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27 July 2018

posted 27 Jul 2018, 10:59 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 27 Jul 2018, 14:41 ]

Russia Promises UN to End Prison Torture
Russia will prosecute perpetrators of torture in its prisons, including guards caught on video beating an inmate that has led to a public outcry, the deputy justice minister told the United Nations human rights watchdog this week. Authorities detained six prison guards on Monday, days after a video circulated online showing at least 10 guards torturing and beating an inmate with truncheons. The Novaya Gazeta newspaper published the 10-minute clip last week and said the incident took place in June 2017 in a prison in the city of Yaroslavl, northeast of Moscow. UN experts on the Committee against Torture raised the case of the detainee identified as Yevgeny Makarov on Monday at the start of a two-day regular review of Russia's record. Panel chairman Jens Modvig also called on authorities to provide a "clear signal" to law enforcement personnel and the public that torture is prohibited. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [27 July 2018]

Russian Authorities Probe Alleged Abuses In Prisons After Torture Video Emerges
Russian federal authorities are cracking down against prison guards and local police in a series of abuse cases after video emerged on social media showing guards torturing a prison inmate in the city of Yaroslavl, northwest of Moscow. The arrests and trials, which are not directly connected to the Yaroslavl video, appear to be part of a campaign by federal authorities to respond to public outrage over the prison-torture footage. In Russia's North Caucasus region of Ingushetia on July 27, seven police were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to 10 years on charges of torturing 13 criminal suspects at a police post. Meanwhile, a court in Siberia on July 27 sentenced one police officer to seven years and another to six years after convicting them of using electric shocks to torture three handcuffed suspects during an interrogation. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [27 July 2018]

Seventh defendant in Yaroslavl prison torture case put under house arrest
The Zavolzhsky District Court of the city of Yaroslavl has put under house arrest deputy head of the correctional department of the Yaroslavl Penal Colony One, Ivan Kalashnikov, seventh defendant in the criminal case over beating and torture of an inmate, the press-service of the court has stated. Earlier, the court has detained six defendants in the case over an abuse of office involving use of violence case, which is being investigated by the main directorate of the Investigative Committee. The crime may be punished by a prison term of up to 10 years. [...]
Source: RAPSI [27 July 2018]

Seven members of Ingushetia’s law enforcement officers found guilty in torture case
The Nalchiksky Garrison Military Court has sentenced seven employees of the Center for Counteracting Extremism (“Center E”) of the Interior Ministry’s Directorate for the Republic of Ingushetia as well as regional Federal Security Service (FSB) directorate, to prison terms for a range of crimes, lawyer Andrey Sabinin has told RAPSI. The law enforcement officers, depending on their individual actions, were charged with murder, robbery, extortion, burglary, theft of documents, forging of documents, and abuse of office using violence leading to grave consequences. [...]

Source: RAPSI [27 July 2018]

Court leaves Oyub Titiev under arrest
The Supreme Court (SC) of Chechnya has denied the defence's request to transfer Oyub Titiev, the head of the Grozny office of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", under house arrest and left him in custody until December 22. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on July 9, the Shali City Court of Chechnya extended Oyub Titiev's arrest until December 22. Earlier, the SC of Chechnya refused to consider Titiev's case outside of Chechnya and extended his arrest until July 25. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [27 July 2018]

Risks Rise As Sentsov's Hunger Strike Enters 75th Day, Lawyer Warns
The lawyer for Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who is serving a 20-year prison term in Russia and has been on a hunger strike for nearly two months, says the health risks for his client are rising as the protest enters its 75th day. Sentsov, a vocal opponent of Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, was sentenced in 2015 to 20 years for conspiracy to commit terrorism. Sentsov is serving his term in Russia's northern region of Yamalo-Nenets after being convicted on terrorism charges that he and human rights groups say were politically motivated. The 42-year-old denies the charges and has been on a hunger strike since mid-May, demanding that Russia release 64 Ukrainian citizens he considers political prisoners. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [27 July 2018]

26 July 2018

posted 26 Jul 2018, 08:55 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 26 Jul 2018, 09:21 ]

Aslan Yandiev, accused of terrorism, convoyed to North Ossetia
Aslan Yandiev, who had been extradited from Slovakia on the charge of involvement in terror acts, was taken from Moscow to Vladikavkaz and placed to the FSB SIZO (pre-trial prison). The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Aslan Yandiev, an Ingush native of the Prigorodny District of North Ossetia, was detained in Slovakia at the request issued by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). The suspect was kept under arrest since 2011. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [26 July 2018]

Investigators bring charges against member of notorious Basayev gang
Aslan Yandiyev, an alleged member of a gang led by Shamil Basayev, a notorious Chechen warlord, has been charged in the framework of a criminal case opened over organization of terror attacks in Vladikavkaz in 2006, the press-service of the Investigative Committee states on Thursday. The defendant is charged with banditry, illicit arms trafficking, murders and organization of six terror attacks. According to a statement of the Federal Security Service (FSB), he was involved in the organization and committing a series of deadly terror attacks in the Russian city of Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, in 2006. Investigators claim that the defendant fled Russia in order to avoid criminal prosecution in 2010. In 2011, he was arrested in Slovakia. On July 18, Yandiyev was extradited to Russia. [...]
Source: RAPSI [26 July 2018]

Members of Hizb ut-Tahrir cell in St. Petersburg receive prison terms for terrorism
Members of the St. Petersburg cell of Hizb ut-Tahrir terrorist group banned in Russia were sentenced to prison terms varying from 5 to 10.5 years in prison, RAPSI correspondent reports from the Leningrad District Military Court. Overall, eight persons were found guilty of participation in the activity of a terrorist organization. According to case papers, since November 2013 the Hizb ut-Tahrir cell has been operating in the Leningrad Region and St. Petersburg. Russian citizens Maksim Tsvetkov, Aziz Yusufov, Artur Akhmedov, Islam Akhmedov and Eldar Mamedov were arrested in November 2016. Tajik national Farkhod Nurmatov was arrested in January 2017. Two more defendants, Mirzobarat Mirzosharipov and Magomed Akhimov were arrested in June 2017. [...]

Source: RAPSI [26 July 2018]

Russian court detains sixth defendants in prison torture case
The Zavolzhsky District Court of the city of Yaroslavl detained Dmitry Solovyov, a junior inspector of the Yaroslavl Penal Colony One, suspected of involvement in torture of an inmate, over which a criminal case had been opened, the press-service of the court told RAPSI on Thursday. According to a representative of the court, five suspects have been detained as part of an abuse of office involving use of violence case, which is being investigated by the main directorate of the Investigative Committee. The crime may be punished by a prison term of up to 10 years. [...]

