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21 April 2017

posted 21 Apr 2017, 12:19 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 21 Apr 2017, 12:21 ]

Chechen gay men 'flee for their lives'
It is believed that more than 60 gay men have fled the Russian republic of Chechnya, following what they describe as an ongoing campaign of persecution by the security forces. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the claims, and is supported by the Kremlin who say there is no evidence to support the "phantom" claims. [...]

Source: BBC [21 April 2017]

Chechnya leader rejects reports of anti-gay purge
Ramzan Kadyrov makes denial despite growing evidence that gay men have been rounded up and at least three have been killed
Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov has used a meeting with Vladimir Putin to deny reports of an anti-gay purge in the southern Russian republic he runs. The newspaper Novaya Gazeta alleges that more than 100 Chechen men suspected of being gay have been rounded up and at least three killed. Despite Kadyrov’s denial, evidence of a massive campaign against gay men is building. [...]
Source: The Guardian [author: Shaun Walker; 21 April 2017]

Second Flight Attendant Loses Discrimination Suit Against Russia's Aeroflot
A Russian court has rejected a lawsuit filed by an Aeroflot flight attendant who accused the national airline of discrimination based on body size, the second such ruling this week. A court in Moscow said on April 21 that there were "no grounds" to rule in favor of the plaintiff, Yevgenia Magurina. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [21 April 2017]

Gunman Kills Two People At Russian FSB Office In Khabarovsk
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) says a teenage gunman has killed two people at its regional headquarters in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk. The FSB said the assailant entered the building and opened fire at people in the reception area before going through security control in the April 21 attack, Russian news agencies reported. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [21 April 2017]

Russian Investigators Formally Decide to Ignore Allegations Against PM Medvedev
Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee has formally declined to probe allegations by Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is the mastermind of a multibillion-dollar real-estate scheme. Investigators told the news agency Interfax on Friday that they have no reason to open a case against the prime minister. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [21 April 2017]

Russian citizen charged with desecration of national flag
Investigators have charged Nikita Sadkov, the 31-year old resident of the Moscow Region, with desecration of the Russian state flag and incitement of national hatred, attorney Dmitry Dinze told RAPSI on Friday. According to investigation, on August 15, 2016, Sadkov published on social media an extremist video containing calls aimed at incitement of enmity and hatred against Russian people. A few days after, on August 21, the man set the Russian national flag on fire near the Kremlin.

Source: RAPSI [21 April 2017]

"Mashr" excluded from list of “foreign agents”
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) of Russia has notified the Ingush human rights activist Magomed Mutsolgov about the exclusion of his “Mashr” human rights organization from the register of non-profit organizations (NPOs), performing the functions of a "foreign agent". The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in December 2015, the "Mashr" was included into the register of "foreign agents". A month before, its office and the house of its head Magomed Mutsolgov were searched. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [20 April 2017]

People in Cossack uniform attack Alexei Navalny's election office in Krasnodar
Today, in Krasnodar, people in Cossack uniform threw eggs and flour at participants of the press conference held at the election office of Alexei Navalny. Besides, the attackers also beat Cossack Evgeny Panchuk who spoke in support of Alexei Navalny. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on April 15, Cossack Evgeny Panchuk supported Alexei Navalny and criticized President Vladimir Putin. Evgeny Panchuk has also noted that the Cossacks were asked to cordon off the Alexei Navalny's office in Krasnodar on April 8. After that, Evgeny Panchuk was expelled from the Kuban Cossack Army. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [20 April 2017]

20 April 2017

posted 20 Apr 2017, 22:18 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Apr 2017, 22:39 ]

Russia's Aeroflot airline accused of 'sex discrimination'
Russia's flagship carrier Aeroflot is fighting a legal battle with several of its female flight attendants who say it favours slim and attractive cabin crew. A Moscow court on Tuesday rejected a sex discrimination claim by stewardess Irina Ierusalimskaya. [...]

Source: BBC [20 April 2017]

Russia court outlaws 'extremist' Jehovah's Witnesses
Russia's Supreme Court has accepted the government's request to designate Jehovah's Witnesses as an outlawed religious group, deeming it to be an extremist organisation. The justice ministry argued that the group had distributed pamphlets which incited hatred against other groups. Lawyers representing the group reject the claims and say they will appeal. [...]

