Legal Case of the Week: Svetlana Margieva

posted 24 Oct 2016, 01:53 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 24 Oct 2016, 03:57 ]
On 21 October 2016, the Supreme Court of North Ossetia reduced the sentence imposed on one of the protestors at Beslan, Svetlana Margieva, from correctional labour to a fine of 5000 roubles. Caucasian Knot reports: "In this way the Supreme Court of North Ossetia partially satisfied Svetlana Margieva's complaint by re-qualifying her case from 'organization of uncoordinated action' to 'violation of the established order of holding an action.' The court took into account that Margieva was a participant, not an organizer." However, Svetlana Margieva had hoped for a full acquittal and intends to appeal against the ruling of the Supreme Court of North Ossetia.

As Caucasian Knot reported, on 1 September 2016 six women protesters in Beslan were detained for appearing in T-shirts bearing accusations against Russian president (see photo by Elena Kostyuchenko). Subsequently, they were charged with violating the public order and four of the women were sentenced to 20 hours of correctional work, while two others were fined by 20,000 roubles each. Caucasian Knot reported: "Among the protesters were Ella Kesaeva, whose daughter was taken hostage, but survived; Emma Betrozova, who lost her husband and two sons in the terror act; Zhanna Tsirikhova, who herself was held hostage along with her two daughters, one of whom perished; Svetlana Margieva, who was also a hostage with her daughter, who died in her arms; and Emilia Bzarova, whose son was killed during the terror act."

Amnesty International condemned the detention of members of Voice of Beslan and called the actions of law enforcement officers and the court's decision 'a blatant case of legal blindness.' Sergei Nikitin, head of Amnesty International's Moscow office, said at the time of the incident: "The detention of mothers of Beslan on the anniversary of the tragedy is a blatant case of legal blindness and emotional deafness of the authorities. Everyone has the right to express what he or she wants and in the way that he or she sees fit. This right is not absolute, but any infringement thereof should be justified by the law and pursue a legitimate goal. The intervention of the law enforcement bodies in the activities of the journalists in Beslan also can be treated in no other way than as an attack on freedom of speech."

Frontline Defenders in a statement also condemned the administrative sanctions imposed on the six members of Voice of Beslan and the reportedly excessive use of force towards them during their arrest, and issued an urgent appeal in their supportб сalling on the authorities: '1. Immediately quash the conviction of six human rights defenders from Voice of Beslan; 2. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations of excessive use of force during the arrest of the human rights defenders; 3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Russia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.'

Photo of protest at Beslan on 1 September 2016: Elena Kostyuchenko 

'Punishment to Beslan protester changed,' Caucasian Knot, 21 October 2016
'AI condemns detention of mothers in Beslan,' Caucasian Knot, 2 September 2016