Source: RAPSI [26 July 2018]

Russia Deflects Criticism From UN Rights Experts on Prison Torture
UN human rights experts urged Russian officials to prosecute alleged widespread cases of torture including beatings, electric shocks or burial in snow at labor camps in Siberia. Deputy justice minister Mikhail Galperin, leading Russia's delegation at a hearing of the UN Committee against Torture, said on Wednesday that strict rules governed the use of force in prisons. "Each case where a detainee is harmed or if they in particular die as a result of physical force, special measures, or use of firearms, the prosecutor is informed within one day with supporting documentation," he said. But Galperin gave no details of any officials prosecuted for torture at the start of the two-day examination of Russia's record. Russia will respond to detailed questions on Thursday. Some 600,000 people are held in nearly 1,000 prisons and detention centres across Russia, with 4,000 deaths from various causes recorded each year, "one of the highest rates in the Council of Europe countries," panel chairman Jens Modvig said. "There is no rule ensuring that punishment for torture corresponds to the seriousness of the crime," Modvig said. "This is more regrettable in that torture is practiced widely." [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [26 July 2018]

UN CaT points to human rights violations in Northern Caucasus
The situation in Northern Caucasus is a matter of serious concern: extrajudicial executions, torture, kidnappings are fixed there but remain non-investigated, Claude Heller, a member of the UN Committee against Torture (CaT), has stated. Russian human rights defenders have called on the UN to pay special attention to human rights violations in Chechnya. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on the International UN Day in support of victims of torture, rights activists predicted an increase in the number of complaints from Northern Caucasus, although residents of the region are reluctant to report such crimes. Lawyers treat the cases related to torture that reached trials as an exception. On Wednesday, June 25, Russia submitted a country's report on torture to the UN CaT. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [26 July 2018]

Oyub Titiev's defence in Chechnya has chance to prove case falsification
The Supreme Court (SC) of Chechnya has satisfied the complaint of the defence of Oyub Titiev, the head of the Grozny office of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" asking to check the records of bout the examination of the DVRs (digital video recorders) installed along the Oyub's path on the day of his detention. The check can prove the destruction of video records and confirm the falsification of the charges, Pyotr Zaikin, an advocate, has suggested. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on July 19, the trial of Oyub Titiev started. Seven prosecution witnesses-policemen gave very similar testimonies, without telling anything about Titiev's detention on January 9. Since January 11, Titiev is under arrest on charges of possessing marijuana. He keeps insisting that the drug was planted on him by a law enforcer and would not plead guilty. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [25 July 2018]

Pro-Stalin Lawmaker Confirmed As Head Of Duma Culture Committee
An outspokenly pro-Stalin, nationalist lawmaker has been confirmed as head of the Russian State Duma's Culture Committee. Deputy Yelena Yampolskaya of the ruling United Russia party was confirmed in the post on July 25 after it was vacated by the death of noted Soviet filmmaker Stanislav Govorukhin in June. Yampolskaya has made headlines several times in the past with public statements in support of former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, whom she has said "was sent by God to preserve Russia." A journalist, theater critic, and former editor of the Kultura newspaper, Yampolskaya was elected to the Duma in 2016. She has been outspoken in her support for the controversial 2013 law banning gay "propaganda" that has been condemned by rights groups and foreign governments. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [26 July 2018]

Ingush State Archive gets unique documents about deported Vainakh people
Ingushetia has got a large archive containing documents about the life and activities of special settlers during the years of deportation. As a result of the specialists' work in the archival institutions of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, 2000 sheets and personnel documents concerning the lives of special settlers were found. All documents will be included in the Archive Fund of Ingushetia, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent was informed by Magomed Kartoev, the director for the State Archive of the Republic of Ingushetia. "Our main task is to restore lost documents of historical and cultural heritage and, in particular, to search for documents in the archival institutions of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, where Chechen and Ingush people were deported," said Magomed Kartoev. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [26 July 2018]

25 July 2018

posted 25 Jul 2018, 12:10 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 25 Jul 2018, 12:23 ]

Three Russian guards plead guilty to mass beating of prisoner
Lawyer representing victim Yevgeny Makarov flees Russia after receiving death threats
Three Russian prison guards have pleaded guilty to joining in the mass beating of a prisoner in a case that has revealed more than 50 complaints of torture at a single prison colony and led a lawyer representing the victim to flee the country after receiving death threats. Gruesome video showed about 10 Russian guards taking turns to beat prisoner Yevgeny Makarov with rubber truncheons about the soles of his feet and legs as he was held face down on a table. The guards ignored Makarov’s screams and switched positions methodically, occasionally pouring a bucket of water over the convict’s head. One guard lectured Makarov for swearing at him. [...]
Source: The Guardian [25 July 2018]

Five Russian Prison Guards Sent To Pretrial Jail In Inmate Beating Case
A court in Russia has ordered two months of pretrial detention for five prison guards suspected of involvement in the severe beating of an inmate. The Zavolzhye district court in the city of Yaroslavl also ruled on July 25 that a sixth suspect, deputy prison warden Ivan Kalashnikov, must remain in custody for another 72 hours pending a ruling on whether he will also be jailed. The Investigative Committee said on July 23 that six officers of Corrective Colony No. 1 in Yaroslavl, northeast of Moscow, were detained after a video showing the beating of an inmate identified as Yevgeny Makarov was published by the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and circulated widely on the Internet last week. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [25 July 2018]

Russian ombudsman calls for inspection of penal colonies after recent torture scandal
Russian Human Rights ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova has called for a complex inspection of national penal colonies following the public outrage sparked by a video showing torture of an inmate. According to the press-service of the Human Rights commissioner, appeals against ill-treatment of inmates in penitentiary facilities alongside reports made by regional ombudsmen filed within last 2 years should be examined. [...]
Source: RAPSI [25 July 2018]

Russian Woman Reportedly Faces 6 Years in Prison for Insulting Memes
A woman in Siberia reportedly faces up to six years in prison on extremism charges for posting memes on social media deemed “insulting” by Russian investigators, part of a growing trend of Russians being punished for online activity. Internet freedom advocates decry what they call skyrocketing government censorship under Article 232 of the Criminal Code, which targets hate speech. Russia’s Supreme Court estimated that convictions under the extremism charge more than tripled between 2012 and 2017. Maria Motuznaya, 23, tweeted Monday that a team of investigators had raided her apartment in early May, confiscated her computer and phone and accused her of posting offensive images on the VKontakte social network, including satirical pictures of priests and Jesus Christ. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [25 July 2018]

Russian asylum seeker whom Ukraine helped send back to Russia convicted of ‘extremism’ for criticizing Putin
It was officially Belarus that extradited Russian opposition activist Vladimir Yegorov to Russia to face charges of making ‘public calls to extremist activities’. This was, however, only because Ukraine’s Security Service [SBU] chose to bypass Ukraine’s legislation and its international obligations altogether by simply dumping Yegorov, who had applied for asylum in Ukraine, on the border, leaving him no choice but to cross into Belarus. It is impossible to believe that the SBU officials did not understand the strong likelihood that the charges Yegorov was facing were politically motivated. The fact that he was only held in detention for a few months was not something they could have known when they chose to thus treat a person justifiably seeking political asylum. Yegorov is a 51-year-old electrician and the head of the local branch of the Yabloko Party in Toropets (Tver oblast). Criminal charges were initiated against him in October 2016 for so-called ‘calls to extremist activity’. These were over a strongly-worded post on the social network VKontakte in which he was highly critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He later explained that he had posted the comments after Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told teachers that they should find a second job (since it’s impossible to live on a teacher’s pay). He wrote that everybody goes for Medvedev, whereas the real culprit is Putin. [...]