Source: BBC [20 April 2017] 

Jehovah's Witnesses refute accusations of financing extremism
Today, at the trial on the liquidation of the Administrative Centre of Jehovah's Witnesses' in Russia as an extremist organization, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has presented documents on the Centre’s finances and stated that money was spent on extremism; however, was not able to justify its assertions. The advocates told about collection of data about the property of ordinary believers. The MoJ has noted, referring to documents, that over 2000 unregistered groups operate under the guidance of the Administrative Centre. The advocates explained that this is the internal spiritual structure of the Centre. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [19 April 2017]

Kremlin Downplays Reports Of Abuse Of Gay Men In Chechnya
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman sought to downplay evidence of a campaign of abuse targeting gay men in Chechnya, saying the Kremlin has "heard no confirmation" of reports that have prompted outrage in the West. Speaking to journalists on April 20, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin has no reason to doubt regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov's assurances that there is no persecution of gays in Chechnya. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [20 April 2017] 

"Free Word" links threats to “Novaya Gazeta” with Akhmednabiyev’s and Estemirova’s cases
Threats to journalists coming from Chechnya after publications about persecutions of members of the LGBT-community in the republic may harbinger of greater misfortune, said Nadezhda Azhgikhina, a member of the “Free Word” Association; and Alisa Ganieva, a member of the Association, has added that they would strengthen the support of the journalists, threatened for their honestly performed professional work. The "Free Word" Association is a group of writers, journalists and bloggers, who act in defence of the freedom of speech," Nadezhda Azhgikhina, who is also a member of the European Federation of Journalists, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [19 April 2017] 

Russia Journalist Forced to Quit Over Facebook Post Slamming Diplomat
The editor of a newspaper in Russia's Far East has been fired for criticizing the Foreign Ministry on Facebook. The editor of “Evening Magadan,” a local paper in the Russian Far East port town Magadan, was forced to quit his job after criticizing the Russian Foreign Ministry on social media. Andrei Grishin says he was forced to resign as the paper’s editor after he spoke out against a speech made by Russian deputy envoy to the UN Vladimir Safronkov on Facebook. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [author Ola Cichowlas; 20 April 2017]

UN Court at the Hague orders Russia to stop persecuting Crimean Tatar Mejlis
The International Court of Justice’s decision on April 19 concerning Ukraine’s suit against Russia may have rejected one request for provisional measures, but its intercession on behalf of Crimean Tatars and other Ukrainians facing persecution in occupied Crimea and its recognition of jurisdiction on both claims made this an important victory for Ukraine. As one Ukrainian official put it, this was 3:1 in Ukraine’s favour. Optimism is not high among victims of discrimination under Russian occupation regarding practical implementation of the provisional measures, but it is undoubtedly important that the Court recognized the repression and the urgent need for preventive measures now. [...]

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [20 April 2017] 

Russia refuses to investigate torture of Ukrainian it jailed in revenge for Euromaidan
Russia’s Supreme Court has rejected two cassation appeals against the overtly lawless imprisonment in Russia of a Ukrainian convicted of an unprovable ‘offence’ allegedly committed in the capital of Ukraine during Euromaidan. It cited the prison’s opinion about Oleksandr Kostenko’s ‘extremist ideology’ for refusing to even accept one of the appeals, and threatened the lawyer who challenged the ongoing refusal to investigate clear evidence that Kostenko was brutally tortured. Kostenko’s lawyer Dmitry Sotnikov just received and posted the two separate court rulings. In one, dated March 29, judge Alexander Klimov refused to even accept a cassation appeal against the 3.5 year sentence passed on Kostenko. He claimed that this was because Kostenko has been on the prison’s ‘prophylactic register’ since March 31, 2016 “as a person studying, preaching or spreading extremist ideology” and from March 26, 2016 as a person likely to try to escape. [...]

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [author: Halya Coynash; 20 April 2017]

Supporter of Navalny treats his exclusion from Cossack Army as unjustified
The Cossack Evgeny Panchuk, who had supported Navalny and was excluded from the registry of the Ekaterinodar District Cossack Society, decided to become a member of another Cossack Society. Panchuk should not support Navalny on behalf of all the Cossacks, his opponents believe. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Panchuk had supported Navalny and criticized President Vladimir Putin. He also said that Cossacks were asked to block the opening of Navalny's office in Krasnodar on April 8. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [19 April 2017]

Darya Polyudova denied CER because of guilt non-recognition
The Leninsky District Court of Novorossiysk has rejected the application for conditional early relief (CER) lodged by the Kuban activist Darya Polyudova, who is serving her tern in the Novorossiysk colony on charges of extremism. Her defence will appeal against the judgement. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in December 2015, the Oktiabrsky District Court of Krasnodar found Polyudova guilty of public calls for separatism and extremism and sentenced her to two years in colony. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [19 April 2017]

"Kommersant": at first interrogation, Dadaev disclosed details of Nemtsov’s murder
During his interrogation, Zaur Dadaev told that he had shot Boris Nemtsov dead from the distance of about five meters. According to his version, this was the fourth meeting with the victim since the start of shadowing the politician, the “Kommersant” writes. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that the prosecution considers Dadaev to be the perpetrator of Nemtsov’s murder. Dadaev gave confessions to investigators, but then rejected them. During his questioning on April 18, Dadaev announced his non-involvement in the murder and said that he had mixed up Nemtsov with the Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [19 April 2017]

19 April 2017

posted 19 Apr 2017, 10:59 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 Apr 2017, 11:01 ]

Russian Journalist, Putin Critic Dies After Severe Beating
A prominent Russian journalist known for articles criticizing Russian government and President Vladimir Putin has died in St. Petersburg after being severely beaten by unknown assailants. Nikolai Andrushchenko, a 73-year-old co-founder of the newspaper Novy Petersburg, was attacked on March 9 and had been unconscious since then. [...]

