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17 January 2017

posted by Rights in Russia   [ updated ]

European Court Rules Russian Ban On U.S. Adoptions Violated Rights
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that a Russian law barring Americans from adopting Russian children led to human rights violations. The ruling posted on the Strasbourg court's website on January 17 said that the legislation, which President Vladimir Putin signed in December 2012, resulted in breaches of articles of the European Convention on Human Rights that prohibit discrimination and guarantee the right to respect for family life. The court found that the ban illegally discriminated against prospective American parents of Russian-born children because it prevented their adoption "purely on the basis of the prospective parents' nationality," the ECHR said in a statement. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [17 January 2017]

Details Of Roundup Of Suspected Chechen Extremists Unclear, Contradictory
Chechen and Russian security personnel have launched the largest sweep operations in a decade in an attempt to round up suspected members of a group of fighters said to be planning large-scale terrorist attacks at the behest of the extremist group Islamic State (IS). Details of how many men have been apprehended or killed, and what their precise intentions were, remain unclear, however. Some Russian analysts have expressed skepticism over official statements by Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov. Since January 10, at least four, and possibly as many as 10, men have been killed and up to 100 apprehended in eight towns and villages southeast of Grozny. And, in an indication that opposition to Kadyrov could permeate even his closest entourage, one of his personal bodyguards was reportedly executed on January 15 for abetting the group. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [17 January 2017]

Lawyers For Yukos, Russian Government Prepare For $50 Billion Appeal Case
Lawyers for the Russian government and former shareholders of defunct Russian oil giant Yukos are back in court in what could be the final stages of a $50 billion battle over ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s once-massive energy company. The group, led by the former main shareholder GML, are appealing a Dutch court's April 2016 decision to overturn an award of more than $50 billion in damages that the Russian government had been ordered to pay the former shareholders. The Dutch court said the arbitration panel that originally ruled in favor of the former shareholders in 2014 had lacked jurisdiction to make such an award. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [17 January 2017]

Bolotnaya case defendant Buchenkov to stay detained until March
The Moscow City Court has upheld the extension of detention for Dmitry Buchenkov, who stands charged with participation in the riots on Bolotnaya Square on May 6, 2012, his lawyer Svetlana Sidorkina told RAPSI on Tuesday. Buchenkov will remain in jail until March 6. In October, final charges were brought against the defendant. He stands accused of participating in mass riots and attacking persons in a position of authority. There are 6 charge counts and 7 victims in the case against him, Sidorkina said earlier. Buchenkov pleaded not guilty. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [17 January 2017]

Russian Woman Jailed For Reposting Child-Abuse Video Sent To 'The Hole'
First she was jailed for reposting a graphic child-abuse video in order to draw public attention to the crime. Then she claimed she was sent to a punishment cell [on 12 January]-- known by her jailors as "the hole" -- for trying to warm up her feet by covering them with a blanket. The startling misfortune of Yevgenia Chudnovets, a jailed kindergarten teacher from the Urals, has won her public support across the political divide -- from opposition leader Aleksei Navalny all the way to lawmakers from Vladimir Putin's United Russia ruling party. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [16 January 2017]

Adnan Khuade links his prosecution with protection of Circassians' rights
In his last plea at the trial in Maikop, the Circassian activist Adnan Khuade asked the court to acquit him. According to the activist, he is persecuted for "defending the right of his people to the recognition of Circassian genocide." The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on December 28, 2016, during debates at the Maikop City Court, the prosecutor asked the court to find Khuade guilty of an attempt to commit a petty bribery, thus reclassifying the charge against the activist. Prior to the reclassification, Adnan Khuade was accused of attempting to bribe a GIBDD (traffic police) inspector. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [16 January 2017]