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [25 July 2018]

Ukrainian gets double sentence for ‘hostility to Russia’ over annexation of Crimea
A court in Russian-occupied Crimea has upheld a shockingly high 8-year sentence on Hennady Lymeshko, a young father from the Kharkiv oblast and one of the ever-increasing number of Ukrainians whom Russia’s FSB forces to ‘confess’ on camera to supposed ‘sabotage plots’.  Since the indictment differed significantly from his ‘confession’, it seems likely that Lymeshko’s mother Rimma Ryzhkova is right in believing that the ‘confession on camera’ was made under torture or other forms of duress. He never had an independent lawyer, which may have influenced the fact that he did not later retract the initial ‘confession’, but he was undoubtedly promised a lower sentence in return for not denying guilt. He had only been provided with a state-appointed lawyer three days before the original ‘trial’ on 10 May 2018, and was clearly not advised to ensure that he had a written agreement regarding the terms of his ‘cooperation’. In short, he was tricked with the prosecutor demanding eight and a half years’ imprisonment in a maximum security prison. It was claimed that Lymeshko’s alleged political motive of “hostility to the Russian Federation in connection with reunification (sic) of Crimea” constituted an ‘aggravated circumstance’. This ‘trial’ at the Sudak District Court lasted all of an hour, with ‘judge’ Yevgeny Rykov sentencing Lymeshko to just six months less than had been demanded by the prosecution. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [25 July 2018]

Moscow Court Fines Pussy Riot Activists Over World Cup Protest
A Moscow court has fined four members of the Pussy Riot protest group for wearing police uniforms when briefly interrupting the July 15 World Cup final between France and Croatia by running onto the field. The Khamovniki district court ruled on July 25 that Veronika Nikulshina, Olga Pakhtusova, Olga Kurachyova, and Pyotr Verzilov must pay 1,500 rubles ($25) each for illegally wearing police uniforms. The four carried out the protest stunt early in the second half of the final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other high-ranking officials from around the world. Pussy Riot posted messages on social media claiming responsibility for the protest and issuing a list of six political demands -- including the release of all political prisoners in Russia, ending arrests at peaceful rallies, and allowing “political competition in the country.” On July 16, the four protesters were sentenced to 15 days in jail for "grossly violating the rules for spectators' behavior." [...]
Source: RFE/RL [25 July 2018]

24 July 2018

posted 24 Jul 2018, 10:54 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 24 Jul 2018, 12:17 ]

Russian State Journalist Killed in Nizhny Novgorod
A popular television anchor and journalist has reportedly been killed in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod, east of Moscow. Denis Suvorov, 27, worked as a host and online editor at Rossia Nizhny Novgorod, which is broadcast by the state-run VGTRK media holding. The company released a statement Monday expressing its condolences to the deceased journalist’s family members and friends. Police launched a criminal investigation into the murder after Suvorov’s body was found with a skull fracture on Monday, the local website cited anonymous law enforcement sources as saying. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [24 July 2018]

Shocking Video Prompts Mass Torture Crackdown in Russian Prisons
Russia’s prison watchdog has announced plans to launch a nationwide inspection of correctional facilities following public outrage over a leaked video of a prisoner being tortured. Public officials in Yaroslavl have come under fire for failing to investigate a torture case dating back to 2017 before footage of the incident was published in the media last week. Seventeen prison guards have since been fired and six arrested on charges of abuse of power. In a separate case on Tuesday, investigators in the western city of Bryansk said they had detained a guard on suspicion of torturing an inmate to death. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [24 July 2018]

Russian Prison Guard Accused Of Suffocating Inmate To Death
A prison guard in western Russia's Bryansk region has been detained on suspicion of suffocating an inmate to death by binding his face with a piece of cloth. The Investigative Committee said on July 24 that the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) officer is accused of "using violence and special security means that limited a convict's ability to move." The guard "bound [the inmate's] face with cloth, as a result of which the latter died of asphyxiation," the committee said in a statement. It said the incident occurred on July 22. It is the second case of alleged violent abuse at a Russian penitentiary to emerge into the open in recent days. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [24 July 2018]

Rights Group Memorial Deems Jailed Russian Activist A Political Prisoner
The Moscow-based human rights group Memorial says it has determined that Mikhail Savostin, an activist charged with illegal drug possession, is a political prisoner. Memorial said on July 23 that the authorities' case against Savostin contains "elements of intentional falsification." Savostin, who is a senior member of Assembly of the Peoples of the Caucasus and the independent trade union Solidarnost (Solidarity), was arrested in April after police stopped his car in his native city of Mineralnyye Vody in the North Caucasus. Police said they found two packets of marijuana in his possession. Savostin denies it and contends that the drugs were planted by police to frame him. In late June, Savostin started a hunger strike protesting his arrest. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [24 July 2018]

Russia extends its torture of abducted & gravely ill Ukrainian student
Russia’s ‘trial’ of Pavlo Hryb, a Ukrainian student abducted by the FSB from Belarus, began in Rostov on 23 July 2018, only to be adjourned for the prosecutor to correct a critical mistake in the indictment. Hryb’s detention was extended to 22 October, despite the 20-year-old’s life-threatening blood circulation illness, which could lead to fatal haemorrhaging at any time. The situation is of particular concern since there is reason to fear that Hryb is also facing physical harassment from other prisoners. This could be part of the intense pressure on the young man since August 2017, aimed at forcing out a ‘confession’ to the surreal charges laid, and avoiding details of his abduction from another country being revealed in open court. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [24 July 2018]

