Banned in Russia. Shutdown of Mejlis Part of Repressive Measures Against Crimean Tatars,' Human Rights Watch, 29 September 2016
'Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People,' Wikipedia

Legal Case of the Week: 2002 Dubrovka Theatre atrocity

posted 27 Mar 2017, 06:27 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 27 Mar 2017, 06:33 ]

On 20 March 2017 Khasan Zakayev was convicted of assisting in the attack on the Dubrovka theatre, during a performance of the musical Nord-Ost on 22 October 2002, and sentenced to 19 years in prison. In the 2002 act of terror, the attackers had taken the audience hostage, demanding that Russia withdraw its troops from Chechnya. All the hostage takers, together with 130 of the more than 900 hostages, died when Russian special forces launched an operation using a toxic gas to release the hostages on 26 October 2002. According to independent sources, the number of hostages who died is 174. Most of the victims reportedly died as a result of inadequate health care provided after they had breathed the gas. As RFE/RL reports, Zakayev had been detained in
March 2015 and subsequently pleaded "partially" guilty to having transported guns to Moscow shortly before the assault. However, he stated that he had no idea what the guns were intended for. 

As The Moscow Times reported, family members of the victims and survivors of the atrocity blame government officials for poor management of the hostage negotiations and have called for the officials who ordered the assault on the Dubrovka theatre to be prosecuted. In 2011, the European Court of Human Rights ruled the authorities had failed to provide adequate medical care to the hostages after the gas had been released into the theatre.

The Moscow Times quotes Karinna Moskalenko, a lawyer for the victims and their families, as saying: "Khasan Zakaev is not the only person we wanted to see in the dock. We are talking about the responsibility of government officials. We are interested in everyone who is responsible for the so-called rescue operation." 

'Suspect In 2002 Moscow Theater Siege Sentenced To 19 Years In Prison,' RFE/RL, 21 March 2017
'Dubrovka Hostage Survivors to Sue Government Over Fatal Raid,' The Moscow Times, 21 March 2017

Legal Case of the Week: Orlov and others v Russia

posted 20 Mar 2017, 07:26 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Mar 2017, 07:50 ]

On 14 March 2017 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled Russia was behind a 2007 attack in Ingushetia on human rights defender Oleg Orlov and three journalists from the Russian REN-TV channel. The four individuals were in Ingushetia to cover protests over the death of a child during a security operation. The ECtHR found Russia responsible for illegal detention, inhuman treatment and illegal taking of belongings (violations of the right to liberty and security of person [Article 5 of the Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms], the ban on inhuman treatment and torture [Article 3 of the Convention], and of the right to property [Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 of the Convention]. Russia was also found responsible for there being no proper investigation of the crimes. As RFE/RL reported, the European Court of Human Rights also ordered Russia to pay 84,000 euros in compensation for "illegal freedom deprivation and torture." 

Oleg Orlov and the three journalists (Artem Vysotsky, Stanislav Gorychikh, and Karen Sakhinov) were staying the night of 23-24 November 2007 in the Assa Hotel in Nazran, Ingushetia, when, as Memorial Human Rights Centre reports, they were hooded, carried off to an isolated place where they were threatened with being shot, savagely beaten and thrown into a snowy field. All documents, money, personal belongings and computers, and TV recording equipment belonging to the four were taken from them. The applicants were represented by Dokka Itslaev and Kirill Koroteyev, lawyers from the Memorial Human Rights Centre, and by Bill Bowring from the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), London. 

'European Court Says Russian State Behind 2007 Attack On Rights Defender,' RFE/RL, 14 March 2017
'ЕСПЧ вынес решение о похищении в Ингушетии в 2007 году председателя Совета Правозащитного центра «Мемориал» Олега Орлова и журналистов телекомпании РЕН-ТВ,' Memorial Human Rights Centre, 14 March 2017
'European Court of Human Rights: Russian security services involved in abduction of rights activist and journalists,' in English, 14 March 2017

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