Justice Initiative sends 42 confirmations of women's circumcision to Dagestani General Prosecutor's Office
In response to the demand of the General Prosecutor's Office (GPO) of Dagestan to provide information about the victims of female circumcision, the "Justice Initiative for Russia" (SRJI) has sent anonymous interviews collected for a research of the mutilating genital surgeries in girls in the republic. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on December 13, 2016, the Dagestani GPO asked the SRJI to present the materials of the research, dedicated to victims of female circumcision in Dagestan. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [16 January 2017]

"Interfax": 60 suspects of links with IS detained in Chechnya
About 60 militants and their helpers, associated with the "Islamic State" (IS), a terrorist organization, banned in Russia by the court, have been detained in a special operation in Chechnya, the "Interfax" reports referring to its source in power agencies of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD). The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Chechen residents informed about mass detentions held in eight dwelling settlements of the republic after the armed clash that occurred on January 11 in the village of Tsotsi-Yurt, Kurchaloi District of Chechnya, where four suspected militants and two Rosgvardiya (Russian Guard) servicemen were killed. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [16 January 2017]

International Memorial Society challenges designation as foreign agent
Today, Elena Zhemkova, the executive director of the International "Memorial", has reported on filing an appeal to the Moscow City Court against the decision of the Zamoskvorechye Court of Moscow to recognize the legitimacy of the introduction of the NGO in the register of foreign agents. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on October 4, 2016, it became known that the Russian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) decided to include the International "Memorial" in the register of foreign agents. The "Memorial" treated the MoJ's decision as unlawful. On December 16, 2016, the Zamoskvorechye Court of Moscow recognized the legitimacy of the introduction of the International "Memorial" in the register of foreign agents. Today, Elena Zhemkova, the executive director of the International "Memorial", has reported on filing an appeal to the Moscow City Court with the demand to cancel the decision of the Zamoskvorechye Court of Moscow. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [16 January 2017]

Three suspected militants detained in Chechnya
In the Chechen town of Shali, three local residents were detained on suspicion of involvement in the armed underground. They have confessed to be members of a grouping led by Imran Datsaev. This was reported by the law enforcement bodies of Chechnya. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on January 14, Imran Datsaev was detained after the armed clash which occurred on January 11 in the Kurchaloi District of the Chechen Republic. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has reported that Imran Datsaev was involved in the terrorist organization "Islamic State" (IS), banned in Russia by the court. According to Ramzan Kadyrov, in the autumn, Imran Datsaev killed a policeman by an order of the terrorists. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [16 January 2017]

16 January 2017

posted 16 Jan 2017, 09:13 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 16 Jan 2017, 09:14 ]

FSB detains Ukrainian Cultural Centre activist & his wife in Russian-occupied Crimea
Russia’s FSB is preparing ‘extremism’ charges against yet another pro-Ukrainian Crimean, a young mother of two small children, with the pretext this time being a post on the social network VKontakte. FSB officers turned up at around 7 a.m. on Jan 12 at the home of Andriy Vinohradov and Natalya Kharchenko in Simferopol. They carried out a search, taking all working computer technology, etc. away. Although they frightened the couple’s two small daughters, it seems they were at least reasonably well-behaved which is not always the case. Both Vinohradov and Kharchenko were taken away for questioning. Since it is Vinohradov who is a member of the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, whose members are regularly ‘warned’ not to encroach Russia’s loose and increasingly misused ‘extremism’ legislation, it was initially assumed that he was the FSB’s target. [...]