Report: Khakas Language, Culture Activist Charged With Extremism In Russia
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has reportedly lodged an extremism charge against an activist who promotes indigenous cultures and languages following a post on the Internet. The news site reported on July 24 that it had obtained FSB documents related to the charge against Lidiya Bainova, an activist in the Khakasia region of Siberia. The documents show that the FSB has accused Bainova of calling "for violence against [ethnic] Russian people residing in the region." In a post on the Russian social network VKontakte that went viral earlier in July, Bainova wrote about what she described as racism faced by ethnic Khakas people on their own land on a daily basis. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [24 July 2018]

Moscow court refuses to return case of YUKOS ex-lawyer to prosecutors
The Khamovnichesky District Court of Moscow has refused to return the criminal case against Yukos oil company’s former lawyer Pavel Ivlev, who is charged with embezzlement, to prosecutors, RAPSI correspondent reports from the courtroom. Attorneys representing Ivlev asked the court to return the case because the alleged crime was related to his activity as a lawyer, also saying that the charges themselves were incorrect. The judge, in turn, said that there were no grounds to this request. Prosecutors also objected to the motion in question. Earlier, the court dismissed other motions of the defense, asking the court to bring politician Alexey Navalny into the trial as Ivlev’s lawyer and to organize a video conference with Ivlev, a U.S. citizen currently residing in the United States. [...]
Source: RAPSI [24 July 2018]

Russian Federation Council adopts bill on appeals courts
The Federation Council has passed a bill on establishment of independent cassation and appeals courts of general jurisdiction in Russia, the statement of the higher chamber of Russia’s Parliament reads. The State Duma, the Parliament’s lower house, adopted the bill in the third and final reading on July 17. The bill has been drafted by the Supreme Court of Russia. Amendments are proposed to laws "On the Judicial System of the Russian Federation", “On Courts of General Jurisdiction of the Russian Federation”, “On Military Courts of the Russian Federation”, and “On the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation”. The bill envisages creation of 9 cassation and 5 appeals courts of general jurisdiction within the relevant judicial circuits that involve territories of several subjects of the Russian Federation. [...]
Source: RAPSI [24 July 2018]

Rare witness to horror of Stalin's Gulag prisons dies
A rare survivor of the harshest Stalin-era labour camps has died aged 89 in Russia's far east. Vasily Kovalyov had survived icy punishment cells and beatings in the USSR's notorious Gulag prison system. During an escape attempt in 1954 he spent five months hiding in a freezing mine with two other prisoners. Kovalyov's story was featured in Vesma, a news site based in Magadan. The communist regime shipped thousands of "enemies" to prison camps via Magadan. In 1950 Kovalyov, aged 20, was found guilty of anti-Soviet sabotage - one among the millions of victims of Stalinist terror. An old sabre that he had used to chop vegetables was enough to condemn him. [...]
Source: BBC [24 July 2018]

23 July 2018

posted 23 Jul 2018, 14:18 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 23 Jul 2018, 14:39 ]

Russian Court Sends Terrorism Case Against Ukrainian Back For Additional Investigation
A court in Russia halted the trial of a 20-year-old Ukrainian man charged with abetting terrorism shortly after it got under way, sending the case back for additional investigation. Pavlo Hryb, who denies the charge and whose family contends he was set up by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), went on trial at the North Caucasus Regional Military Court in Rostov-on-Don on July 23. But the court said it found that the formal charge against Hryb was based on a clause of the Criminal Code that had not been in place at the time of the alleged crime. There was no indication that Hryb would be released from custody. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [23 July 2018]

Russian Lawyer Who Provided Prison-Beating Video Flees, Seeks State Protection
A lawyer who gave a Russian newspaper a video showing the brutal beating of a prison inmate has fled the country while seeking protection from state law enforcement authorities. The Public Verdict Foundation said on July 23 that Irina Biryukova, who is a lawyer with the NGO, left the country the day the video was published by the independent Novaya Gazeta last week. Biryukova has sent a letter to the head of the federal Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Bastrykin, urging the Russian authorities to provide security to provide for her safety and that of her family, Public Verdict said on Facebook. Amnesty International has also urged Russian authorities to "immediately protect" Biryukova. The 10-minute video, posted online by Novaya Gazeta on July 20, has shocked viewers inside and outside Russia and deepened concerns about allegations of torture in the country's jails, prisons, and police precincts. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [23 July 2018]

Russia: Lawyer covering torture case flees country after threats
Russian authorities must act immediately to protect Irina Biryukova, a lawyer who has fled the country after releasing a video showing her client Yevgeny Makarov being brutally beaten in a Russian prison, Amnesty International said today. On 20 July, Irina Biryukova made public a video showing 18 officials attacking Yevgeny Makarov in IK-1 penal colony in the Yaroslavl region of central Russia. According to Biryukova, her source inside the prison informed her that wardens were now plotting revenge against her, threatening her with physical harm. “Irina Biryukova’s brave decision to expose the appalling abuse within IK-1 penal colony is the latest example of her dedication to protecting others from torture and other ill-treatment. It is alarming that her act of courage has forced her to flee the country in fear,” said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. [...]
Source: Amnesty International [23 July 2018]

6 Arrested in Wake of Leaked Russian Prison Torture Video
Six prison employees have been arrested and at least 17 fired following the release of a 2017 video showing a detainee being tortured at a prison outside Moscow. Investigators opened a criminal probe into the alleged torture of prisoner Yevgeny Makarov in Yaroslavl last week after a Russian newspaper released video footage of the 2017 incident. Public officials in Yaroslavl have come under fire for not investigating the incident until the release of the video, despite repeated formal complaints from Makarov. “The investigation has established the identity of all penal colony employees who participated in the beating of the prisoner. Today, six people have been detained,” the Yaroslavl branch of the Investigative Committee wrote on Monday. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [23 July 2017]

Putin 'A Cold-Blooded Killer,' Says Kremlin Critic Browder
British-American investor and rights activist William Browder has said that he fears being extradited to Russia and killed in prison at the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Browder spoke via Skype with Current Time TV's Anastasia Gorelova a week after he said Putin was seeking access to him in exchange for giving U.S. prosecutors the chance to question 12 Russian intelligence agents. Browder has advocated laws that authorize sanctions against human rights abusers in Russia, and was convicted in absentia in Russia on financial charges that he says are politically motivated. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [23 July 2018]

Russian prison wins libel lawsuit against newspaper and Pussy Riot member 
The Izmaylovsky District Court of Moscow has partially granted a libel lawsuit filed by the Nizhny Novgorod prison №2 against Sobesednik newspaper and member of the Pussy Riot group Maria Alyokhina, who wrote an article about the prison, the press-service of the court has told RAPSI. The article reportedly tells of inmates’ labor conditions in the Nizhny Novgorod female penal colony where the Pussy Riot member served her sentence. The court recovered 3,000 rubles ($48) from the newspaper and dismissed the rest of the demands. [...]
Source: RAPSI [23 July 2018]