Source: RFE/RL

Media Regulator Says Twitter Will Comply With Law, Locate User Data In Russia
Russia's media regulator says Twitter has agreed to store some of its users' data inside Russia, a move that would comply with domestic law but stoke further fears about user privacy and surveillance. The agency, known as Roskomnadzor, said on April 19 that Twitter is in the process of determining "what information about Russian citizens and organizations in commercial relations with Twitter in Russia can be stored in the Russian Federation." [...]

Source: RFE/RL [19 April 2017]

Russian FSB Says Two Suspected Militants From Central Asia Killed
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) says its forces have killed two suspected militants from Central Asia in a gunbattle in the Vladimir region, east of Moscow. The FSB said the men, citizens of an unspecified Central Asian country born in 1991 and 1987, were killed after they refused to surrender and fired at officers who confronted them on April 19, Russian news agencies reported. [...]

Source: RFE/RL

Mustafa Dzhemiliev calls on Crimean Tatar political prisoner Ruslan Zeytullaev to end hunger strike
You cannot stir the conscience of those who have none. Primarily for that reason, Mustafa Dzhemiliev, veteran Crimean Tatar leader and former political prisoner, has called on Ruslan Zeytullaev to end his hunger strike. The Crimean Tatar political prisoner has been without food now for 15 days, and after over 2 years of imprisonment in appalling conditions, there are real grounds for concern. [...] 

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [19 April 2017]

Writers call on to investigate threats against journalists voiced in Chechnya
More than 60 writers, translators, and journalists have signed a statement of solidarity with the newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" and the "Echo of Moscow", which received threats from Chechnya in connection with publications about the persecution of members of the LGBT community in the republic. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on April 13, the "Novaya Gazeta" reported that in Chechnya, the adviser to the Chechen leader and theologians openly call for violence against journalists of the newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" after the publication of the materials about the persecution of gays in Chechnya. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [18 April 2017]

Convicts for plotting terror declared political prisoners by HRC "Memorial"
The case of plotting of a terror act in the Moscow "Kyrgyzstan" cinema was fabricated. This was stated by the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial". 15 persons sentenced in the case, including natives of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) and the Southern Federal District (SFD), were recognized by the HRC as political prisoners. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on November 26 and 27, 2013, in Moscow, 15 people were detained, including natives of Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Kalmykia. According to the police, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), weapons and extremist literature were found in an apartment in Moscow where the detainees lived. The court sentenced the defendants to 11-13 years of imprisonment. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [17 April 2017]

Mufti of North Ossetia condemns attacks on Beslan's mothers after they win case at ECtHR
After the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has pronounced its decision on the complaints filed by the victims of the seizure of the Beslan school, people started posting comments in social networks with condemnation of the complainants. Khadjimurat Gatsalov, Mufti of North Ossetia, spoke in support of the mothers of Beslan. The victims voiced their intention to transfer part of their compensation to family members of the people killed in the terror act in the Saint Petersburg metro. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on April 13, the ECtHR recognized the violation of the rights of relatives of the people killed and injured during the seizure of the Beslan school in 2004. 409 complainants were awarded the compensation in the amount of 2,955,000 euros. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [17 April 2017]

18 April 2017

posted 18 Apr 2017, 08:45 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 18 Apr 2017, 09:06 ]

Journalist Semena's Trial Adjourned After Brief Hearing
The trial of Crimean journalist Mykola Semena -- an RFE/RL contributor charged by Crimea's Russian-imposed authorities of writing an article that support separatism -- has been adjourned until May 3 after a brief court session on April 18. One witness who was called by the prosecution actually testified against Semena on April 18. Two other witnesses who had been called by the prosecution failed to appear in court. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [18 April 2017]

Alleged Mastermind Of Plot To Kill Kadyrov Charged In Absentia
Isa Yamadayev, who seven years ago accused Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov of ordering the murders of his brothers Ruslan and Sulim, has been charged in absentia with plotting the revenge killing of Kadyrov, according to the news portal Rosbalt. Kadyrov's own press spokesman had dismissed the initial reports of such a plot as "untrue from beginning to end," and details that subsequently emerged are fragmentary and in some cases contradictory. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [author: Liz Fuller; 18 April 2017]

Social media user receives suspended sentence for calls to separatism
A court in the capital of Russia’s Republic of Buryatia, Ulan-Ude, has given civil society activist Vladimir Khagdayev a 3-year suspended sentence for a post of a separatist nature on Vkontakte social network, attorney Viktor Laperdin told RAPSI on Tuesday. According to investigators, between September 2014 and January 2015, Khagdayev, who had personal beliefs aimed at unification of Mongolian nations in one state, published an image containing quotation from the video interview of a St. Petersburg journalist and two comments. Experts found that the post and comments were pushing for actions aimed at Buryatia’s secession. [...]