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [16 January 2017]

Russian 'scrotum protest' artist seeks asylum in France
Russian dissident artist Pyotr Pavlensky, whose protests against the state have included nailing his scrotum to Moscow's Red Square, has said he plans to seek asylum in France. Pavlensky, 32, fled to Ukraine with his partner last month to avoid being sent to prison on what he said were trumped-up allegations of committing a sex crime. In his first interview since leaving, he said the Russia of President Vladimir Putin had become increasingly authoritarian and intolerant of dissenting voices. [...]
Source: Reuters [By Alessandra Prentice and Margaryta Chornokondratenko - 16 January 2017] 

Denial to remove human rights group Memorial from “foreign agents” list appealed
International human rights association Memorial has lodged an appeal with the Moscow City Court challenging a lower court’s refusal to remove the organization from the “foreign agents” list, RIA Novosti reported Monday. On December 16, Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky District Court upheld a decision declaring Memorial a foreign agent and thus dismissed the NGO’s motion to be excluded from the list. During the hearings representatives of Memorial said that the Justice Ministry incorrectly interpreted some of articles, published on the NGO’s website, as organizing political activity. They noted that Memorial is an international organization and can’t be listed as “foreign agent”, according to the Constitutional Court’s ruling. Representative of the Justice Ministry, in turn, claimed that Memorial is registered in Russia and is to follow Russian legislation. [...]

Source: RAPSI [16 January 2017]

Russian court fines underage Islamized girl for extremism over Internet post
A court in Essentuki town, Southern Russia, has fined an underage girl converted in Islam 50 thousand rubles (about $850) for Internet messages calling for sectarian discord, RIA Novosti reported Monday. The judge found the girl guilty of a crime the Russian Criminal Code formulates as incitement of hatred or enmity. The criminal case materials say that the schoolgirl, who converted to Islam, failing to clearly understand its articles of faith and encouraged by a video record implicitly calling for armed fight for Islamic beliefs has commented on this record on Internet. [...]

Source: RAPSI [16 January 2017]

Power agents report detention of militant who escaped after shootout in Chechnya
The suspected militant, who managed to escape after the armed clash in the Kurchaloi District of Chechnya, has been detained. The detention of two members of the grouping in Kabardino-Balkaria is also reported. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on January 11, in the outskirt of the village of Tsotsi-Yurt, in the course of a special operation, power agents blocked a grouping of suspected members of an illegal armed formation (IAF), who rendered armed resistance. As a result, four of them were killed and one member of the grouping was detained. Two servicemen of the "Rosgvardiya" (Federal National Guard Troops Service of the Russian Federation) were also killed. One of the suspected militants managed to escape. Initially, his search was conducted in the Kurchaloi District; then, the Shali District and the city of Argun were added to the search area. Republic's law enforcers have noted that none of them suffered in the special operation. In Nalchik, two members of the grouping, who tried to go outside the region, were also detained. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [14 January 2017]

HRC "Memorial": information about murder of Madina Shakhbieva, detained in Chechnya, confirmed
The information about the fact that Madina Shakhbieva, an alleged member of a group of militants, wounded during a special operation in Grozny, was taken away from hospital, shot dead and buried, has been confirmed by a reliable source, said the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial". The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on December 17, 2016, in Grozny, policemen were attacked, after which a large-scale special operation was deployed in the city, in which, according to power agents, seven suspected militants were killed and four others were detained. A source from the Chechen Ministry of Public Health reported that three wounded detainees were in hospital, but armed men took them away and killed. Among those killed was Madina Shakhbieva, born in 1998, whom law enforcers called a girlfriend of Islam Altemirov, killed in the special operation. According to the source, law enforcers were among the relatives of the detained girl; besides, Madina's relatives "have refused from her." [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [13 January 2017]

Opening of case on police inaction at pogrom of JMG's office denied for the sixth time
The Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) has for the sixth time refused to initiate a case on inaction of policemen, who failed on time to respond to the call from Grozny, where the office of the Joint Mobile Group (JMG) of rights defenders was destroyed. This refusal of the ICRF has been already appealed against, said the activists of the "Committee for the Prevention of Torture" (CPT). The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on June 3, 2015, JMG office in Grozny, which had worked under the auspices of the "Committee against Torture" (CAT) was destroyed. According to eyewitnesses, policemen came to the place of the incident only after the attackers had smashed the rights defenders' car, destroyed the office and the apartment of the JMG. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [13 January 2017]