800,000 Modern-Day Slaves Are Living in Russia, Report Says
Nearly 800,000 people live as modern-day slaves in Russia, working under conditions of forced labor, debt bondage and human trafficking, according to the 2018 Global Slavery Index, a worldwide analysis of slavery. There are 40.3 million people enslaved across the world, according to the 2018 Global Slavery Index compiled by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation. The index documented several incidents of labor exploitation around stadium construction preceding Russia’s World Cup this summer. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [23 July 2018]

Two Russian Police Officers Killed By Gunmen In Daghestan
Two police officers in the Kizilyurtovsky District of Russia's volatile Daghestan region were killed on July 20 when their patrol was attacked by gunmen, a police spokesman said. The Muslim-majority republic borders Chechnya, where Moscow has waged two wars against separatists since the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, and security forces there often face militant violence. "One was killed at the spot, another died in hospital when gunmen attacked the police patrol from a car," the spokesman said. The number of attackers was not known. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [21 July 2018]

20 July 2018

posted 20 Jul 2018, 11:08 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Jul 2018, 11:27 ]

Amnesty International: Risk of Torture for Man Extradited to Russia: Aslan Yandiev
On 17 July, Aslan Yandiev was extradited to Russia. He is suffering from a long-term illness and is at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment and an unfair trial in Russia. [...] 
Source: Amnesty International [19 July 2018]

Russia Launches Probe Over Video Purporting To Show Prison Torture
Russian authorities are looking into a video purporting to show an inmate being tortured by prison guards in the Yaroslavl region. Russia's Investigative Committee said on July 20 that a probe had been launched into what it called "a crime" committed by Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) employees in a prison in the Yaroslavl region, adding that the guards "violently abused their authority." The FSIN directorate in the Yaroslavl region said the same day that it had also launched an investigation into "unlawful actions" by penitentiary employees. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [20 July 2018]

In Oyub Titiev's case, six witnesses fail to describe his detention
At today's hearing at the Shali City Court in the Oyub Titiev's case, the Court questioned six policemen witnesses, the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" reports, which has arranged text broadcast of the court hearing on its Telegram channel. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on January 22, Oyub Titiev, the head of the Grozny office of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", was arrested on charges of possessing marijuana. He pleaded not guilty and stated that the drugs had been planted on him. Today, all six witnesses failed to report to the Court any significant information about the events on January 9, when Oyub Titiev was arrested. According to the testimonies of the witnesses, none of them took part in the Oyub Titiev's detention. In fact, the witnesses answered: "I do not remember" or, occasionally, "I do not know" to almost all questions voiced by the defence. During the court hearing, it became clear that one of the witnesses, a member of a territorial police station, did not speak Russian. When asked by the judge if he needed an interpreter, the witness said: "I do not remember," and the Court invited an interpreter for him. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [19 July 2018]

Crimean Tatar, jailed on fake extremism charges, refuses to be cowered into silence
Ismail Ramazanov has lodged a formal complaint accusing an investigator from the Russian Investigative Committee of falsifying the evidence in his case. He has ample grounds, however it takes courage in occupied Crimea, especially when you have just spent six months held prisoner after being savagely beaten to try to extract a ’confession’ to fictitious ’propaganda of extremism’ charges. Ramazanov spent much of his time in detention thinking about other political prisoners, like Oleg Sentsov, and passing on pictures and messages of support. The 31-year-old from the village Novy Mir was released from custody on 14 July only because even Russian procedural legislation does not allow for more than six months detention on the ‘propaganda of extremism’ charge which Ramazaonv is facing. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [20 July 2018]

Appeals against FIFA World Cup final pitch invaders’ detention set for July 23
The Moscow City Court will consider appeals against detention of four activists behind a pitch invasion during FIFA World Cup 2018 final match between Croatia and France on July 23, the court’s spokesperson Ulyana Solopova has told RAPSI. On July 16, Moscow’s Khamovnichesky District Court ordered the detention of Olga Pakhtusova, Olga Karacheva, Pyotr Verzilov and Veronica Nikulshina. They were found guilty of violating the rules of conduct for audience during sporting events. They were also prohibited from attending sports events for 3 years. Moreover, they could face fines of up to 1.500 rubles for illegal wear of uniform with rank badges, governmental paramilitary and law enforcement organizations’ symbols. [...]
Source: RAPSI [20 July 2018]

Arthur Khamkhoev's mother turns to head of Investigative Committee for help
Aza Khamkhoeva, a resident of the Ingush village of Yandare, has appealed to Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF), with a demand to investigate the torture that had been applied to her son. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Albert Khamkhoev, a resident of Ingushetia, was detained and accused of illegal arms circulation after the militants' attack on the DPS (road-and-patrol service) post in Yandare committed on November 5, 2017. Khamkhoev was tortured after detention, but refused to admit his guilt. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [20 July 2018]

Law enforcers refuse to explain detention of six Chechen residents to their relatives
Relatives know nothing about what the six detained residents of the village of Borozdinovskaya are accused of; and are afraid to comment on what happened, fearing "additional problems," said one of the villagers. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on July 12, relatives reported detention of six men in Borozdinovskaya. "They were detained without presenting any charges; they are kept by [law enforcers], who explain nothing. Saying anything in this situation means creating additional problems," one of the residents of Borozdinovskaya, whose close relative is among the detainees, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent. Other locals believe that the fact that relatives hesitate to make public the detention is in favour of law enforcers. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [20 July 2018]

Putin Creates New State Awards For Journalists
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an order creating two state awards targeted at journalists. The decree, published on the Kremlin's website on July 19, creates the "honored journalist of the Russian Federation" and "honored worker in the areas of communications and information of the Russian Federation" awards. Opponents and media-freedom groups say Putin has tightened state control over the media since he came to power in 2000, reining in independent broadcasters, limiting coverage of opposition politicians, and keeping signs of dissent off TV screens. The killings of several journalists who have sought to expose corruption, including investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, have underscored the risks faced by those who challenge the authorities. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [19 July 2018]

19 July 2018

posted 19 Jul 2018, 10:03 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 Jul 2018, 10:14 ]

Titiev's trial launched despite advocate's absence
Today, the state prosecutor has persuaded the Shali City Court to start trying Oyub Titiev in the absence of Ilya Novikov, one of the defenders. Oyub Titiev, the head of the Grozny office of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", was arrested on January 11 on charges of possessing marijuana. He pleaded not guilty and stated that the drugs had been planted on him. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that yesterday, on July 18, the Shali City Court agreed to postpone the session till today after Titiev's defence declared that the absence of Ilya Novikov was a violation of Titiev's right to defence. Novikov is busy in another trial and did not expect that the Titiev's one would start without the consideration by the Russia's Supreme Court of the complaint about the change of the territorial jurisdiction of the case, the defenders have explained. The advocate Ilya Novikov has failed to appear at the today's session of the Shali City Court; and the judge read out his petition to postpone the session, as Novikov is engaged in another trial and was not able to fly to Grozny today, the press service of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" has reported. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [19 July 2018]

