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22 September 2017

posted 22 Sep 2017, 14:43 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 22 Sep 2017, 14:43 ]

Semena Says Verdict 'Great Detriment To Russian Journalism'
A court in Russia-occupied Crimea found RFE/RL contributor Mykola Semena guilty on a charge of separatism and handed him a 2 1/2 year suspended sentence on September 22. According to the prosecutor, Semena had called for the violation of Russia's territory integrity in his writing. Outside the court in Simferopol, Semena told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service that the Russian law under which he was sentenced presents a threat to journalism in Russia. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [22 September 2017]

Some 3,500 Navalny Supporters Rally In Novosibirsk
Some 3,500 supporters attended a rally by Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny in Novosibirsk on September 22. The city authorities sanctioned the rally that took place in the Siberian city's park on the bank of the Ob river. Navalny, who talked at the rally about the need to have an independent judicial system, increased wages and educational expenses, later expressed his gratitudeon his website to all who attended his gathering. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [22 September 2017]

Stalin, Lenin Busts Unveiled On Moscow's Alley Of Rulers
Busts of the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and the founder of the Soviet Union Vladimir Lenin have been unveiled in downtown Moscow. In all, seven busts of Soviet leaders, also including Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev, Yury Andropov, Konstantin Chernenko, and Mikhail Gorbachev, were unveiled on Moscow's so-called Alley of Rulers on September 22. A woman held a one-person protest in front of the busts on September 22, holding a poster with verses of Russian poet Anna Akhmatova titled To Stalin's Defenders, condemning Stalin's regime. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [22 September 2017]

Russian Woman Loses Custody of Children After Breast Surgery
A mother in the city of Yekaterinburg has lost custody of two children because of suspicions that she was planning a sex change after undergoing breast reduction surgery. Social workers took away Yulia Savinovskikh’s two foster sons in late August, she wrote on Facebook this week. They cited her “illegal surgery” and pointed to her social media posts as evidence she was planning to undergo the surgery. In a Facebook post published on Wednesday, Savinovskikh defended having her breast size reduced, saying it would make it easier for her to do physical exercise with her children and dog. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [22 September 2017]

Russian lawyer asks Electoral Commission to implement ECHR ruling on prisoner voting
Igor Trunov has filed a claim on alleged violation of electoral rights with Russia’s Central Elections Commission asking it to implement the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) ruling on convicts’ right to vote, the lawyer’s statement available to RAPSI reads on Friday. Trunov represented interests of claimants in Yartsev v. Russia case in ECHR. According to the court’s ruling, prohibition for convicts to vote, written down in the Russian Constitution, is automatic and non-selective, contradicting the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols. The Court proposed Russia to allow participation of convicts in elections by political action or new reading of the Constitution. [...]

Source: RAPSI [22 September 2017]

Prosecutors reveal 37,000 violations related to prison labor
Over 37,000 violations in the sphere of prison labor have been revealed in Russia since 2015, the Prosecutor General’s Office stated on Friday. The Prosecutor General’s Office held a panel discussion on status of prosecutor supervision over penitentiary administrations and the implementation of labor legislation. According to prosecutors, some violations of laws regulating prisoners’ labor were ended due to intervention. Numerous violations were made possible due to lack of control over employees by central offices of the Federal Penitentiary Service. [...]
Source: RAPSI [22 September 2017]

Policemen with a detainee blown up on a mine in Chechnya
In the forest near the village of Vedeno, policemen with a militant detained a year ago were blown up on a mine. As a result, the detainee was killed, and the law enforcers were hospitalized. This was reported by a source from the law enforcement agencies. According to the source, the incident occurred in the Vedeno District in the evening on September 21. The policemen repeatedly combed the forest near Vedeno with a man detained a year ago, suspected of involvement in the militants' activities. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [22 September 2017]

BBC: relatives of missing Chechen residents not allowed complaining to Ombudsperson
On the eve of the arrival of Tatiana Moskalkova, Russia’s Ombudsperson, relatives of Chechen residents from the "execution list" received threats from law enforcers, the BBC reports citing the relatives. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that today Ms Moskalkova has stated that three persons from the "execution list" had perished after fighting in Chechnya; two others died a natural death. According to her, the list contains 31 persons in total. According to the BBC, on the eve of Moskalkova's visit, relatives of the missing people were told that "an inspection is coming from Moscow, don’t try to contact them; and if they want to contact you and you tell them something, it will be bad for you." [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [22 September 2017]

21 September 2017

posted 21 Sep 2017, 12:57 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 21 Sep 2017, 12:57 ]

Christian State Extremist Group's Leader in Russia Detained
The leader of a Russian extremist group that calls itself Christian State-Holy Rus has been detained as a suspect in a high-profile arson attack. Interior Ministry spokeswoman Irina Volk said on September 21 that Aleksandr Kalinin was detained on September 20 as a suspect in the September 11 arson attack on cars outside the Moscow office of lawyers for the director of Matilda, a film that has drawn sharp criticism from radical Russian Orthodox and monarchist fringe groups. Earlier, on September 20, Volk said three men suspected in the attack had been detained. She did not give any names. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [21 September 2017]