Source: RAPSI [18 April 2017]

Russian Math Instructor Faces Criminal Charges for Online Posts He Says He Didn't Write
Dmitry Bogatov faces charges of inciting mass disorder and terrorism in a series of online posts that appear to have been written by someone using Bogatov's IP address through the Tor internet anonymizer, raising questions about the security of Tor and other similar services in Russia. Bogatov, a 25-year-old mathematics instructor and free and open-source software advocate, is accused of “preparing to organize mass disorder” and making “public calls for terrorist activity” via a series of online posts on March 29—posts that multiple Russian news sources are reporting someone else likely made while using Tor with Bogatov’s exit node. [...]
Source: Global Voices [18 April 2017]

Flight Attendants Lose Discrimination Suit Against Russian Airline Aeroflot
A Moscow court has dismissed a discrimination lawsuit against Russian air carrier Aeroflot for reportedly demoting "unattractive" flight attendants. Flight attendant Irina Yerusalimskaya sued Aeroflot for imposing regulations on stewardess' weight, height and clothing size, the TASS news agency reported Tuesday. She demanded that the regulations be abolished and 1 million rubles ($17,840) in compensation, the report said. Several flight attendants came forward with the allegations that Aeroflot had demoted them due to their age or size in February 2017. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [18 April 2017]

Russia's Pobeda Airline Faces Investigation After Refusing Disabled Passenger
Russian budget airline Pobeda is under investigation after refusing to let a disabled child and his mother board a flight in Moscow. The two-year-old boy, who has cerebral palsy, was barred from a flight to the Russian city of Yekaterinburg from Moscow’s Vnukovo airport on April 14. Pobeda employees told the child’s mother that the airline had to be informed in advance before “transporting a child with a serious illness.”  The company has since said that the decision was made due to “a malfunction with passenger data" and that the woman and her son were offered an alternative flight departing the next day. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [18 April 2017]

Crimean Tatar political prisoner punished in Russia for refusal to act as informer
Rustem Vaitov has spent 45 days of the last 2 months in a Russian prison punishment cell, with the three 15-day sentences clearly due to his refusal to collaborate with the prison administration by spying and informing on other prisoners. The information first became available when his lawyer Edem Semedlyaev was able to visit him at the Kurgan prison colony at the end of March, and has now been confirmed by the local monitoring group who saw him on April 6. It seems likely that the other two political prisoners – Ferat Saifullaev and Nuri Primov – moved to Russian prisons at the same time have received similar treatment. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [18 April 2017]

17 April 2017

posted 17 Apr 2017, 14:08 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 17 Apr 2017, 14:27 ]

Russian journalist flees Moscow following threats
Russian authorities should immediately and thoroughly investigate threats made against Elena Milashina, an investigative journalist for the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and a former correspondent for the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ said today. In an April 15 interview with The Washington Post, Milashina said that she left Moscow following threats to Novaya Gazeta's staff since she reported earlier this month that gay men were being detained and tortured in Chechnya. [...]
Source: Committee to Protect Journalists [17 April 2017]

Chechnya Opens Investigation Into Kidnappings, Murders of Gays

The regional prosecutor's office in Chechnya will investigate reports that local authorities are carrying out mass arrests of suspected gay men in the North Caucasian republic. The Chechen prosecutor launched the investigation after the Novaya Gazeta newspaper published its shocking report on anti-gay repressions, Russia's State Prosecutor's office told the RIA Novosti news agency. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [17 April 2017]

Russian Theaters Could Face Fines For 'Offended Feelings'

Russian theaters and museums could soon face fines for failing to “protect visitors' feelings” at controversial exhibitions. New proposals to protect Russia's “high moral values” could be submitted to Russia's parliament for approval within a few months, Russian tabloid Izvestia reported Monday. The legislation has already been marked as a secular extension of Russia's existing legislation to “protect the feelings of religious believers.” [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [17 April 2017]

Networks to Stop Capitalizing on ‘Raped Girls’
Russian federal investigators say the country’s mass media is making matters worse by devoting so much coverage and attention to child victims of rape and other violent crimes. On Monday, a senior advisor to the chairman of the Investigative Committee called for tougher controls on the media, when it comes to stories about minors targeted in serious crimes. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [17 April 2017]

President Putin introduces penalties for evidence forgery in administrative cases
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law introducing criminal punishment for falsification of evidence in administrative cases, the official website of legal information reads on Monday. The State Duma, the lower house of parliament, adopted the bill in the third and final reading on April 5. The Federation Council approved the initiative on April 14. [...]
Source: RAPSI [17 April 2017]