Police Search House Of Arrested Crimean Tatar's Home
Police in Ukrain'es Russia-annexed Crimea region have searched the house of detained Crimean Tatar Muslim Aliyev. Aliyev was arrested in 2016 along with five other men for what Russia-controlled authorities said was "membership in the Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamic group," which is banned in Russia but legal in Ukraine. The arrested men and their supporters say the case is politically motivated. Crimea-based human rights group Crimean Solidarity says the search of Aliyev's house was conducted on July 19 as part of a separate investigation of Aliyev's daughter, Gulsum Aliyeva, who is facing charges of inciting ethnic strife. Authorities have not commented on the search. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [19 July 2018]

Annexed Crimea Compiles ‘Enemies of Reunification’ List
Local authorities in Crimea have compiled a list of artists and officials opposed to Moscow’s annexation of the peninsula. Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 after a contested referendum that was unrecognized by the international community. Several Crimean activists opposed to the annexation, including a Ukrainian film director now on hunger strike, face charges that supporters say are politically motivated. Crimea’s Civic Chamber announced on Wednesday that it had drafted a so-called “Crimean Dossier” that includes celebrities and politicians who have publicly spoken out against the annexation. “The figures included in the ‘Crimean Dossier’ spread unreliable information that incites national hatred against Crimea, becoming the main heroes of fake news,” the chamber said. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [19 July 2018]

Protesters Rally Outside State Duma in Moscow Over Pension Reform
Opposition activists and Muscovites gathered on Thursday to protest the government’s pension reforms that would see a hike in the country’s retirement age.  The plan to raise the pension age was first announced on June 14, the opening day of the World Cup, in what critics say was an attempt to obfuscate the unpopular measure. [...]  Hundreds gathered on Thursday morning in front of the State Duma as deputies discussed the bill, which would see the retirement age for men increase from 60 to 65 years and for women from 55 to 63 years. Protesters wore red ribbons and chanted “shame” at lawmakers passing into the Duma, while deputies from the Communist Party and the Just Russia Party approached the protesters to express their opposition to the bill. [...] Although there were no reports of arrests in Moscow, dozens of police officers watched the crowd from a distance. A protest on Wednesday in central St. Petersburg saw 17 demonstrators arrested, the Media Zona news website reported[...]

Source: The Moscow Times [19 July 2018]

Russian Police to Resume Publishing Rape and Murder News With World Cup Over
Russian police have reportedly been released from a gag order on publishing crime reports days after the World Cup was brought to a close. Reports surfaced on June 14, the eve of the football tournament, that an Interior Ministry directive had ordered its branches to self-censor their usual crime reports. Instead, the law enforcement websites were instructed to share exclusively positive stories, such as successful police operations. The operational reports will resume on July 25, an anonymous Interior Ministry source told the FlashNord news website on Wednesday. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [19 July 2018]

They terrorize children in Russian-occupied Crimea & then they come to do it again
As feared, it has taken Russia just three days after the end of the World Cup to again revert to political repression in occupied Crimea with the target this time a young woman who has had a serious medical condition since childhood. And her nine-year-old brother who has already seen his father taken away after a similar armed invasion of their home. It seems no criminal charges have yet been laid against 21-year-old Gulsum Alieva, and the search that began at 6.30 am on 19 July and lasted several hours was officially not a search, but an ‘inspection’. The family of political prisoner Muslim Aliev had every reason to not notice any major difference when a large contingent of armed and masked men turned up at their home in Verkhnya Kutuzovka. Phones and other technology were removed, and Gulsum Alieva was taken away for interrogation.  Lawyer Edem Semedlyaev arrived early at the home but was not admitted, a flagrant breach of the law that has become standard over the last four years. Gulsum Alieva has been active over the last two years in the Crimean Solidarity civic initiative which helps political prisoners and their families and circulates information about the ongoing spiral of repression in Crimea. [...]

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [19 July 2018]

State Duma adopts bill extending disciplinary sanctions against judges
A bill extending disciplinary sanctions against judges has passed its third and final reading in the State Duma. The bill envisages introducing such punishment as reduction of judges in qualification category for serious disciplinary offenses. This disciplinary penalty would allow qualification board of judges to take disciplinary actions against judges more accurately and differentiate liability for committed violations depending on the situation. Amendments are proposed to the laws On the Status of Judges in the Russian Federation and On Bodies of the Judiciary in the Russian Federation. They are aimed at the shift in the role of court chairmen in judge appointment and improvement of the order of judges’ disciplinary responsibility, an explanatory note to the bill reads. [...]

Source: RAPSI [19 July 2018]

18 July 2018

posted 18 Jul 2018, 08:34 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 18 Jul 2018, 09:21 ]

Halting Start For Chechen Rights Activist's Trial Amid Dispute Over Venue
The politically charged drug-possession trial of a prominent human rights activist in Chechnya has gotten off to a halting start as jailed defendant Oyub Titiyev's lawyer did not show up on its opening day. Attorney Ilya Novikov stayed away from the hearing on July 18 because he thought Titiyev's motion to move the trial out of Chechnya was still under consideration, the defense team said. Shortly after the hearing started, the Shali district court adjourned the trial of Titiyev, the head of the Moscow-based right group Memorial's embattled office in Chechnya, until July 19. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [18 July 2018]

Defence convinces Court to wait for Oyub Titiev's advocate
Today, a court hearing in the case against Oyub Titiev has been postponed for a day after the defenders declared the absence of one of the Oyub Titiev's advocates to be a violation of the right to defence. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that the Shali City Court scheduled for today the first hearing to consider the merits of the Oyub Titiev's case. On July 15, two days before the trial, the Chechen TV Channel showed a story accusing Oyub Titiev. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [18 July 2018]

Asylum Seeker Extradited to Russia Despite Protests by Rights Watchdogs
Slovak authorities have extradited an asylum seeker from the Russian Caucasus region of Ingushetia to Russia, the Justice Ministry said on Wednesday, despite protests by rights watchdogs and a UN Human Rights Committee ruling. Aslan Yandiev had been held in custody in Slovakia since 2011 on a Russian warrant for involvement in a series of bomb attacks in 2006 in Vladikavkaz, Russia's FSB security service said in a statement. Yandiev first asked for asylum in Slovakia under a false name in 2008 after fleeing Ingushetia, saying he had been tortured into confessing to terrorism-related crimes, his attorney Lukas Opett told Reuters. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [18 July 2018]