Statement on Stomakhin's transfer to prison withdrawn from court
The consideration of the transfer to the prison regime of the publicist Boris Stomakhin, convicted for public justification of terror acts in Volgograd, was stopped today after the administration of the colony has withdrawn its presentation from the court. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on April 20, 2015, Stomakhin was sentenced to three years in prison for his publication about the terror acts in Volgograd committed on December 29-30, 2014, which, according to investigators, contained a public justification of terrorism. At the time of the trial, Stomakhin was serving another sentence in the Perm Region on similar charges, handed down on April 22, 2014. In December 2016, the administration of the local colony turned to the court with a presentation to toughen Stomakhin's custody regime and transfer him to prison. Today, the Chusovoy City Court of the Perm Region has stopped the consideration of the above presentation, said the advocate Roman Kachanov. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [13 January 2017]

13 January 2017

posted 13 Jan 2017, 10:30 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Jan 2017, 10:54 ]

Top Russian polling NGO turns to ECtHR over “foreign agent” label
One of Russia’s largest non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Levada-Center, which regularly conducts sociological and market surveys, has filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights over declaring it a “foreign agent”, the organization’s lawyer Ilnur Sharapov told RAPSI on Friday. The NGO complained over alleged violation of the Center’s right to freedom of assembly and association as well as discrimination on grounds of sphere of activity (Articles 11 and 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights respectively). [...]
Source: RAPSI [13 January 2017]

More Than One Million Russians Convicted in 2016
More than one million Russians were found guilty of a crime in 2016, according to data released on Thursday by Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service. The country's prison population as a whole fell by 15,000 people in the past year, dropping to 630,155 inmates on Jan. 1 2017. Some 519,500 men and 49,200 women are serving prison terms in penal colonies, with a further 107,300 inmates held in pre-trial detention, the prison service said in a press release on its website. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [12 January 2017]

Russian Police Have Blocked 1,200 Websites Since 2014
The Russian government has officially blocked 1,200 websites since 2014, the Interfax news agency reported Friday. Russia's Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said that almost 20,000 sites had been forced to delete “prohibited information” during a special message to commemorate the 295thanniversary of the Russian Prosecution Service. Chaika said that the blocks stopped terrorist groups reaching out to young people. But prosecutors have clamped down on a range of online material in recent months. High profile targets include social network LinkedIn, which was closed in a dispute over data storage, and adult film website Pornhub. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [12 January 2017]

12 January 2017

posted 11 Jan 2017, 23:09 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Jan 2017, 01:03 ]

Chechnya's Kadyrov Says Police Killed Four Militants, Detained Dozens
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has said dozens of suspected militants were detained and four of them killed in a special security operation in Chechnya on January 11. "Four militants were annihilated during a special operation in the populated areas of the Kurchaloi district," while one member of the security forces was killed, he said. One armed suspect escaped, taking advantage of the dark during the nighttime operation, but he was being tracked down, Kadyrov said. Mines, explosives, ammunition, and weapons were reportedly seized from the detained militants, who Kadyrov described as a "gang." [...]
Source: RFE/RL [12 January 2017]

ECtHR accepts Trunov's complaint about non-admission to State Duma elections
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has accepted the complaint of the lawyer Igor Trunov against the refusal of the Central Election Commission (CEC) to admit him to the State Duma elections. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Igor Trunov is well-known for his defence of the interests of victims of terror acts committed in Domodedovo Airport in 2011, the Moscow metro in 2004, the Dubrovka Theatre Centre in 2002, and of the explosion of the high-rise house in Moscow's Kashira Highway in 1999. He also defended the rights of the victims in the case of the death of Sergey Bodrov and his filming team in Karmadon Gorge in 2002. Besides, Igor Trunov represents the interests of the victims of the aircraft crash in Rostov-on-Don in March 2016. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [11 January2017]