Ruslan Zeitullaev rejects forced feeding, his advocate reports
Ruslan Zeitullaev, a defendant in the case of a "Hizb ut-Tahrir" unit, intends to continue his hunger strike at the SIZO (pre-trial prison) in Rostov-on-Don until all his demands are met. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on February 13, in Rostov-on-Don, a second trial began in the case of Ruslan Zeitullaev, who was charged with creating in Crimea a cell of the terrorist organization "Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami", banned in Russia by court. On April 4, Ruslan Zeitullaev declared on a hunger strike in the courtroom of the North-Caucasian District Military Court. The defendant demands to stop the persecution of Crimean Tatars, to cancel the verdicts to Ferat Saifullaev, Rustem Vaitov, and Nuri Primov, found guilty of involvement in the terrorist organization "Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami", and to extradite all four men to Ukraine. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [15 April 2017]

Two ecologists detained in Krasnodar
Oleg Desyatov, an activist of the "Ecological Watch for Northern Caucasus" (EcoWatch), and a female volunteer of the "Greenpeace" were detained during a search carried out on April 14 in an apartment of Pavel Suganeev, a resident of Krasnodar and a member of the "EcoWatch". This was reported by Alexei Avanesyan, an advocate of Pavel Suganeyev. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in the morning of April 14, Andrei Rudomakha, a coordinator of the "EcoWatch", reported that the police were carrying out a search in an apartment of one of the members of the "EcoWatch" in Krasnodar. Dmitry Shevchenko, the deputy coordinator of the "EcoWatch", associates the search with the case of defamation with regard to Alexander Remezkov, the former Deputy Governor of Kuban. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [15 April 2017]

14 April 2017

posted 14 Apr 2017, 09:49 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Apr 2017, 09:50 ]

Russian Newspaper Seeks Kremlin Help After Angry Chechen Reaction To Report
The renowned Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta appealed to the Kremlin for protection, after religious leaders in Chechnya called for retribution for an explosive article on gay men. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, meanwhile, said April 14 that critics of Novaya Gazeta and its reporting should take their complaints to Russian courts and avoid violence. Earlier this month, the newspaper published a story saying that Chechen authorities had rounded up over 100 gay men or men suspected of being gay and tortured them. Тhe paper said at least three of them had been killed. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied the allegations and his spokesman called the report "an absolute lie," saying there were no gay men in Chechnya at all. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [14 April 2017]

Russia Rejects Ban on Foreign Homes for Politicians
The Russian parliament’s anti-corruption committee has rejected a new bill that would have banned politicians and their families from owning property abroad. According to lawmakers, the proposal would have undermined the constitutionally enshrined right to own property, the news site reported. “Our existing anti-corruption legislation is already sufficient,” said the committee's deputy chairman, Anatoly Vyborny. “We have adopted a number of restrictions, they are quite effective, and there is no reason to expand on them,” he said. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [14 April 2017]

Batons & gunshots in new arrests of Crimean Tatars in occupied Crimea
Two Crimean Tatars have been jailed in Russian-occupied Crimea for so-called ‘propaganda of extremism’ after armed and masked men turned up at their homes early on April 13. Five other men, two middle-aged men with serious health problems were also detained, some beaten and four of them later jailed for up to 7 days. An official police report claimed that this had been ‘scheduled measures aimed at identifying and detaining individuals involved in an organization banned in Russia. Literature of an extremist nature is removed”. Whether the reported use of force against the detained men, and the firing of warning shots into the end were also ‘scheduled’ was not revealed. There is nothing to suggest that such measures were warranted. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [author: Halya Coynash; 14 April 2017]

Sentence of Russian nationalist Potkin reduced by 4 years
The Moscow City Court has reduced a prison term given to Russian nationalist Alexander Potkin for embezzlement and organization of an extremist movement from 7.5 to 3.5 years, the court’s press office told RAPSI on Friday. In August 2016, the Meshchansky District Court of Moscow sentenced Potkin to 7.5 years in prison and fined him 600,000 rubles ($9,700). Moreover, the court granted a 4.9 billion-ruble lawsuit ($79.3 million) filed by the injured party against Potkin. He has appealed the ruling. [...]
Source: RAPSI [14 April 2017]

Victims of terror act in Beslan treat compensation awarded by ECtHR as symbolic
The decision pronounced by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in favour of relatives of the victims of the Beslan terror act is a victory. However, the awarded compensations will not be tangible for the state and will remain symbolic amounts. This opinion was voiced by Ella Kesaeva, the leader of the "Voice of Beslan". The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that today, it has become known that the ECtHR has recognized the violation of the rights of relatives of the people killed and injured in the seizure of the Beslan school in 2004 and awarded 409 complainants the compensation in the amount of 2,955,000 million euros and 88,000 euros to recover court costs. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [13 April 2017]

