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22 June 2018

posted 22 Jun 2018, 10:25 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 22 Jun 2018, 10:37 ]

Hunger-Striking Sentsov's Health Deteriorating, Lawyer Says
The health of jailed Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who has been on hunger strike for almost 40 days in a Russian penal colony, is deteriorating, his lawyer says. Dmitry Dinze told RFE/RL on June 22 that Sentsov had lost almost 15 kilograms since he started the hunger strike on May 14, and was experiencing problems with his heart and kidneys. According to Dinze, Sentsov's condition abruptly deteriorated on the 26th day of his hunger strike, and the administration of the penal colony in far-northern Yamalo-Nenets region had rushed him to a local hospital. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [22 June 2018]

Litvinenko widow threatens to sue RT over 'libellous' claims
RT and another pro-Kremlin channel alleged her husband was murdered by a close friend
The widow of Alexander Litvinenko is threatening to sue RT and another pro-Kremlin TV channel after they screened “libellous” claims that the Russian dissident was murdered by his close friend Alex Goldfarb. Marina Litvinenko and Goldfarb have demanded retractions from RT and the state-run Channel One after they made a series of “reckless and defamatory allegations” in March and April, in the aftermath of the poisonings of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, they say. [...]
Source: The Guardian [22 June 2018]

Ingush Ombudsman appeals to FSB about refusal to give out Ibragim Aliev's body
For more than a week, relatives of Ibragim Aliev killed after his detention cannot get his body for burial, the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" reports today. According to the HRC, the law enforcement bodies have not yet responded to the Ombudsman's letter concerning the problem. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in the morning on June 8, law enforcers searched a house of Ibragim Aliev, a 29-year-old resident of Nazran. According to his relatives, the law enforcers beat the man and taken him away with them to some unknown destination. The family members of Ibragim Aliev were informed that he was killed when he tried to escape, but his body was not given out to the relatives. The family members of the killed man told rights defenders that a grenade and an improvised explosive device (IED) found during a search were planted on Ibragim Aliev.

Source: Caucasian Knot [22 June 2018]

Russia Cuts Back HIV Adoption Ban
A top court has scrapped Russia’s de-facto ban on allowing people who live with HIV to adopt children. The changes were anticipated this summer as part of a broader state strategy to combat the epidemic and reduce stigma. Russia’s strategy to eradicate HIV focuses on working with at-risk groups, spreading awareness and fighting discrimination. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [22 June 2018]

Ukrainians deported from occupied Crimea for rejecting Russian citizenship
Four years after Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, over two thousand Ukrainians have been prosecuted for not having Russian documents, with 366 people actually deported. Many of them had lived in Crimea all their lives, and 40 were people who also had family ties with Crimea or where in a civil marriage. This is overt discrimination of Ukrainians who have not taken on the citizenship of an occupying power. Russia is in grave breach of international law in forcing Ukrainians to either take on Russian citizenship, or to obtain ‘temporary or permanent residence and work permits’. For Ukrainians with children, it has long been next to impossible to not have Russian citizenship, because of the problems otherwise with employment, medical insurance, registering children in schools, etc. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [22 June 2018]

Putin Advisers Question Legality Of Prosecution Of Jehovah's Witnesses
Advisers to Russian President Vladimir Putin have questioned the legality of criminal cases opened against members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, saying law enforcement is misinterpreting a ruling last year by jailing people for collective bible reading and praying. "It cannot but be a cause for concern because the criminal prosecutions and detentions have taken on a systemic character," the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights said in a statement on June 21. "The situation evokes associations with the Soviet period, when Jehovah's Witnesses suffered groundless repression because of their faith," the council said. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [21 June 2018]

21 June 2018

posted 21 Jun 2018, 12:20 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 21 Jun 2018, 12:59 ]

Council Of Europe Calls On Russia To Free Ukrainian Filmmaker Sentsov
The chief of Europe's top human rights body is urging Russia to release imprisoned Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who is currently on hunger strike while serving a 20-year sentence. Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary-general of the Council of Europe, on June 20 told Russian Ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova that Sentsov "should be released on humanitarian grounds," the Interfax news agency reported after their meeting in Moscow. "If there is a need for a request for pardoning him, I would gladly do it on the basis of the European Convention of Human Rights," Jagland added. On June 18, a dozen leading names in the Russian arts, including Andrei Zvyagintsev and fellow filmmaker Aleksandr Sokurov, called for President Vladimir Putin to pardon Sentsov. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [20 June 2018]