Russia region's 'no abortion day' to mark Bible story
A Russian region has banned abortions for one day after local religious leaders called for the biblical account of the Massacre of the Innocents to be commemorated, it's reported. The Russian Orthodox Church diocese in the city of Yaroslavl declared 11 January a "day of silence without abortions", and said it had the support of the region's health department. Abortion is legal in Russia and the cost is covered by the state. "The event is dedicated to the memory of Bethlehem children slaughtered by King Herod, who wanted to kill the newborn infant Christ," a statement on the diocese's website reads. "On this day it is forbidden to carry out abortions in all state medical institutions in Yaroslavl Region," it says, adding that state officials and the Church want private clinics to follow suit. [...]
Source: BBC [11 January 2017]

11 January 2017

posted 11 Jan 2017, 13:19 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 11 Jan 2017, 13:28 ]

Russian Bill Decriminalizing Domestic Battery Sails Through First Reading
Russian legislators returned from recess by approving -- with almost unanimous support -- the first reading of a bill that would decriminalize assault in the family home. The bill, which is in keeping with the conservative values espoused by President Vladimir Putin and has been protested by antidomestic abuse activists, seeks to downgrade assault inside the traditional family unit from a criminal offense to a misdemeanor. Battery inside the home by family members remained a criminal offense in 2016, while cases of street assault -- say, between two men -- were legally decriminalized to a misdemeanor punishable by fine. The new legislation would remove this distinction. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [11 January 2017] 

Nobel Laureate Alexievich Joins Exodus From Russian PEN-Center
2015 Nobel Literature Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich has quit the Russian PEN Center as part of a widening split within the rights organization. Alexievich said on January 11 that she was leaving the organization to protest the expulsion of journalist and activist Sergei Parkhomenko. Her statement came a day after prominent Russian writer Boris Akunin, whose real name is Grigory Chkhartishvili, announced he was leaving the Russian PEN-Center, saying that the organization did not defend persecuted writers and so had "nothing in common" with the global PEN movement. The previous day, poet Lev Rubinshtein and writer Aleksandr Ilichevsky also quit the group to protest the expulsion from the group of prominent journalist and activist Sergei Parkhomenko. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [11 January 2017]

Student Ruslan Saifutdinov buried without any additional examinations
The mother of the inmate Ruslan Saifutdinov, who died in the city of Kurgan and who had earlier been wanted in Dagestan for participation in the Middle East conflict, refused from further medical examinations of her son's body, in order to immediately bury him according to Muslim traditions. However, the autopsy was made and found no internal injuries, the local department of the Federal Penitentiary Service (known as FSIN) has reported. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Ruslan Saifutdinov, 24, a former student of the Tyumen Medical Academy, died on January 7 at the medical unit of the penal colony in Kurgan. According to his mother, the young man, who was to leave the colony in less than two weeks, had received threats. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [10 January 2017] 

Forensic experts find traces of torture on body of detainee Murad Ragimov's father
A native of Dagestan Firuddin Ragimov was exposed to electric shocks, assert the experts of the "Centre for Forensic Examinations and Studies". Their conclusions confirm the earlier Ragimov's statements about torture, the human rights organization "Committee to Prevent Torture" (CPT) has stated. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Murad Ragimov was detained in Moscow on August 30, 2016, on suspicion of belonging to militants in Syria and involvement in an attack on policemen in Dagestan. After power agents found out that Ragimov had no foreign passport, they searched the apartment and stated, in the presence of their own witnesses, the detection of drugs, the relatives of the young man assert. According to the CPT, in September last year, Murad Ragimov's sister, Gyunai Ragimova, tuned to rights defenders for help. Firuddin Ragimov himself told that power agents "beat and kicked him, and tortured with electric shocks." 
Source: Caucasian Knot [10 January 2017]