Activists of "Adyge Khase" claim pressure from law enforcers
Members of the Maikop organization "Adyge Khase-Circassian Council" have been summoned for questioning to the Centre for Combating Extremism (CCE) in connection with the complaint filed by the Mufti of Adygea, who demanded to bring ecologist Valery Brinikh to justice. According to the activists, the complaint against Valery Brinikh, who reported the theft of the sacrificial sheep, was a formal reason to put pressure on them. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in his complaint, Askarbiy Kardanov, Mufti of the Krasnodar Territory and Adygea, demanded to bring Valery Brinikh to responsibility for insulting the religious feelings of Muslims. The Muftiate treats as insulting the publications and claims voiced by the ecologist about the theft of sheep donated by Ramzan Kadyrov to the poor in Adygea. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [13 April 2017]

13 April 2017

posted 13 Apr 2017, 13:39 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Apr 2017, 13:39 ]

Beslan school siege: Russia 'failed' in 2004 massacre
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia failed to protect the hostages of the Beslan school siege in which about 330 people died in 2004. In the siege, Chechen rebels took more than 1,000 hostages, mostly children. The operation by Russian forces to end it used disproportionate force, the court added. It also said that officials knew an attack was imminent but did not act. Russia said the ruling was "utterly unacceptable" and that it would appeal. [...]
Source: BBC [13 April 2017]

Chechens tell of prison beatings and electric shocks in anti-gay purge: ‘They called us animals’
Up to several hundred gay men are feared to have been rounded up and some killed in ultra-conservative Russian republic
At least once a day, Adam’s captors attached metal clamps to his fingers and toes. One of the men then cranked a handle on a machine to which the clamps were linked with wires, and sent powerful electric shocks through his body. If he managed not to scream, others would join in, beating him with wooden sticks or metal rods. As they tortured him, the men shouted verbal abuse at him for being gay, and demanded to know the names of other gay men he knew in Chechnya. “Sometimes they were trying to get information from me; other times they were just amusing themselves,” he said, speaking about the ordeal he underwent just a month ago with some difficulty. Adam’s testimony, as well as that of another gay Chechen man with whom the Guardian spoke, backs up reports that a shocking anti-gay campaign is under way in the Russian republic of Chechnya, involving over a hundred and possibly several hundred men. Some are believed to have been killed. Adam was held in an informal detention facility with more than a dozen other gay men, who were all subjected to torture on a daily basis. A similar “mop-up” campaign by governmental security forces took place in towns across the republic. [...]
Source: The Guardian [author: Shaun Walker; 13 April 2017]

UN Experts, OSCE Demand End To Persecution Of Gays In Chechnya
United Nations human rights experts and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are demanding urgent action from Russian authorities to end the persecution of men perceived to be gay in the Russian region of Chechnya and to "thoroughly" investigate reports of abuse. The calls on April 13 come after Russian media -- including the respected Novaya Gazeta newspaper -- and human rights organizations reported earlier this month that homosexuals in Chechnya are being “rounded up” and taken to “concentration camps.” Up to 100 men are reported to be held in the camps, with at least three having died there. The authorities in Chechnya have denied the reports. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [13 April 2017]

After Metro Blast, Racial Profiling Is on the Rise in Russia
The St. Petersburg terror attack is drawing attention to a long-standing problem in Russia: racial profiling
It had never happened before. David, a 23-year-old Muscovite, was walking through an underground crossing in central Moscow when two police officers stopped him. On the spot, they checked his documents, looked into his backpack and inspected his large winter coat. Then they let him go. The police were polite, says David, but the reason for the stop was clear. Just days earlier, a 22-year-old Islamic terrorist had set off a bomb in St. Petersburg’s metro, killing 14 people and injuring dozens of others. Security was heightened across the country, and police were actively targeting Muslims from Russia’s North Caucasus region and Central Asia. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [13 April 2017]

Russian Politician Suffers Heart Attack After Police Saw Through His Front Door
Opposition politician Vyacheslav Maltsev reportedly suffered a heart attack on Thursday, after police sawed through his apartment door in Saratov and arrested him in front of his family. Maltsev, who live-streamed the incident from his phone, was a State Duma candidate in Russia's parliamentary elections last year, running on the ticket of the liberal opposition party PARNAS. The 52-year-old suffered a heart attack while police escorted him from his home to the Saratov airport, where he was supposed to board a plane for Moscow, where he'd be interrogated, according to the website Meduza. He eventually boarded the plane on a stretcher. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [13 March 2017]

Crimean Tatar placed on Russia’s List of Extremists & Deprived of Pension for Calling Crimea Ukraine
Suleiman Kadyrov has become the latest Ukrainian to be added to Russia’s ‘List of Terrorists and Extremists’ for openly calling Crimea part of Ukraine. The 54-year-old retired policeman faces a 5-year prison sentence for what Russia is calling ‘public calls to activities aimed at violating Russia’s territorial integrity’. As with analogous prosecutions, Russia has ignored the presumption of innocence and labelled Kadyrov an ‘extremist’, with this meaning that his bank accounts are frozen and he cannot receive his pension.  The civic activist and member of the Feodosia Mejlis, or self-governing body, explained to Krym.Realii that the criminal proceedings against him are over a post on a social network “Crimea is Ukraine”. There were no grounds for blocking his pension which is his sole income and needed to look after a family of four, including his 10-year-old daughter and elderly mother. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [author: Halya Coynash; 13 April 2017]