Several Tajik Migrants Detained In Moscow After Protest Over Beating
Moscow police detained a large number of migrant workers from Tajikistan who protested following what an advocate for migrants said was the severe beating of a Tajik man by security personnel at a shopping mall. The president of the Migrants’ Federation in Russia, Karomat Sharipov, told media outlets in Russia that the incident took place at Moskva shopping mall in the southeastern Lyublino district on September 20. Moscow police officials said on September 21 that more than 90 people were detained "after a conflict between migrants and a shopping mall's security personnel." Sharipov said that about 250 people were detained. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [21 September 2o17]

In Russia, It's a Woman's Job to Challenge Soviet-Era Labor Laws
It took Svetlana Medvedeva five years to fight for her right to become a captain
In Soviet propaganda posters, women feature alongside men as powerful and resolute workers. Forward-looking and muscular, they are portrayed as heroines of the proletariat. It was women workers who in February 1917 started a protest that would evolve into the Russian Revolution. Today, Russia’s labor legislation is among the most stagnant in the world with women barred from hundreds of professions. Svetlana Medvedeva had just landed her dream job in 2012 as a captain with a shipping company in southern Russia when it revoked the offer because of her gender. But Medvedeva contested the move and after a five-year legal battle, won a landmark court case for discrimination this month. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [20 September 2017]

More Than 16 Mln Russians Are Breathing Polluted Air
More than 16 million residents of Russia’s largest cities are breathing polluted air, an annual Natural Resources and Environment Ministry report cited by the Kommersant daily on Thursday suggests. Russia’s fledgling post-Soviet environmental protection movement has been hampered in recent years by corruption, lax enforcement of laws and a crackdown on advocacy groups. Russia ranked 32 out of 180 countries in the 2016 environmental performance index compiled by Yale University. The Environment Ministry’s report estimates that 16.4 million people, or 15 percent of Russia’s urban population, are exposed to air pollution. More than three-quarters of city dwellers in the Siberian regions of Buryatia, Khabarovsk and Taimyr are vulnerable to high levels of air pollution, according to the report. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [21 September 2017]

Moscow Officials Tally Racist Football Attacks Ahead of World Cup
Nearly 100 cases of racism have been recorded between 2014 and 2016 at football stadiums across Moscow, the Russian capital’s chief human rights ombudswoman said Thursday. International football and UN officials have voiced concerns over Russia’s efforts to combat racism as the country prepares to host the 2018 World Cup. Moscow-based racism-monitoring group Sova Center recorded more than 200 acts of racism committed by Russian fans between 2012 and 2014. Moscow human rights ombudswoman Tatyana Potyayeva told reporters on Thursday that 21 of the recorded 99 acts of racism, discrimination and xenophobia constituted a “real attack." 
Source: The Moscow Times [21 September 2017]

Russian Media Reports 3 Deaths in Syria, Including Russian Soldier
At least one Russian soldier died in an ambush in Syria last week, a Siberian news outlet reported late on Wednesday. An estimated 36 Russian servicemen have died since Moscow launched its campaign in Syria in late September 2015, according to a tally by Kommersant based on official figures. But a Reuters report last month said that at least 40 Russians have died fighting in Syria this year alone, a claim which the Russian Defense Ministry denies. Vladimir Tarasyuk, a resident of the city of Bratsk in the Irkutsk region, was ambushed upon returning to a military base on the morning of Sept. 16, his sister told the website. He died from a shrapnel wound, she said. The report also claimed an unnamed colonel and a general had died in the attack. It was unclear whether they were Russian citizens. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [21 September 2017]

Russian Supreme Court overturns convictions of 31 persons in 2017
The Supreme Court of Russia overturned convictions of 31 persons in the first 6 months of this year, the statistics report published on the court’s website reads on Thursday. According to the review, the appellate instance overturned convictions of 22 persons, the cassation one overturned 6 convictions and 3 more were overturned during supervisory reviews. Most of the time, criminal cases were sent for retrials. Statistical data showed that in the first half of 2017, the Supreme Court registered 568 administrative lawsuits and appeals. The court’s judges ruled in favor of 13 out of 82 applicants challenging judicial acts. Seven applications were related to liquidation of NGOs, political parties, religious and civil organizations as well as media. The court granted all seven appeals. [...]

Source: RAPSI [21 September 2017]

Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov’s powerful final words in surreal proceedings where ‘traitors put patriots on trial’
Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov has ended his final address to a de facto court under Russian occupation by suggesting that they will all meet again at the international courts at the Hague. These are no empty words. Russia has not only violated international law through its invasion and annexation of Crimea, but has also unleashed unprecedented repression, including through such politically motivated trials as that of Umerov.  Two trials are ending at the moment, with both Umerov and Ukrainian journalist Mykola Semena charged, most insanely, with “public calls to action aimed at violating Russia’s territorial integrity”. In both cases, the charges are based solely on the men’s expressed opinion, which, as Umerov points out, is in full accordance with that of all international structures and the civilized world. Both have used the same so-called ‘linguist’ working for the Russian FSB – Olga Nikolaevna Ivanova – who has taken part in gross distortion and / or falsification in order to come up with non-existent ‘public calls’.