"Caucasian Knot" journalist beaten up in Rostov-on-Don
Five men have attacked Vladislav Ryazantsev, a "Caucasian Knot"correspondent, in central Rostov-on-Don and beat him up in the eyes of his wife and passers-by. "Right now, in the centre of the city (Sovetov Square), I was attacked by five men with covered faces, who struck my head and knocked me down to the ground. My wife was pushed aside; and then passers-by helped me. I don't know the reason, but they didn't take the money and the phone," the journalist wrote in his Facebook. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [10 January 2017]

10 January 2017

posted 10 Jan 2017, 11:25 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Jan 2017, 11:28 ]

Russian Yoga Instructor Becomes Unlikely Spiritual Warrior As He Fights Counterterrorism Law
A Russian yoga teacher has been forced into the role of spiritual warrior in the face of charges he was missionizing in violation of a controversial new law. Computer programmer Dmitry Ugay was detained by police in St. Petersburg on October 22 while giving a talk at a festival about the philosophies behind yoga, a discipline for achieving physical and spiritual well-being. The 44-year-old faces a fine for allegedly conducting illegal missionary activity, an administrative offense under the new Yarovaya Law, a package of legal amendments intended to fight terrorism that is named after its author, lawmaker Irina Yarovaya. [...] His court hearing in St. Petersburg began on January 9 but was adjourned until January 18, state legal news agency Rapsi reported. The agency said the court has summoned the police officer who processed Ugay's detention. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [10 January 2017]

House Arrest Of Former Russian Minister Ulyukayev Extended
A Moscow court has extended the pretrial house arrest of former Economic Development Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev by three months, until April 15. The Basmanny district court granted prosecutors' request for an extension on January 10. Ulyukayev is accused of taking a $2 million bribe in exchange for his approval to allow state oil giant Rosneft to purchase a majority stake in regional oil company Bashneft from the government. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [10 January 2017]

Suspected Militant Extradited From Czech Republic To Russia
An alleged militant suspected of involvement in the murder of an investigator in Russia's Daghestan region has been extradited from the Czech Republic to Russia. The Russian Interior Ministry said on January 10 that Tagir Israpilov, 35, was escorted by Interpol agents and Russian Interior Ministry officials while being extradited. Russian investigators claim that Israpilov and other alleged militants killed a local investigator in Daghestan and robbed his apartment in 2010. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [10 January 2010]

European Court of Human Rights orders Russia to pay €15,000 for unlawful prosecution

The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Russia to pay 15,000 euros in damages to three Russian nationals who complained of unlawful prosecution, the court’s ruling reads. Ivan Trufanov, Georgy Sedov and Sergey Posokhov filed an application with the ECHR in April 2004 alleging that their claims for compensation were dismissed by Russian courts. [...]
Source: RAPSI [10 January 2017]

9 January 2017

posted 9 Jan 2017, 11:10 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 9 Jan 2017, 11:34 ]

Russian Prisoner Dadin Contacts Relatives After Monthlong Absence
A Russian political activist serving a 2 1/2-year sentence for participating in illegal demonstrations has been located after not being heard from for more than one month. Ildar Dadin has telephoned his wife, Anastasia Zotova and reported that he is being held in penal colony No. 5 in Altai Krai, Zotova reported on social media on January 8. In November, Dadin issued an open letter complaining of torture and other abuse at the prison in Karelia where he'd formerly been incarcerated. Authorities announced on December 5 that he would be transferred but refused to say where. From that time, Dadin had no contact with his relatives or lawyers. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [8 January 2017]

'Shorten His Tongue, Pull Out His Teeth,' Says Chechen Official In Apparent Threat to Journalist
A prominent Caucasus news agency has vowed to take legal action after a Chechen parliamentarian appeared to threaten its chief editor on social media. The speaker of Chechnya's parliament, Magomed Daudov, who also goes by the nickname “Lord,” published a picture on his Instagram account on Jan. 4 of a dog with its tongue tied into a knot. The pictured was accompanied by the text: “How to untie the Caucasian Knot?” In a comment alongside the photo, Daudov described the dog as “a mongrel nicknamed 'Swede,'” in an apparent reference to Grigory Shvedov who is the chief editor of the Caucasian Knot news agency. In Russian, “Shvedov” closely resembles the word for “Swedish.” [...] Shvedov told the Kommersant business daily on Monday that the agency's lawyers were preparing to lodge a complaint with the Investigative Committee on charges of obstructing journalism. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [9 January 2017]