G7 Ambassadors 'Deeply Concerned' About Jailed Ukrainian Filmmaker Sentsov
Ambassadors of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized states say they are "deeply concerned" about the situation of film director Oleh Sentsov and "other Ukrainian prisoners and detainees" in Russia. "Their release, as part of a broader bilateral exchange of detainees, would be an important humanitarian step forward," the countries' ambassadors to Kyiv said in a joint statement released via Twitter on June 21. The G7 consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, and the United States. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [21 June 2018]

Mother Of Crimean Tatar Jailed In Russia 'Starts Hunger Strike'
The mother of a jailed Crimean Tatar man says she has started a hunger strike, calling on the Russian authorities to release her son, who was convicted of terrorism charges. Raime Primova told RFE/RL that she started the hunger strike on June 20 after sending a request to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) to demand her son, Nuri Primov, be freed. Primova said she was only drinking water and a doctor was monitoring her health. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [21 June 2018]

Rostov blogger arrested after filming a law enforcer
Rostov-on-Don court has passed a three-day administrative arrest to Gaspar Avakyan, a video blogger, founding him guilty of disobeying policemen. Avakyan claims that he was detained at the request of a law official, whom he exposed of violating traffic rules. Gaspar Avakyan has stated that he was detained after he had attracted law enforcers' attention to two violations of traffic rules committed by a policeman – an incorrect parking and crossing the road in a wrong place. The blogger asserts that the policeman received "statements" for his violations. However, another law enforcer, whose offence the blogger also wanted to fix on June 18, detained him in the street and called the police. "Avakyan was detained under Article 19.3 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses (disobedience to a policeman's legitimate demand)," the edition "Privet-Rostov" quotes Artemiy Zaitsev, an Avakyan friend, as saying. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [21 June 2018]

"Rosbalt": investigators squeeze data about Nemtsov's murder customer from convicts
The Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) decided to establish who ordered the assassination of politician Boris Nemtsov. After Chechen natives sentenced in the case had refused to cooperate with investigators, they started facing placement to punishment cells and to strict custody conditions, the "Rosbalt" reports. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on July 13, 2017, the Moscow District Military Court sentenced Zaur Dadaev, whom the investigators named to be a killer of Boris Nemtsov, as well as Anzor Gubashev, Shagid Gubashev, Tamerlan Eskerkhanov, and Khamzat Bakhaev to 11-20 years of imprisonment. n June 20, the "Rosbalt" reported with reference to a source from the law enforcement bodies that the ICRF and the FSB returned to investigating the Boris Nemtsov's murder and tried to reveal a customer of the assassination. In that connection, all the persons sentenced in the case are being subjected to unprecedented pressure in penal colonies. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [21 June 2018]

Three residents of Chechnya fined for posting Timur Mutsuraev's songs on social network
Three users of social networks fined in Chechnya for posting banned songs of Timur Mutsuraev, said they were not aware about the ban, an official from the Prosecutor's Office reports today. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in the period from 2016 to June 2018, in Chechnya, at least 16 people were fined for disseminating banned songs of Timur Mutsuraev. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [21 June 2018]

Russian Court Says ‘Inconvenience’ No Longer Cause to Deny Protests
Municipal administrations across Russia have regularly used various provisions of the Administrative Code to deny permits, as well as to fine or jail protesters. Most recently, the Kremlin passed a new order to restrict protests for the duration of the football World Cup, underway in 11 Russian cities until July 15. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [21 June 2018]

Police Can Confiscate Phones Without a Criminal Prosecution
Police can confiscate cell phones from social media users who have posted content they deem extremist, even without a criminal prosecution, according to a ruling from Russia’s top court. Russian authorities have increasingly targeted ordinary Russians for social media activity, including handing out jail sentences for posting images and comments critical of the country’s leadership. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [21 June 2018]