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [21 September 2017]

ECtHR refuses to reconsider case of journalists beaten in Ingushetia
Judges from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) have refused to send for reconsideration the case of beating in Ingushetia of rights defender Oleg Orlov and three journalists. Russia is obliged to pay 84,000 euros of compensation to the complainants. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on November 23, 2007, in Nazran, rights defender Oleg Orlov and Karen Sakhinov, Artyom Vysotsky, and Stanislav Goryachikh, journalists of the "Ren TV" TV Channel, were kidnapped and beaten. The kidnappers took away their documents, mobile phones, laptops, and video equipment and threatened to shoot and killed them. Oleg Orlov believes the kidnapping was committed by law enforcers. On March 14, the ECtHR found the Russian authorities responsible for violating the complainants' rights and obliged to pay them compensation amounting to 84,000 euros, including 19,500 euros for moral damage to each complainant. [...]

Source:  Caucasian Knot [20 September] 

Moskalkova reports about inquiry into disappearances in Chechnya
Chechen investigating bodies have opened criminal cases on disappearance of 18 persons, Tatiana Moskalkova, the Russia’s Ombudsperson, has stated. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Ms Moskalkova received appeals from residents of Chechnya, whose names were listed in publications of the “Novaya Gazeta” about extrajudicial executions and persecutions of LGBTs in Chechnya. The Ombudsperson decided to personally visit the republic and talk with law enforcers and rights defenders. In Grozny, Moskalkova announced her intention to meet two residents of Chechnya, who were mentioned in the newspaper's articles as dead, but, according to law enforcers, are alive. "There are criminal cases here, but not on all of them – on 18 persons out of 31 on the list," the TASS quotes Tatiana Moskalkova as saying. She has noted that on two persons from the list there was information that they had died a natural death. "Two are alive, they promised to come if invited," she has added. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [20 September 2017]

20 September 2017

posted 20 Sep 2017, 14:12 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Sep 2017, 14:13 ]

Russian Prosecutor Seeks Suspended Sentence For Crimean Tatar Leader
A Russian prosecutor in Crimea has recommended a suspended sentence for Ilmi Umerov, a Crimean Tatar leader and doctor who has criticized Russia's seizure of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine. At a September 20 hearing in Umerov's trial, the prosecutor asked the court to find him guilty and hand him a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence, meaning he would not be imprisoned unless he violates the terms of the ruling. The prosecutor also recommended that Umerov, 60, be barred from public activities and teaching medicine for a three-year period. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [20 September 2017]

Russian Sent To Psychiatric Clinic After Calling For 'Separate Republic' In Siberia
A court in Siberia has ordered a local man to be committed to a psychiatric clinic after he publicly called for the creation of an independent republic comprising the Asian part of Russia. The prosecutor's office in the Irkutsk Oblast city of Angarsk said on September 20 that the man, whose name was not disclosed, was found guilty of making "public calls for actions aimed at violating the Russian Federation's territorial integrity." However, it said, the court ruled that he was not responsible for his actions by reason of insanity. It said the man was forcibly sent to a psychiatric clinic for treatment. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [20 September 2017]

Russian Sketch-Comedy Caved to State Censorship, Says Former Writer
A former editor and actor in Russia’s leading humor television show revealed in a Sept. 11 Youtube interview that the show’s content passes through several rounds of censors before being broadcasted. Since it first aired in the Soviet Union, the KVN comedy game show has been broadcast on state-run Channel 1, Russia’s most popular TV network, whose shares are divided between the Russian government and businessmen loyal to the Kremlin. In an interview on the Youtube channel Wanna Banana, award-winning comedian Dmitry Kolchin described numerous instances when the show’s content was cut or filtered by Channel One editors. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [20 September 2017]

Tatiana Moskalkova announces her intention to meet alleged gays in Chechnya
According to the law enforcement agencies, two residents of Chechnya, mentioned in the publications of the newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" as dead, are alive. This has been reported by Tatiana Moskalkova, Russia's Commissioner for Human Rights, during her trip to Grozny. Tatiana Moskalkova intends to meet them. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Tatiana Moskalkova decided to talk personally with Chechen law enforcers and rights defenders during her visit to the region[...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [20 September 2017]

Batmanov added to the list of journalists persecuted in Russia
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has added the Volgograd journalist Alexander Batmanov to the list of his other four colleagues persecuted for their professional activities. Earlier, Temur Kobaliya, the head of the Volgograd Human Rights Council and of the non-profit organization "NKO-TV", reported that on June 24, Alexander Batmanov, who had been detained for an alleged theft of some foodstuffs from a store, jumped out of the window of the police station and broke his legs. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [19 September 2017]