Russian Student Turned IS Fighter Found Dead in Prison
A Russian student convicted of fighting for Islamic State in Syria has died in prison just days before he was due to be released. Ruslan Saifutdinov, a former medical student, was given a three-year sentence for fighting as a mercenary in 2015, the Znak news site reported. The court found that he had taken money in return for fighting against Russian government forces in Syria. The Kurgan Investigative Committee is now looking into reports that Sayfutdinov, who had been due to be released on parole Jan. 18, was beaten to death in prison. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [9 January 2017]

Suspect detained in case of murdered North Caucasus journalist
A court in Russia’s Republic of Ingushetia remanded Ruslan Dzhamaldinov in custody on suspicion of killing a prominent journalist Amerkhan Kokurkhoyev, RIA Novosti reported on Monday. On January 1, Kokurkhoyev was transported to a clinic in Sunzhensky District of Ingushetia with a stab wound to chest and died without regaining consciousness. He worked as press-secretary of the District’s administration and hosted sport programs at “Ingushetia” TV channel. According to investigators, the victim was mortally wounded during domestic dispute in Nesterovskaya village. [...]

Source: RAPSI  [9 January 2017]

6 January 2017

posted 6 Jan 2017, 12:14 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 6 Jan 2017, 12:24 ]

Bend Your Body, Break the Law
Russia puts a yoga instructor on trial for illegal ‘missionary work’
People have joked about a yoga ban in Russia ever since a West Siberian city flirted with the idea in July 2015, when several studios in town received letters from the local government, asking them to stop holding yoga classes in municipal buildings. The city described it as an effort against “new religious cults and movements.” Nizhnevartovsk soon rescinded the requests, disciplining the officials responsible for mailing out letters with “incorrect information.” [...] This fall, however, yoga in Russia was back under fire. Dmitry Ugai says police detained him at a “Vedalife” festival in St. Petersburg on Oct. 22, where he lectured to a crowd about the philosophy behind yoga. [...] That was apparently enough to trigger the police, who Ugai says cut short his lecture, and then escorted him away from the festival to the backseat of a squad car. [...] Dmitry Ugai goes to court on Monday, Jan. 9, in St. Petersburg. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [6 January 2017]

Lawyers criticize investigation into deaths of victims of First Chechen War
According to lawyers interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot", remains of victims of the Chechen war of 1994-1996 were given out to relatives after the expiry of criminal liability for persons involved in their deaths and proved the ineffectiveness of the investigation. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on December 31, the remains of 109 people, presumably killed during the first military campaign in the territory of Chechnya, were transported from Rostov to the republic. The remains of the victims were buried in two mass graves at the cemetery opened several years ago between the villages of Elevator and Pobedinskoe of the Grozny District of the Chechen Republic. The fact of giving out of human remains after so many years have passed can prove the failure of investigation. This opinion was voiced by Nadezhda Ermolaeva, an expert on international law, a legal adviser of the programme "The Right to Asylum" of the Human Rights Institute. "The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has found violations in more than 200 complaints about disappearances of people. The Russian Federation has found no violation in any of the above cases. The authorities argued that the kidnappings had been committed by militants and that the federal forces had not been involved in the disappearances. When it comes to effectiveness, it comes to a dead end. No search actions ever took place," Nadezhda Ermolaeva told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [5 January 2017]

5 January 2017

posted 5 Jan 2017, 02:34 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 5 Jan 2017, 02:35 ]