Iran Women's Activist Says Blocked From Protesting at Russia World Cup
An Iranian women's activist said she was stripped of a banner at the World Cup in Russia on Wednesday and blocked from a stadium for two hours after an earlier demonstration drew international headlines. Maryam Qashqaei Shojaei said she was held for two hours by security officials at the main stadium in Kazan ahead of the match between Iran and Spain, having planned to raise a banner to protest Iran's ban on women attending stadium matches. "When I was trying to get in with my banner security told me I can't take it in," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Kazan. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [21 June 2018]

Browder’s sentence in case on tax evasion and deliberate bankruptcy upheld
The Moscow City Court on Thursday upheld the sentence passed on Hermitage Capital CEO William Browder in absentia for tax evasion and deliberate bankruptcy, the court’s spokesperson Ulyana Solopova told RAPSI. Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court sentenced Browder to 9 years in prison in absentia on December 29. His business partner Ivan Cherkasov received 8 years in prison. The defendants were also fined 200,000 rubles (about $3,500) each. Moreover, the court granted a civil lawsuit and recovered 4.3 billion rubles (about $75 million) from the defendants in favor of the Russian Federation. The ruling was appealed. The Moscow City Court therefore dismissed the defendants’ appeal. [...]
Source: RAPSI [21 June 2018]

Russian journalist convicted of extremism appeals his sentence
Lawyers representing RBC news agency journalist Alexander Sokolov, who was found guilty of extremism, have filed an appeal with the Moscow City Court against his 3.5-year sentence in prison for extremism, the court’s database reads. On August 10, 2017, four members of the Initiative Group to Campaign for a Referendum for Responsible Government, RBC news agency journalist Alexander Sokolov, publicist Yury Mukhin, civil activists Kirill Barabash and Valery Parfyonov were convicted of extremism. Sokolov was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison, while Barabash and Parfyonov were given 4 years behind bars. Barabash was also stripped of a lieutenant colonel rank. Mukhin received a 4-year suspended term and additional 4 years of probation. Prison terms of Barabash and Parfyonov were later reduced by 2 months. [...]
Source: RAPSI [21 June 2018]

'This is how Russia could look': World Cup fans surprised by relaxed policing
Visitors expecting police state have been pleasantly surprised but when the tournament ends things are likely to return to normal
One of the defining images of the World Cup has been delirious scenes of South American fans marching, chanting and drinking into the early hours on Russian streets. For many visitors expecting a police state, the laxity of the police and authorities in the last week has been a revelation. One video of Russian policemen fretting over a pair of passed-out Swedes has gone viral. Small regional cities such as Saransk have been flooded by armies of Colombians and Peruvians, marching unimpeded down main avenues with banners and flags. But for those with experience in protest and political opposition here, there is a kind of dark humour in the spectacle: foreigners can spontaneously gather on city streets, while Russians themselves cannot. [...]
Source: The Guardian [21 June 2018]

20 June 2018

posted 20 Jun 2018, 09:22 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 21 Jun 2018, 12:18 ]

Russian jailed for defence of Sentsov, Balukh and other political prisoners during World Cup
Dmitry Kalinychev from Nizhny Novgorod has been jailed for 25 days after a single-person picket on 18 June in defence of over seventy Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russia and occupied Crimea, as well as Russian political prisoners. Even according to Russia’s repressive legislation, such solitary pickets are legal, however Moscow has clearly ordered a crackdown on protesters during the World Cup, together with the removal of down-and-outs and slaughter of hundreds of stray dogs. Kalinychev’s brief single-person picket on 18 June took place while Sweden was playing South Korea in Nizhny Novgorod. His placard, in English, has one of the stark images drawn by Ukrainian artist Andriy Yermolenko in protest at Russia’s hosting of the World Cup because of the blood on its hand from aggression in Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere. The words are about 200 political prisoners, including over 70 Ukrainians. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [20 April 2018]