ECtHR refuses to reconsider its decision on Beslan terror act
The Judges of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) have refused to send the case on the capture of hostages in the Beslan School for reconsideration. Thus, Russia is obliged to pay over 2.9 million euros of compensation to the applicants. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on April 13, the ECtHR found the violation of the rights of relatives of those killed and injured at the capture of the Beslan School in 2004, and awarded 409 applicants with the compensation in the amount of 2,955 million euros, and another 88,000 euros as reimbursement for legal costs. The Russian Commissioner at the ECtHR appealed against this decision blaming the Court for using double standards. On August 31, "Beslan Mothers" criticized the Russia's position at the ECtHR. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [19 September 2017]

Chechen authorities react to appeal of disappeared singer's mother to Kadyrov
On September 18, in Chechnya, the Ministry for National Policy, External Relations, Press and Information and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) almost simultaneously rejected the political and criminal subtext in the disappearance of Zelimkhan Bakaev. The Ministries have assured they are making all efforts to find him. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on September 16, the mother of Zelimkhan Bakaev used WhatsApp to address Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov with a request for help in finding his son. The law enforcement agencies had no claims against Zelimkhan Bakaev, and there were no grounds for institution of a criminal case, reported the Chechen MIA. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [19 September 2017]

Chuvash, Bashkir Writers Warn Putin 'Playing With Fire' On Language Policy
Prominent writers in Russia's Chuvashia and Bashkortostan regions have urged President Vladimir Putin to stop discouraging the mandatory study of indigenous languages in regions with large ethnic-minority populations, warning that a shift away from the practice could sap Russia's strength and sow discord. In an open letter to Putin on September 18, ethnic Chuvash author Anatoly Kibech said that dropping mandatory Chuvash language classes at schools in the region on the Volga River could lead to the "weakening of friendly relations between young people in Chuvashia," and the "weakening of Russia as a whole." "None of the local languages in Russia's ethnic regions imposes a threat to Russia's territorial integrity," Kibech wrote, referring to regions with large populations of indigenous ethnic groups. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [19 September 2017]

19 September 2017

posted 19 Sep 2017, 11:23 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 Sep 2017, 11:25 ]

Kyiv Diplomats Visit Ukrainian Teenager Hryb Held In Russia
Ukrainian diplomats have visited a Ukrainian teenager held in Russian custody on terrorism-related charges for the first time since his arrest. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maryana Betsa wrote on Twitter that Ukrainian consuls visited Pavlo Hryb on September 18. Betsa said that Ukrainian physicians have not been allowed to examine Hryb. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [19 September 2017]

Court in occupied Crimea demands 3-year suspended sentence for journalist over criticism of Russia’s annexation
The prosecution in Russian-occupied Crimea has demanded a three-year suspended sentence for Mykola Semena, the 67-year-old journalist on trial for expressing his opinion - and the position of international treaties which Russia remains a party to. De facto prosecutor Svetlana Petrovna Budinskaya also proposed to ban Semena from engaging in any public activities for three years. The only ‘good’ news is that the sentence demanded is much less than the five-year real sentence which the charges could carry. In such political cases, there is effectively no likelihood of an acquittal. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [19 September 2017]

Convicted Moscow imam transferred to Vologda
Moscow imam Makhmud Velitov sentenced to 3 years prison has been transferred to Vologda, his lawyer Dagir Khasavov told RAPSI on Tuesday. On April 28, the Moscow District Military Court convicted and sentenced Velitov. On September 23, 2013, Velitov, being a council chair and imam of a religious organization, made a public speech justifying activity of one of Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami terrorist organization’s members during a prayer in a Moscow mosque, according to the Investigative Committee. This organization has been banned by Russia’s Supreme Court. [...]
Source: RAPSI [19 September 2017]

Moscow court grants defamation lawsuit against Navalny
The Lyublinsky District Court of Moscow on Tuesday granted a defamation lawsuit filed against Russian opposition leader Alexey Navaly by the Foundation for support of socially relevant government projects (Sotzgosproject), RAPSI correspondent reports from the courtroom. The court ordered Navalny and the Anti-Corruption Foundation to retract information stating that businessman Alisher Usmanov gave a bribe to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev by gifting the latter’s charity foundation. In addition, the defendants must also retract claims stating that the plaintiff was involved in a criminal scheme and that it is not conducting actual charity. Also, the defendants must delete fragments of published materials containing false and defamatory information. [...]
Source: RAPSI  [19 September 2017]

ECtHR ruling in Beslan terror attack case comes into force
A ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) awarding about €3 million in compensation to victims of terror attack on a school in the Russian town of Beslan has come into force, the court’s decision reads on Tuesday. Earlier, Russia’s Justice Ministry filed a request to refer the case to the Grand Chamber of the court. On April 13, ECHR obliged Russian authorities to pay the terror attack victims about €3 million in compensation and €88,792 of costs and expenses. [...]
Source: RAPSI [19 September 2017]