Relatives of militants killed in Grozny complain about mass dismissals
Relatives of the young people killed on December 17-18 in Grozny and involved in attacks on policemen are dismissed from their jobs, and some of them are not paid pension and benefits. This was told to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent by the people themselves. "Almost all the people who wear our surname are dismissed from jobs, including my husband, two brothers of my husband and even a sister of my husband, and other relatives. No explanations were voiced, and they were just informed that they had been fired. We do not know what to do now," the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent was told by a female relative of one of the killed militants, who preferred to remain anonymous for security reasons. This is not the only family whose members found themselves in such a situation. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [4 January 2017]

Chechen residents protest against postponement of identification of human remains from mass grave
The mass grave of 109 victims of the hostilities, buried on December 31 at the cemetery near Grozny, has become a place of pilgrimage for relatives of the people who disappeared during the First Chechen War. The people still cannot obtain information about their relatives. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on December 31, the remains of 109 people, presumably killed during the first military campaign in the territory of Chechnya, were transported from Rostov to the republic. The remains of the victims were buried in two mass graves at the cemetery opened several years ago between the villages of Elevator and Pobedinskoe of the Grozny District of the ChechenRepublic. Every day, residents of different regions of Chechnya come to the cemetery. They search for their relatives disappeared and kidnapped during the war. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [4 January 2017]

4 January 2017

posted 4 Jan 2017, 10:31 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 4 Jan 2017, 11:06 ]

Russian Police Briefly Detain Six Supporters Of Jailed Activist
Russian police have briefly detained six people who staged a protest in Moscow demanding the authorities disclose the whereabouts of jailed activist Ildar Dadin, who has said he was tortured in prison. The protesters were released after spending about four hours in custody on January 4. Prominent opposition politician Aleksei Navalny tweeted two photos of a woman whom he described as a lone protester. One photo depicts the woman holding a placard reading "Where is Ildar Dadin?" and another condemning "torture in Russian concentration camps." The second photo shows the woman being escorted away by two policemen. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [4 January 2017]

Russian Rights Activists Demand Information on Imprisoned Dissident's Whereabouts
Rights activists are trying to locate an opposition activist who says he was tortured in a Russian prison and then went missing in state custody. The opposition activist, Ildar Dadin, has been incommunicado for over a month while being transferred to another prison, and activists say his relatives “fear for his life and health.” On Jan. 2, Lev Ponomarev, director of the “For Human Right” organization, and Alexei Venediktov, editor-in-chief of the Ekho Moskvy radio station, sent a letter to the Federal Penitentiary Service (FPS) demanding that the authorities reveal Dadin’s location. They were joined by St. Petersburg legislator Boris Vishnevsky, who also demanded information from the FPS. In his letter, Ponomarev emphasized that Dadin’s relatives fear for his safety because he had revealed torture in prison. Officials might try to punish him for speaking out, they worry. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [3 January 2017]

Rally in memory of those killed in Chechnya held in Adygea
On January 2, Adygea marks the Memory Day of soldiers, who perished in local conflicts, within which a mourning rally was held at the memorial near the Maikop garrison. 22 years ago more than 100 soldiers, sergeants and officers of the 131stMaikop Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade perished in the warfare in Chechnya, the "Argumenty i Facty-Adygea" reports. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [3 January 2017]

Suspect of killing journalist Kokurkhoev named
On suspicion of murdering the Ingush TV presenter Amir Kokurkhoev, the police are looking for Rizvan Kotiev, a 26-year resident of the village of Nesterovskoe. Law enforcement bodies have appealed to local residents asking to help to detain the suspect. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Amir Kokurkhoev, the press secretary of the administration of the Sunzha District of Ingushetia and the programme presenter at the republic's television, was stabbed on January 1, and died in hospital. According to investigators, the murder was a result of a domestic conflict, and a Kokurkhoev's neighbour is the main suspect. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [2 January 2017]

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