12 April 2017

posted 12 Apr 2017, 11:52 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Apr 2017, 11:56 ]

St. Petersburg Subway Bombing Death Toll Rises To 15
The death toll in an April 3 bomb blast on a subway train in the Russian city of St. Petersburg has risen to 15. St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Anna Mityanina said on April 12 that one of the people who was injured in the blast has died in the hospital. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [12 April 2017]

Putin Says Some Russians Might Lose Citizenship For Joining IS Militants
Russian President Vladimir Putin says some Russians might lose citizenship for joining the so-called Islamic state (IS) group. Putin, in an interview with the Mir media company published on April 12, said Russia does not intend to act in the same way as Kazakhstan, which is considering stripping suspected IS members of Kazakh citizenship. Putin said the Russian Constitution does not provide for Russians being stripped of their citizenship, but suggested that naturalized Russian citizens might lose the citizenship if they join IS. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [12 April 2017]

State Duma ratifies protocol over ECHR subsidiarity
The State Duma has ratified the protocol №. 15, introducing changes to the European Convention on Human Rights and modifying the role of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). New changes indicate that the court has a subsidiary role in relation to national courts and that governments have certain freedoms when it comes to implementation of the Convention on a national level. [...]
Source: RAPSI [12 April 2017]

Three men shot dead in shootout with power agents in Dagestan
Employees of the FSB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) were shelled in the Kumtorkalin District of Dagestan, when they tried to stop a car for inspection; three attackers were killed, the National Antiterrorism Committee (NAC) has reported, adding that the incident has occurred today at 9:25 p.m. The driver and the passengers opened automatic fire and tried to escape. "As a result of the shootout, the car caught fire, and the three men inside received wounds incompatible with life," says the NAC’s statement. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [11 April 2017]

Relatives announce disappearance of Malgobek resident
Magomed Kartoev, a resident of Malgobek, who complained about pressure from power agents, has disappeared while trying to leave Russia, his relatives have reported. Magomed Multsogov, the head of the human rights organization “Mashr”, has linked Kartoev's disappearance with a criminal case against his cousin. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on February 9, relatives of Mikail Kartoev, a resident of Malgobek, turned to the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" and reported that power agents had detained Mikail and took him to some unknown place. According to relatives, during a search, power agents planted a grenade into his pocket. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [11 April 2017]

Georgian citizen sentenced in Russia for posting a video about IS in social networks
In Vladimir, the court has found Ramin Aliev, a citizen of Georgia, guilty of disseminating a video record with calls for terrorism and sentenced him to two years of imprisonment. According to the Prosecutor's Office, in 2013, Ramin Aliev came to the Vladimir Region in search for work. In 2015, on his social network page, he published a video record, which, according to experts, contained calls for terrorism, destruction of "non-Muslims", entry to the terrorist organization "Islamic State" (IS) banned in Russia by the court, and violence against officials of Tajikistan. This was reported by the Prosecutor's Office. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [11 April 2017]

11 April 2017

posted 11 Apr 2017, 10:22 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 11 Apr 2017, 10:39 ]

Bill expanding powers of police officers reaches State Duma
A bill expanding powers of police officers has been submitted to the State Duma, the database of the lower house of parliament reads on Tuesday. According to the bill, police officers will be able to use firearms to prevent terror attacks, liberate hostages, repeal attacks at critically important and potentially dangerous objects as well as administrative government buildings if such use does not present a danger to life and health of persons not involved in the criminal activity. [...]

Source: RAPSI [11 April 2017]

Russian imam charged with justifying terrorism pleads not guilty
Moscow imam Makhmud Velitov pleaded not guilty to justifying terrorism, RAPSI reports from the Moscow District Military Court on Tuesday. Lawyer Dagir Khasavov told RAPSI earlier that he was going to call high-ranking religious figures of Islam as witnesses in this case and to conduct an additional complex psychological-linguistic examination. He added that none of the books seized from Yardam mosque and the imam’s home contained signs of extremism. [...]

Source: RAPSI [11 April 2017]

Russia Blocks Walkie-Talkie App Zello As Truckers Strike
Russia's media regulator announced plans on Monday to block Zello, a mobile push-to-talk app that Russia's long-haul truckers have used to organize protests in recent months—including to coordinate an ongoing three-week strike. Roskomnadzor, the authority responsible for monitoring and censoring Russian media, posted a public announcement about the move in which it charged that the makers of the unencrypted walkie-talkie app had failed to submit company information necessary to be included in a federal registry by its deadline. Roskomnadzor said Zello had been asked to provide the information on the basis of a request from a “federal executive body,” which the news website TJournal identified as the Federal Security Service (FSB). [...] 