ECtHR ruling on complaint of Chechen militant sentenced to life takes effect
The ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in favor of Chechen militant Arsan Mukayev sentenced to life in prison for murdering members of the Russian armed forces and law enforcement officers became effective. Russia’s request for referral of the case to the court’s Grand Chamber for review was dismissed. According to Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office, Mukayev, the member of a militant group headed by Islam Chalayev, was implicated in 13 murders committed in the Chechen Republic including the murder of Vladimir Moroz. the prosecutor of Grozny, the republic’s capital. [...]
Source: RAPSI [19 September 2017]

18 September 2017

posted 18 Sep 2017, 12:16 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 18 Sep 2017, 12:57 ]

Russian Prosecutor Seeks Suspended Sentence For Crimean Journalist Semena
A Russian prosecutor in Crimea has recommended a suspended sentence for Mykola Semena, an RFE/RL contributor who is fighting what he says is a politically motivated separatism charge in court on the Russian-occupied Ukrainian peninsula. At a September 18 hearing in Semena's trial, the prosecutor asked the court to find him guilty and hand him a three-year suspended sentence, meaning he would not be imprisoned unless he were to violate the terms of the verdict. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [18 Septemer 2017]

Navalny Election Volunteer Sentenced In Chuvashia
NOVOCHEBOKSARSK, Russia -- A volunteer for Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny's embattled presidential campaign has been convicted under extremism legislation and sentenced to 27 months in a penitentiary. In a September 18 verdict, a court in the Chuvasia region city of Novocheboksarsk found Aleksei Mironov guilty of calling for extremism and inciting hatred via the Internet. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [18 September 2017]

Lawsuit of Raoul Wallenberg’s niece against Russia’s FSB dismissed
MOSCOW, September 18 (RAPSI) - Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court on Monday dismissed a lawsuit lodged by Marie Dupuy, niece of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who went missing in the late 1940s, against Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the court's press service told RAPSI. In the claim Marie Dupuy sought to obtain information about the fate of her uncle. [...]
Source: RAPSI [18 September 2017]

Igor Nagavkin left in custody
In Moscow, the court has extended the term of detention for Igor Nagavkin until September 28. This has been reported today by advocates of the rights defender who is on hunger strike at the SIZO (pre-trial prison). According to them, the court pronounced the decision in their absence. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Igor Nagavkin was taken in custody on suspicion of committing a theft in Volgograd on October 2, 2016. He pleads not guilty. On April 10, 2017, the rights defender was transferred to Moscow. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [16 September 2017]

Coordinator of miners' protest reports being detained in Zverevo
Valery Dyakonov, a coordinator of the protest actions held by Rostov miners, has informed the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that he was detained by policemen and is being taken to Gukovo. According to Valery Dyakonov, the policemen came to his house and "took him away." Later, the activist reported being taken to Gukovo. Let us remind you that in Gukovo, miners demand to cover the wage arrears, and starting from September 4, they are on march to Rostov-on-Don. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [16 September 2017]

15 September 2017

posted 18 Sep 2017, 12:15 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 18 Sep 2017, 12:51 ]

Lawyer Emil Kurbedinov & activists detained after family of tortured Crimean Tatar recognize FSB abductor
12 Crimean Tatar activists, as well as prominent lawyer Emil Kurbedinov and journalist Taras Ibragimov were detained in Simferopol on Friday after gathering with the relatives of Renat Paralamov, the father of four who was abducted and brutally tortured on September 13. The police claimed that the activists were holding an ‘unauthorized meeting’ at which they were allegedly chanting something. This appears to have been very far from the truth. Kurbedinov, Ibragimov and many others had accompanied Paralamov’s family to the FSB in Simferopol. Paralamov’s mother wanted to see Viktor Nikolaevich Paladin, the head of the FSB in Russian-occupied Crimea over her son’s abduction and the horrific torture he was subjected to. [...]

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [15 September 2017]

Abducted Crimean Tatar beaten, tortured and abandoned after ‘voluntarily’ entering FSB office
It took the FSB in Russian-occupied Crimea over 24 hours to admit that Renat Paralamov had been in their offices, and then they came up with the surreal claim that he had ‘voluntarily’ returned there after being released on Wednesday afternoon. It remains unclear what this latest FSB abduction was intended to achieve, but Paralamov is now recovering from the beating, electric shocks and other forms of torture he was subjected to before being abandoned at a coach station in Simferopol.  As reported, the young father of four small children was seized after men in masks turned up at the family home before 6 a.m. on September 13, and carried out something that they called “an inspection”. [...]

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [15 September 2017]

Top Navalny Campaign Activist 'Attacked' With 'Steel Pipe' In Moscow
A top aide to Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny says he was attacked on the street with a metal pipe in Moscow, the latest incident in what Navalny calls a state-sanctioned campaign of violence and intimidation against supporters of his presidential bid. Nikolai Lyaskin, head of the Moscow bureau of Navalny's presidential campaign, said on Twitter that shortly after he left the campaign headquarters in the city's central district on September 15, an unidentified assailant struck him several times from behind with the pipe and then fled the scene. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [15 September 2017]

Investigators return to opposition member $12,400 seized as part of Bolotnaya case
MOSCOW, September 15 (RAPSI) – Russia’s Investigative Committee has returned to opposition politician Ilya Yashin about $12,400 seized during searches in the Bolotnaya Square riot case in 2012, Yashin wrote on his Facebook page on Friday. According to Yashin, in June 2012, investigators raided his rental apartment and took almost all his life savings. There was a long trial over investigators’ actions, the opposition politician said. In all these years, the Investigative Committee failed to bring any charges against him but refused to give the money back, Yashin added. In May 2017, a court granted Yashin’s motion to return the seized money. [...]