Browder: Trump May Have Agreed To Help Russian Prosecutors Pursue Him
British-American investor and rights activist William Browder says U.S. President Donald Trump may have made a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their summit to help Russian law enforcement pursue him. In posts on Twitter and an op-ed piece in Time magazine on July 17, Browder said Putin wanted access to him, and in exchange is willing to give U.S. law enforcement agencies access to the 12 Russian intelligence agents who were accused last week of hacking and leaking U.S. Democratic Party documents in an effort to bolster Trump's chances in the 2016 election campaign. "Putin wants to swap 12 Russian GRU agents who hacked the U.S. election for me in his meeting with Trump in Helsinki," Browder said on Twitter. He said Trump appeared to agree with the idea at the summit on July 16 by nodding "approvingly" and later saying he considered it "an incredible offer." [...]
Source: RFE/RL [18 July 2018]

Russian Prosecutors Seek Ex-U.S. Ambassador McFaul for Questioning in Browder Case
Russian prosecutors have said that they seek to question U.S. officials, including a former ambassador to Moscow, as part of an ongoing investigation into financial crimes allegedly committed by U.S.-born hedge fund manager William Browder. Russia branded Browder a national security threat and banned him from the country in 2005, when his Hermitage Capital fund held more than $4 billion in investments. In 2013, Browder was convicted in absentia of tax evasion and sentenced to nine years in prison. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [18 July 2018]

Russian Director Serebrennikov’s House Arrest Extended Until August
A Moscow court extended the house arrest of theater director Kirill Serebrennikov for another two months while he awaits trial on fraud charges that supporters in the arts community argue are politically motivated. Serebrennikov was charged last year with embezzling 68 million rubles ($1.1 million) of state funds designated for an art project linked to Moscow’s Gogol Center theater. He faces up to 10 years behind bars. The Basmanny Court extended Serebrennikov’s house arrest until Aug. 22, exactly a year into the director's arrest, Interfax reported Wednesday. The ruling is the fourth consecutive extension of Serebrennikov’s pre-trial detention. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [18 July 2018]

17 July 2018

posted 17 Jul 2018, 13:24 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 17 Jul 2018, 13:51 ]

Council of Europe Commissioner demands release of Oyub Titiev
Today, Council of Europe (CE) Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic has called on the General Prosecutor of Russia to take measures to release Oyub Titiev, the head of the "Memorial" in Grozny. She has also spoken in favour of transferring the rights defender's case to be considered outside Chechnya. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on January 11, Oyub Titiev was arrested on the charge of marijuana possession. The rights defender complained that a law enforcer planted the drugs on him. The authorities of the Chechen Republic have repeatedly claimed that Oyub Titiev was guilty. "I trust you would agree that deprivation of liberty may only be applied as a measure of last resort where other less restrictive measures cannot ensure the interests of justice. I would therefore be most grateful if you could provide information regarding the specific actions taken by your institution following the findings of the Presidential Human Rights Council in relation to Mr Oyub Titiev. In the meantime, I believe that decisive steps should be taken to ensure respect for his rights, including by urgently releasing him from custody," states the Dunja Mijatovic's letter addressed to Yuri Chaika, General Prosecutor of Russia, and published today on the official website of the Council of Europe Commissioner on Human Rights. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [17 July 2018]

Chechen TV shows accusatory story about Titiev two days before the trial
The main prosecution witness in Oyub Titiev's case, a drug addict himself, appeared on the air of a Chechen TV channel. However, local residents assert that the story with accusations against Titiev and his colleagues from the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" was unconvincing. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [17 July 2018]

World Cup: Pussy Riot protesters jailed over pitch demonstration
Four members of the Russian punk activist group Pussy Riot have been jailed for 15 days for disrupting the World Cup final by running onto the pitch. They were accused of violating the rules for spectators at sporting events and wearing police uniforms illegally. They were also banned from attending sports events for three years. Pussy Riot said it was a protest against human rights abuses in Russia. Stewards hauled the four off the pitch. The incident interrupted the second half of the Croatia v France match for about 25 seconds. France went on to win 4-2. [...]
Source: BBC [17 July 2018]

ECHR condemns Pussy Riot and Anna Politkovskaya cases
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has condemned Russia for its handling of two high-profile cases. It said Russia had violated five articles of the human rights convention in its arrest and conviction of Pussy Riot members in 2012. Three women from the activist group were arrested after performing a protest song in a Moscow cathedral. Separately, the ECHR also heavily criticised the investigation into journalist Anna Politkovskaya's murder. Politkovskaya was shot dead in a lift in her block of flats in 2006. Five men were found guilty of her murder in 2014, although it is still not known who commissioned the assassination. The investigative reporter was a vocal critic of Russia's war in Chechnya, and of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia had failed to "take adequate investigatory steps" to find who commissioned the murder, violating Article 2 of the convention, the court said. In 2015, Russia's parliament passed a law allowing it to overrule judgements from the ECHR after the court ruled against the country for state spying. [...]
Source: BBC [17 July 2018]

Russian Blogger Gets Suspended Sentence for 'Extremist' Religious Joke
A Russian blogger has received a 1.5-year suspended sentence for hate speech over jokes that reportedly offended the country’s Muslim population. Last year, Russia blacklisted two videos in which Ilya Davydov, who performs standup comedy and blogs under the alias Ilya Maddyson, jokes about the Quran. Davydov was reportedly forced to flee Russia temporarily last year after receiving threats following the publication of one of the videos. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [17 July 2018]

In Nalchik, authorities ban action in defence of native languages
In Nalchik, activists tried to get a sanction to hold on July 17 a rally and a picket against a bill on the voluntary study of national languages. However, the city authorities dismissed both notifications for formal reasons. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on June 19, the State Duma adopted in the first reading the amendments to the Federal Law "On Education", providing for the study of the state languages of the republics of Russia "on a voluntary basis." By July 4, a petition in defence of native languages gained more than 40,000 signatures. The day of July 17 was chosen for holding rallies and pickets against the law on native languages in different regions of Russia. "I express my protest to the Nalchik city administration and the leader of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (KBR) in connection with a double refusal to sanction holding a peaceful rally and a picket against the adoption of the law on native languages," activist Lidia Zhigunova has written on her Facebook page today. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [17 July 2018]

Circulation of moloko+ confiscated in Krasnodar after attack on journalists
Law enforcers have seized all the copies of the moloko+ almanac during its presentation in Krasnodar. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on July 15, Pavel Nikulin and Sofiko Arifdjanova, the journalists of the edition named moloko+, were attacked in Krasnodar. Unidentified persons sprayed gas into their faces at a public transport stop. The journalists had planned to hold a presentation of their almanac on that day; the almanac is on the history of revolutionary movement and terrorism. After the attack, the pre-planned presentation took place in the "Typography" Cultural Centre, but law enforcers interfered into the event. They came to the Centre, referring to an anonymous signal about the spread of extremist literature, Pavel Nikulin, the editor-in-chief of the moloko+, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [17 July 2018]