Imprisoned Russian editor wounded, hospitalized
Russian authorities should immediately release jailed journalist Aleksandr Valov and ensure that he receives necessary medical care, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The editor-in-chief and founder of local news website BlogSochi, who has been in detention since January on extortion charges, was hospitalized with abdominal wounds on June 14, according to a medical report viewed by CPJ, his defense lawyer, Aleksandr Popkov, and media reports. According to a medical report dated June 15, which was viewed by CPJ, Valov was operated on "for the penetrating wound in the abdomen" the previous day, and "his health condition did not allow him to be transported and attend" a previously scheduled hearing. On June 18, a Sochi city court held the hearing in Valov's absence and extended his detention until July 19, 2018. Speaking to CPJ from Sochi, Popkov said the case's chief investigator, Yevgeniy Sidorenko, told him at the hearing that Valov had stabbed himself with a pen in the abdomen. Popkov said he had reasons to doubt the official account of the incident. "Valov was preparing his defense and was not depressed. This incident needs to be investigated," said Popkov. While in detention, Valov had filed numerous complaints about harsh conditions in prison, including cold cells, bad food, and lack of medical care for inmates, Popkov added. [...]

Source: Committee for the Protection of Journalists [19 June 2018]

Russian Human Rights Council to draft concept of national action plan
Russia’s Presidential Council for Human Rights will create a concept of the human rights national action plan, the advisory body’s chairman Mikhail Fedotov has told RAPSI. According to Fedotov, the human rights national plan is a new form of strategic planning used in number of countries, which was proposed by the UN. [...]
Source: RAPSI [20 June 2018]

Russian Duma OKs 'Native Languages' Bill In First Reading
The lower house of Russia’s parliament has approved in its first reading a controversial bill on the teaching of native languages in schools. In the draft law approved by the State Duma late on June 19, the lawmakers included the Russian language in the list of native languages that the pupils can learn at schools across the country. Over the past year, the issue of native languages at schools has been a subject of controversy in Russia's “ethnic” regions, where indigenous, non-Russian ethnic groups are well-represented. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [20 June 2018]

Dagestani villagers achieve suspension of demolition of their houses
Local authorities have managed to agree with court marshals about the temporary suspension of the court decision to demolish 19 houses built near the federal gas pipeline in the village of Novaya Shangoda-Shitlib. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on June 19 a protest rally was held in the village of Novaya Shangoda-Shitlib with a demand to cancel the decision to demolish the houses. The villagers' protest action lasted for more than eight hours. They dispersed only after the machinery and vehicles of law enforcers and builders left the village, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent, who was present at the rally, has reported. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [20 June 2018]

Igor Nagavkin stops hunger strike
Igor Nagavkin, a Volgograd rights defender, has stopped his hunger strike announced in the Butyrka SIZO (pre-trial prison) in protest against his too long arrest. The "Caucasian Knot" has informed that Igor Nagavkin's hunger strike was reported by his sister and Lev Ponomaryov, the head of the All-Russian Movement "For Human Rights". According to the latter, Nagavkin went on a hunger strike on May 31; on June 13, he asked the court to remove his advocate. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [19 June 2018]

As U.S. Withdraws, Russia Seeks UN Human Rights Council Seat
Russia has put forward its candidacy for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) after the United States withdrew from participation in the Geneva-based body halfway through its three-year term. The UN Human Rights Council, founded in 2006, has a permanent agenda item on Israeli human rights violations in occupied Palestinian territories that Washington wanted removed. The U.S. cited “unending hostility toward Israel” in quitting the council on Tuesday, drawing criticism that the Trump administration is turning a blind eye to human rights abuses. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [20 June 2018]

Russia: Government vs. Rights Groups
The Battle Chronicle
For the past four years, the Kremlin has sought to stigmatize criticism or alternative views of government policy as disloyal, foreign-sponsored, or even traitorous. It is part of a sweeping crackdown to silence critical voices that has included new legal restrictions on the internet, on freedom of expression, on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and on other fundamental freedoms.
An enduring, central feature has been the 2012 law requiring independent groups to register as “foreign agents” if they receive any foreign funding and engage in broadly defined “political activity.” In Russia, the term “foreign agent” can be interpreted by the public only as “spy” or “traitor.” To date, Russia’s Justice Ministry has designated 158 groups as “foreign agents,” courts have levied staggering fines on many groups for failing to comply with the law, and about 30 groups have shut down rather than wear the “foreign agent” label. Organizations targeted include groups that work on human rights, the environment, LGBT issues, and health issues, groups that do polling about social issues. A court forced the closure of AGORA Association, one of Russia’s leading human rights organizations , in response to a Justice Ministry suit alleging that the group violated the “foreign agents” law and carried out work beyond its mandate. The ministry has removed its “foreign agent” tag from over 20 groups, acknowledging that they had stopped accepting foreign funding. Accordingly, as of June 18, 2018, the official list of active “foreign agents” consisted of 76 groups. [...]
Source: Human Rights Watch [18 June 2018]
Source: Human Rights Watch