Source: RAPSI [15 September 2017]

Tatiana Kotlyar found guilty of ‘fictitious registration’ of foreign citizens
On 12 September 2017 the Court of Obninsk District No. 16 found Tatiana Kotlyar guilty of 167 counts of ‘fictitious registration’ of foreign citizens in 2015 and sentenced her to a fine of 150,000 rubles (approximately 2,150 euro). The judge subsequently waived the fine, but upheld her conviction. Tatiana Kotlyar is the Chair of the Kaluga Movement For Human Rights, which defends the rights of minority groups and migrants. She is also a member of the Migration Rights Network of the Memorial Human Rights Centre (Memorial), an organization that focuses on the protection of migrant workers’ rights, the rights of stateless persons, asylum seekers and refugees in the Russian Federation. On 12 September 2017 the Court of Obninsk district No. 16 in Kaluga found Tatiana Kotlyar guilty of 167 counts of ‘fictitious registration’ of foreign citizens (Article 322.3 of the Criminal Code) in her own apartment. According to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, crimes of minor gravity have a two year period of expiration for prosecution. If within two years, the court has not made a final decision in the case, then the defendant cannot be sanctioned, regardless of what the court decides. The expiration period for the prosecution of Tatiana Kotlyar for ‘fictitious registration’ of foreign citizens was in July 2017. Since the term of criminal prosecution had expired, the judge waived the fine. However he upheld the conviction against Tatiana Kotlyar and as a consequence of this judgment, she will have a criminal record. [...]

Source: Front Line Defenders [15 September 2017]

Memorial recognizes Imam Makhmud Velitov as political prisoner
The criminal proceedings against Makhmud Velitov, Imam of the Moscow "Yardyam" Mosque, sentenced in the case on public justification of terrorism, imitate the fight against terrorism, the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" reports today. The rights defenders have demanded to release Makhmud Velitov. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on April 28, the Moscow District Military Court sentenced Makhmud Velitov to three years of imprisonment in a penal colony. Public prosecutors saw justification of terrorism in the Imam's interview and preaching about Abdulla Gappaev, a killed Dagestani religious figure who, according to investigators, was a member of the organization "Hizb ut-Tahrir" (recognized in Russia as a terrorist and banned by a court's decision). [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [15 September 2017]

Five persons kidnapped in Chechnya
A son, two daughters, an elder brother and a wife of a son of Abbas Kuzhulov, sentenced on the charge of involvement in an illegal armed formation (IAF), have been kidnapped by law enforcers in Chechnya. This was reported by a collective statement disseminated in Facebook. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in May 2016, the Vedeno District Court sentenced local resident Abbas Kuzhulov to six years of imprisonment on the charge of involvement in an illegal armed formation. Starting from late August, during the short period of time, unidentified law enforcers took away to some unknown destination five Chechen residents from the same family, reports a statement released in Facebook and signed by seven members of the Independent International Human Rights Group. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [15 September 2017]

14 September 2017

posted 14 Sep 2017, 09:38 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Sep 2017, 09:54 ]

Crimean Tatar abducted after ‘search’ by masked men in Russian-occupied Crimea
Renat Paralamov has not been seen since masked men carried out what they claimed to be an ‘inspection’ of his home in Nizhnegorsk, in Russian-occupied Crimea. Even if, as seems likely, the Russian FSB is behind this latest seizure, there is every reason to consider that their treatment of the young Crimean Tatar should be viewed as an abduction. Lawyer Mammet Mambetov and members of Paralamov’s family spent all day on Wednesday trying to find out where the unidentified individuals who burst into the Paralamov home had taken him. The men appeared before 6 a.m. and threatened to break down the door if they were not let in. They appear to have shown Paralamov a document, though what this was is unclear, since they claimed to be carrying out an ‘inspection’ and ‘investigative activities’, not a search. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [14 September 2017]

State Duma committee backs bill on fines for violating law on anonymizers
MOSCOW, September 14 (RAPSI) – The State Duma Committee on Legislation has backed a bill introducing fines for failure to comply with the law prohibiting the use of technologies enabling access to blocked websites, also known as anonymizers. According to the bill, online search system operators are to be fined for failing to obtain access to Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor’s registry on prohibited websites. Fines may reach as high as 5,000 rubles (about $86) for citizens, 50,000 rubles (about $866) for officials and 500,000-700,000 rubles ($8,665-12,000) for companies. Similar fines may be introduced for failing to provide access to banned websites on users’ request. On July 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law banning anonymizers. [...]
Source: RAPSI [14 September 2017]