Russian Court Adjourns Ukrainian Man's Terrorism Trial Shortly After Its Start
A court in Russia adjourned the trial of Ukrainian citizen Pavlo Hryb, who is charged with abetting terrorism, shortly after the trial started on July 17. The North Caucasus Regional Court in Rostov-on-Don adjourned the trial until July 23 after the defendant's lawyer did not show up. Hryb, a 20-year-old Ukrainian citizen, went missing in late August after he traveled to Belarus to meet a woman he met online in what his relatives believe was a trap set by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB). Russia's FSB informed Kyiv later that Hryb was being held in a detention center in Russia on suspicion of abetting terrorism. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [17 July 2018]

16 July 2018

posted 16 Jul 2018, 10:38 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 16 Jul 2018, 11:12 ]

Rights defenders mark anniversary of Natalia Estemirova's murder
On the ninth anniversary of the death of Natalia Estemirova, a member of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" in Chechnya, rights defenders have declared their willingness to continue fighting to release their colleague Oyub Titiev, accused of drug possession. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on July 15, 2009, Natalia Estemirova, a member of the HRC) "Memorial" in Chechnya, was kidnapped in Grozny, taken to Ingushetia, and killed. "Our friend and colleague Natasha Estemirova was killed nine years ago. Today, instead of telling a story about Natasha, a real hero, the Grozny TV Channel will show a new film to expose the 'Memorial' and Oyub. And we will commemorate Natasha today and visit her grave at the cemetery (in the village of Koshkeldy, – note of the 'Caucasian Knot')," members of the HRC "Memorial" wrote in a message published in Telegram. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [16 July 2018]

World Cup: Pussy Riot protesters charged over pitch demonstration
Russian authorities have charged four members of the punk activist group Pussy Riot for disrupting the World Cup final by running onto the pitch. They are accused of violating the rules for spectators at sporting events and of wearing police uniforms illegally. The two offences carry maximum fines of 10,000 roubles (£121; $161) and 1,500 roubles, respectively. Pussy Riot said it was a protest against human rights abuses in Russia. Stewards hauled the four off the pitch. [...]
Source: BBC [16 July 2018]

Pussy Riot Claims Field Invasion At World Cup Final
The Russian protest performance group Pussy Riot has claimed responsibility for a pitch invasion during the football World Cup final. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [16 July 2018]

World Cup Stadium Grounds Washed Away by Rain
Heavy rainfall has washed away soil outside one of Russia’s World Cup stadiums before the football tournament ended on Sunday. Photos and videos on social media showed clay soil eroding around the $270-million Volgograd Arena, while footage from inside the venue depicted flooded stalls and staircases. Authorities declared a state of emergency Sunday after heavy rains nearly paralyzed the southern Russian city. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [16 July 2018]

Ukrainian gets jail sentence in Russia for involvement in a legal organization in Ukraine
Roman Ternovsky has been sentenced by a court in Rostov on the Don to two and a half years’ imprisonment for taking part in what Russia calls ‘extremist activities’. The charges, incredibly, pertain to Ternovsky’s involvement in his native Ukraine in Right Sector, an organization that is legal in Ukraine. The ‘indictment’ against Ternovsky, posted on the official website of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office does not even attempt to conceal the legal absurdity of this prosecution. “According to the investigators, the man, an active member of the extremist organization Right Sector which was banned by a Russian Supreme Court ruling on the territory of Russia, took part from September 2015 to December 2016 in anti-Russian protests on the territory of Ukraine.” Ternovsky went to Russia in December 2016 from where he is supposed to have posted on Facebook material “aimed at drawing attention to the extremist organization Right Sector”. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [16 July 2018]

Four alleged members of Hizb ut-Tahrir plead guilty to terrorism
Four alleged members of the St. Petersburg cell of Hizb ut-Tahrir terrorist group banned in Russia have pleaded guilty to terrorist activity, RAPSI reports Monday from the Moscow District Military Court’s offsite hearing held in the Leningrad District Military Court. In total, there are eight defendants, who stand charged with participation in the activities of a terrorist organization, including citizens of Russia and Tajikistan. [...]
Source: RAPSI [16 July 2018]

Russia must ‘account for role’ in shooting down MH17, says G7
Statement comes on eve of summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin and just before anniversary of 17 July 2014 air disaster
Russia must “account for its role” in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine and cooperate with efforts to establish truth and justice, foreign ministers of the world’s industrial democracies said on Sunday. The statement by the G7 ministers came on the eve of a summit between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, but also just before the anniversary of the 17 July 2014 air disaster which killed all 298 crew and passengers when the airliner was shot down. G7 ministers said a joint investigation into the crash had yielded “compelling, significant and deeply disturbing” findings on Russia’s involvement. [...]
Source: The Guardian [16 July 2018]

U.K. Watchdog Says Russia's RT Breached Broadcasting Code Again
British media regulator Ofcom says Russia's state-funded international television network, RT, broke Britain's broadcasting code when it presented tweets and e-mails sent by its own staff as coming from viewers of a current-affairs program. Ofcom's July 16 statement came as the watchdog continues an investigation into whether RT breached impartiality rules in its reporting about a nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [16 July 2018]

Slain Russian Tsar, Family Commemorated On 100th Anniversary Of Executions
Fresh genetic tests on the bones of Russia's last tsar and his family have confirmed their authenticity, Russian investigators announced on the eve of the 100th anniversary of their executions. Russia's Investigative Committee, which looks into serious crimes, announced on July 16 that the tests ordered by the Russian Orthodox Church "confirmed the remains found belonged to the former Emperor Nicholas II, his family members, and members of their entourage." Investigators noted that the body of Nicholas's father, Alexander III, had been exhumed in order to prove "they are father and son." The results could be a step toward the Russian Orthodox Church finally recognizing the bones and burying them with full rites. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [16 July 2018]

Co-Defendant In Navalny Embezzlement Case Reported Dead
Pyotr Ofitserov, a businessman who was a co-defendant in one of the criminal cases against Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, has reportedly died at the age of 43. Journalist Yevgenia Albats posted on Twitter on July 13 that Ofitserov had died, but she did not provide any details. The independent news website Meduza also reported the news. The daily Moskovsky Komsomolets reported on July 9 that Ofitserov had been hospitalized in serious condition with a concussion and head trauma. Doctors told the daily he'd suffered the injuries during a "fit" of unspecified nature. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [16 July 2018]

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