Source: Global Voices [10 April 2017]

Authorities and truckers report provocations around protests in Dagestan
In Dagestan, there are people who, at the background of truckers’ protests, are engaged in staging professional provocations, Ramazan Jafarov, the Deputy Prime Minister, said on April 9 claims. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on March 27, Russian truck drivers resumed mass protests. They demand to abolish the transport tax, reduce fuel excises and cancel the "Platon" system introduced to collect tolls from drivers of heavy trucks on federal roads. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [10 April 2017]

In April 3-9, two persons fell victim to armed conflict in Northern Caucasus
During the week of April 3-9, 2017, in the armed conflict in Northern Caucasus, two people perished; no information about any wounded was received. These are the results of the calculations run by the "Caucasian Knot" based on its own materials and information from other open sources. Both casualties were employees of power structures of Ingushetia. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [10 April 2017]

"Radio Liberty" reports about secret gay prison in Chechen village of Tsotsi-Yurt
In Chechnya, homosexuals are kept in at least two secret prisons after being detained, the "Radio Liberty" reports with reference to its sources. The "Caucasian Knot" has informed that on April 1, the newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" reported about mass detentions in Chechnya of men suspected of unconventional sexual orientation. Later, the newspaper has reported with reference to gays persecuted in Chechnya that in Argun, a "secret prison" was organized for people with unconventional sexual orientation. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [10 April 2017]

10 April 2017

posted 10 Apr 2017, 11:50 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Apr 2017, 12:05 ]

Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Released From Jail
Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has been released from jail after serving a 15-day sentence in connection with anticorruption demonstrations he organized that jolted the country’s political life. Navalny’s release from custody on April 10 followed his arrest last month near the site of the March 26 demonstration in Moscow, one of the largest antigovernment street protests since a series of rallies in 2011-2012 that he also helped lead. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [10 April 2017]

Russian Bill Sharply Restricting Social Media Use Is Submitted To Duma

A bill that would bar children under 14 from social networks and place other restrictions on Internet use has been submitted to Russia's parliament, but a lukewarm reception from the Kremlin appeared to cloud its prospects for passage. Controversial State Duma deputy Vitaly Milonov's draft law, submitted to the lower house on April 10, would require users accessing social networks to present identification documents in order to prove their age. It would also bar the use of social media to organize public gatherings that are not sanctioned by the authorities and propose a ban on the use of social media at state companies and offices. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [10 April 2017]

Russia turns to closed courts for political prisoners in occupied Crimea
Courts in Russian-occupied Crimea have now begun banning relatives and friends from attending court hearings – the only chance many have of seeing the imprisoned men. Most incredibly, the FSB has now told a court that the men should remain in custody as they are recognized internationally as political prisoners! 
Courts in Russian-occupied Crimea have now twice refused to allow relatives and friends into court hearings on extending the effectively indefinite detention of men held prisoner on fundamentally flawed charges. The move is at very least brutal, since these hearings are often the only opportunity for wives, parents, and sometimes children to see the men. Questions must, however, also arise as to what the courts are trying to hide. Some of the prisoners have spoken at previous hearings about both the political nature of the proceedings, and about the torture methods used against them. At closed court hearings on the detention of 6 men from Yalta on April 6, and of 4 men from Bakhchysarai on April 9, all objections from the defence were rejected and the terms of detention extended. As at previous – open – hearings, the prosecution could find no convincing reason for the men’s detention but this was ignored by the court. Lawyer Emil Kurbedinov reports one extraordinary addition to the ‘arguments’ presented on April 9. The FSB produced material demonstrating that the men are considered political prisoners by Ukraine and the international community. You might have hoped that this could serve as grounds for reflection, but that was not to be. The material was presented as ‘proof’ that the men should not be released, because they “will be helped to escape”, with this meekly accepted by the court. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [10 April 2017]

LGBT activists treat persecution of gays in Chechnya as crime against humanity
According to human rights defender Igor Kochetkov, an LGBT activist, the situation with the persecution of gays in Chechnya should be investigated by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, since it is a crime against humanity. Not only gays but also heterosexual men who are suspected of homosexuality on the ground of facetious correspondences in social networks are being tortured, the activists assert. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [8 April 2017]

Two policemen killed in Ingushetia
Two inspectors of the road-and-patrol service (known as DPS) were killed after a police patrol car was shelled from automatic weapons in Malgobek. This was reported by the Department for Ingushetia of the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF). According to the ICRF's Ingush Department, today, at about 1:30 a.m. Moscow time, "in Promyshlennaya Street in Malgobek, unidentified people fired many shots from firearm automatic weapons to two DPS inspectors, who were travelling in their police service car." [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [8 April 2017]

Experts see no extremism in statements of Jehovah's Witnesses about truth of their religion
Members of many religious movements express their conviction of the uniqueness of their doctrines. This opinion was voiced by members of human rights organizations and religious scholars questioned by the "Caucasian Knot". They have questioned the validity of the claim under the consideration at the Supreme Court (SC) of Russia concerning the liquidation of the management centre of Jehovah's Witnesses. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [8 April 2017]

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