Moscow court upholds recovery of $35,500 from Navalny in Kirovles case
MOSCOW, September 14 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court has upheld a lower court’s ruling to collect 2.1 million rubles ($35,500) from Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny and two other persons found guilty of embezzlement in Kirovles case, the court’s press-service told RAPSI on Thursday. On July 18, Moscow’s Nikulinsky District Court ordered Navalny, ex-director of Vyatka Timber Company Pyotr Ofitserov and Kirovles ex-CEO Vyacheslav Opalyov to pay 2.1 million rubles (about $35,500) to the Kirovles timber company. [...]
Source: RAPSI [14 September 2017]

Four Navalny’s supporters detained in Sochi
Activists have stated they were detained at a picket in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which was sanctioned by city authorities, without explaining the reasons. Picketers illegally used balloons in the course of the action, the Mayoralty has stated. The today’s picket in support of Alexei Navalny was sanctioned by the Mayoralty; however, in the course thereof four policemen approached the organizers and ordered to follow them to the police station, the picketers told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent. At about 9:00 p.m., the activists were released from the station. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [13 September 2017]

Moscow Ombudsperson to consider Igor Nagavkin's complaints
Tatiana Potyaeva, the Moscow’s Ombudsperson, has requested the Prosecutor's Office and the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) to carry out an investigation following the hunger strike declared by human rights defender Igor Nagavkin. This was reported on September 12 by Denis Nabiullin, a member of the Public Oversight Commission (POC). The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on August 25, Denis Nabiullin, a member of the Moscow POC, handed over a letter to Tatiana Potyaeva, in which he reported on his visit to Igor Nagavkin and the demands voiced by Igor Nagavkin at the start of his hunger strike. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [13 September 2017]

13 September 2017

posted 13 Sep 2017, 13:35 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Sep 2017, 14:35 ]

Russian Activist Udaltsov Detained While Protesting Near State Duma
Russian opposition activist Sergei Udaltsov has been briefly detained by Moscow police while protesting in front of the State Duma, Russia's lower chamber of parliament. Udaltsov's wife, Anastasia Udaltsova, wrote on Twitter that police took her husband to the Tver district police department. He was released by the police on September 13 about 90 minutes later. Udalstov wrote on Twitter that he and activist Aleksei Vorontsov were released after what he described as "a preventive talk" with police. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [13 September 2017]

Moscow Court Asks Reporters to Be ‘Tactful’ in Covering Ulyukayev Case
Journalists reporting on the trial of former economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev have been asked by the court to be “more tactful” in how they cover his corruption case. Ulyukayev, who was the first sitting minister to be arrested since Soviet times, faces 15 years in prison for allegedly demanding a $2 million bribe from the head of oil giant Rosneft, Igor Sechin. Ulyukayev reportedly threatened to obstruct Rosneft’s purchase of a majority stake in Bashneft, another oil company. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [13 September 2017]

Vienna Court allows extradition of Aslan Gagiev to Russia
In Vienna, the Oberlandesgericht has granted the request of the Russian General Prosecutor on the extradition of Aslan Gagiev, a native of North Ossetia, suspected of organizing a series of resonant murders. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Aslan Gagiev was detained in Vienna on January 17, 2015. The first instance court pronounced the decision to extradite Aslan Gagiev to the Russian Federation, but the Vienna Supreme Court sent the decision for revision. The decision was motivated by the fact that the Russian Federation could not ensure human rights guaranteeing freedom from torture. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [13 September 2017]

12 September 2017

posted 12 Sep 2017, 11:14 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Sep 2017, 11:32 ]

Russian cinemas shun tsar film Matilda after threats
Russia's biggest cinema chain has cancelled screenings of a controversial film about the love life of the last tsar Nicholas II after Orthodox Church activists strongly condemned it. Matilda explores his love for ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya before he came to the throne, and includes erotic scenes. The Cinema Park and Formula Kino group said it had to "protect cinemagoers from risks" in light of recent threats. The film is due to go on general release in Russia on 26 October. [...]
Source: BBC [12 September 2017]

Russian Election Monitor Reports 'Illegal Tactics’ During September 10 Vote
An independent Russian election monitoring group, Golos, says low turnout for regional and local elections across the country on September 10 was caused by "the low level of competition and by voters' distrust toward the election process." In a report issued on September 12, Golos said its observation of the elections "suggest that illegal strategies and tactics are still prevalent in certain regions." Golos said it received "reports of documented election rigging" from a number of polling stations. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [12 September 2017]

Plaque Honoring Slain Opposition Politician Nemtsov Removed In Moscow
A plaque honoring slain Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov that was placed on his apartment building in Moscow has been removed after less than one week. Activist Tatyana Tikhonovich wrote on Facebook that the plaque placed on the wall of the apartment building went missing on September 12. Meanwhile, Igor Beketov, the leader of a radical pro-Kremlin activist group called SERB, wrote on the VKontakte social network that the plaque was removed by SERB members and handed over to Moscow police. The plaque read "Politician Boris Nemtsov -- who was murdered by a hired killer on February 27, 2015 -- lived here." [...]
Source: RFE/RL [12 September 2017]