19 June 2018

posted 19 Jun 2018, 07:03 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 Jun 2018, 07:07 ]

Five Crimean Tatar Activists Get Suspended Prison Terms Over 2014 Protest
A Russian court in Crimea has convicted five Crimean Tatar activists of taking part in "mass disturbances" in February 2014 and handed them suspended prison sentences ranging from 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 years. The court in Simferopol, the capital of the Russian-controlled Ukrainian region, pronounced the verdicts and sentences on June 19. The five men -- Ali Asanov, Mustafa Degermendzhy, Eskendir Kantemirov, Eskendir Emirvaliev, and Arsen Yunusov -- were among a group who staged a protest outside the regional legislature in February 2014. The demonstration occurred as Russia moved to seize control of the Black Sea peninsula following street protests in Kyiv that pushed Moscow-friendly Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from power. The five were arrested and charged by Russian authorities in 2015. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [19 June 2018]

Human Rights Council seeks for health protection steps toward Crimean terrorism convict
Chairman of the Presidential Council for Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov has requested the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) to take prompt health protection actions toward Ukrainian activist Alexander Kolchenko sentenced to 10 years in Russian prison for plotting terrorist attacks in Crimea, the statement published on the advisory body’s website reads. Fedotov also asked the Chelyabinsk Region’s ombudsman Margarita Pavlova to check Kolchenko’s confinement conditions, according to the statement. Earlier, Ukraine’s human rights commissioner Lyudmila Denisova appealed to Fedotov for taking steps necessary to respect Kolchenko’s rights. [...]
Source: RAPSI [19 June 2018]

Russian Journalist Facing Criminal Charges for Posting Court Transcript
Authorities Say Posting is ‘Incitement to Terrorism’
In the early hours of May 18, a team of police and security services’ agents raided the apartment of Viktor Korb, a journalist from Omsk. One of the agents shoved a search warrant in Korb’s face and the team conducted a 10-hour search, turning his home upside down. They seized all electronic devices, documents, and archives belonging to Korb and his family. This was how Korb learned that on May 16, the Omsk Investigative Committee had opened a criminal case against him. Two and half weeks later, he found out the charges: incitement to terrorism, justification of terrorism, or terrorist propaganda. The charges stem from a court transcript Korb posted on April 21, 2015 on his web-site, Patriofil, which he has been running for eight years. It’s the transcript of a fragment of the closing speech made by a controversial Russian blogger, Boris Stomakhin, at his trial in April 2015. The court found Stomakhin guilty of justifying terrorism and sentenced him to five years in prison for his publication about the December 2013 Volgograd bombings. Stomakhin, who ran his own publication, titled Radical Politics, has two prior criminal extremism convictions, from 2006 and 2014, also connected to his writing. [...]
Source: Human Rights Watch [19 June 2018]

Yabloko Party Official Detained In Moscow Over Pension Protest
The head of the Russian opposition party Yabloko's branch in Moscow, Sergei Mitrokhin, has been detained while protesting the government's plan to increase the pension age. An RFE/RL correspondent saw police detain Mitrokhin as he protested alone in front of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, on June 19. Police took him to a nearby precinct house. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [19 June 2018]

Russian prison guard sentenced to 4 years for beating inmate
The Elista City Court has sentenced a penal colony employee Alexey Mutulov to 4 years in prison for beating an inmate, lawyer Vitaly Zubenko has told RAPSI. The defendant has been also prohibited from serving in penitentiary services for 2.5 years. According to the lawyer, in November 2016, Mutulov, a junior inspector of the penal colony’s security department started for no reason beating and strangling a 23-year old inmate. [...]
Source: RAPSI [19 June 2018]