Jehovah’s Witnesses Appeal Russia's 'Extremist' Label
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have lodged an appeal with Russia's Supreme Court after being added to an "extremist" registry alongside banned terrorist organizations, the court told the Interfax news agency on Tuesday. Russia’s Justice Ministry added the religious group to a registry of banned organizations last month after the Supreme Court ruled in April to formally ban the group. The judgement forced 396 registered Jehovah’s Witnesses branches across Russia to dissolve. The Jehovah’s Witnesses said on their website on Monday that the Supreme Court has three months to consider the appeal. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [12 September 2017]

European Court of Human Rights intervenes over Russia’s abduction of 19-year-old Ukrainian
The European Court of Human Rights has given Russia until September 25 to provide medical documents for Pavlo Hryb [or Gryb], the young Ukrainian whom Russia is believed to have forcibly taken from Belarus and imprisoned. Since Pavlo has serious health problems, the Court in Strasbourg’s move is of critical importance. Russia has been asked to provide information about Hryb’s current state of health, the medical treatment prescribed by his doctors, as well as the medical treatment that he has actually received. It appears that thus far he has received none. The letter is dated 11 September, and it is almost certainly no coincidence that it was only on that day that lawyer Andrei Sabinin was finally allowed to see the young man who was abducted after he reached Gomel in Belarus on August 24. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [12 September 2017]

Russian tax service files $70 million lawsuit against William Browder
Russia’s Federal Tax Service has lodged a lawsuit seeking to recover over 4 billion rubles (about $70 million) from Hermitage Capital head William Browder and his business partner Ivan Cherkasov charged with tax evasion, according to the court’s documents read out in a Moscow court on Tuesday. Browder has been charged with several economic crimes, including deliberate bankruptcy and tax evasion, his attorney Alexander Antipov has told RAPSI earlier. Investigation into Browder was completed within the shortest possible time, from February 8 to 17, 2017, the lawyer added. However, neither the defendant nor his legal team were notified about investigation. According to Antipov, this fact exemplifies “secret justice” and violates the law. [...]
Source: RAPSI [12 September 2017]

Kadyrov's statements on Myanmar result in Muslims’ detentions in Russia
139 participants of an unsanctioned action in support of Myanmar Muslims were detained in Saint Petersburg on Sunday, September 10. Protocols on administrative offences were drawn up against 32 people; they were accused of petty hooliganism and violation of residence rules for foreign citizens and stateless persons, the Petersburg edition “” reports. According to the edition, an application for holding a rally was submitted to the city Mayoralty; however, its officials refused to sanction the applied Muslims’ rally. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [11 September 2017]

11 September 2017

posted 11 Sep 2017, 08:51 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 11 Sep 2017, 09:20 ]

Crimean Tatar leader Chiygoz jailed by Russian court
A prominent opponent of Russia's annexation of Crimea has been given eight years in jail for stirring up protests. Akhtem Chiygoz, deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatar parliament, the Mejlis, took part in a rally backing Ukraine's interim government in 2014. Clashes between rival protesters left two dead. His lawyer said the sentence was unlawful and that he would seek his client's extradition to Ukraine. Russia banned the Mejlis last year. [...]
Source: BBC [11 September 2017]

Liberal anti-Putin coalition causes upset in Moscow council elections
United Democrats triumph in central seats in Russian capital, including the one where the president cast his vote.
A coalition of liberal opposition parties has won a series of victories in local council elections in central Moscow, beating candidates from Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia party. The United Democrats movement took 11 out of 12 council seats in the Tverskaya district, a wealthy neighbourhood adjacent to the Kremlin. It also secured all 12 seats in the Gagarinsky district, where Putin cast his vote on Sunday. The opposition likewise upset the odds to triumph in a dozen other districts, the vast majority of them in the heart of the Russian capital. The opposition coalition’s breakthrough campaign was masterminded by the former MP Dmitry Gudkov and the Yabloko and Parnas opposition parties. [...]
Source: The Guardian [11 September 2017]

Jailed Ukrainian Filmmaker Sentsov Transferred To Another Siberian Jail
IRKUTSK, Russia -- Ukrainian writer and filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who is jailed in Russia over his opposition to Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, has been transferred from a penal colony in Yakutsk to a notorious detention center in the city of Irkutsk, some 1,900 kilometers away. Lawyers and members of the Public Monitoring Commission in Angara, who visited Sentsov in Detention Center #1 in Irkutsk, said on September 11 that he was in solitary confinement in the jail's basement. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [11 September 2017]

Russian Journalist Latynina Flees Russia After Attacks
Journalist Yulia Latynina has left Russia with her family after a series of attacks on her in recent months. "I have left Russia in connection with threats to my life," Latynina said on Twitter, adding the hashtag "#Putin." A frequent critic of the Kremlin, Latynina has said the harassment results from an atmosphere of hostility towards opposition politicians and journalists actively encouraged by Russian authorities. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [10 September 2017]

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