Navalny Plans July 1 Protests Against 'Crime' Of Retirement-Age Increase
Opposition politician Aleksei Navalny is urging Russians to protest on July 1 against the government's plan to raise the retirement age, calling it "robbery" and a crime against the citizenry. "The pension age increase organized by [President Vladimir] Putin and [Prime Minister Dmitry] Medvedev is a real crime," Navalny said in an Instagram post on June 19. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [19 June 2018]

Ukrainian Ombudswoman Not Allowed To Meet With Ukrainian Journalist Held In Russia
Ukrainian ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova was not allowed to meet with Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko in a Moscow detention center, the Ukrainian parliament's deputy speaker says. Iryna Herashchenko wrote on Facebook on June 18 that despite a court’s ruling allowing Denisova to see the journalist, she was not allowed to see him and her written request to see Sushchenko had been sent for approval to the Federal Penitentiary Service. On June 4, the Moscow City Court found Sushchenko guilty of espionage and sentenced him to 12 years in a strict-regime prison. Sushchenko maintains his innocence, saying the case against him is politically motivated. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [19 June 2018]

Ukrainian jailed as ‘extremist’ in Russia for a Facebook post asking for tyres
A Russian court in Novorossiysk has sentenced Ukrainian Mykola Dadey to 18 months’ imprisonment for supposedly ‘encouraging participation in an extremist organization’. The charges are linked to Facebook posts from 2015 when Dadey was in Ukraine where the organization he was seeking to help – the nationalist Right Sector - is entirely legal.  Russia has persistently demonized Right Sector since early 2014, and in November that year it was declared an ‘extremist’ organization and banned in Russia. The organization was at one stage second only to the ruling ‘United Russia’ party in the number of times it was mentioned in the Russian media, with this far exceeding its popularity or influence in Ukraine. The most notorious aspect of Russia’s obsession with Right Sector was seen in the ‘trials’ of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and three other opponents of Russia’s occupation of Crimea. They were accused and convicted of ‘a Right Sector terrorist plot’, although there was no proof at all, and one of the men – Oleksandr Kolchenko – is a committed anarchist for whom Right Sector’s right-wing views are totally alien and unacceptable. [...]

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [19 June 2018]

Dagestani residents claim they are forced to sign letters not to leave country during FIFA World Cup
Residents of Dagestan report that people who have earlier criminal records for their involvement in militant activities are required to sign letters not to leave the republic. Lawyers interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" believe such letters contradict the constitutional human right. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on June 11, the newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" reported about the pressure of the law enforcement bodies on residents of Dagestan on the eve of the FIFA World Cup. People who are included in the police prevention registration lists are forbidden to leave the republic during the FIFA World Cup. Law enforcers require from them to sign letters about not leaving the place, local residents reported. In particular, law enforcers required such letters from people earlier involved in an illegal armed formation (IAF) or its organization, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent was told by a resident of Dagestan. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [19 June 2018]

18 June 2018

posted 19 Jun 2018, 06:52 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 Jun 2018, 07:20 ]

'Navalny Plays Soccer?' World Cup Commentator's Mention Of Kremlin Foe Causes A Stir
Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has long claimed he is blacklisted from appearing on state television, and one prominent state TV host has said he's not allowed to interview the Kremlin foe on air. So Russian soccer fans were understandably surprised when a commentator for state-run Channel One's broadcast of the June 17 World Cup match between Germany and Mexico wondered aloud how Navalny might fare on the pitch. At the 49-minute mark of the match at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, commentator Kirill Dementyev discussed when the German side -- which went on to lose 1-0 -- might play "high-pressure soccer," using an adjective that is identical to Navalny's last name and relatively rare in colloquial Russian. Fellow commentator Leonid Slutsky, a professional soccer coach and ex-player (note: not the Russian lawmaker of the same name who has been accused of sexual harassment), immediately followed up with a quip: "Navalny plays soccer?" After a brief pause in which Dementyev failed to respond, Slutsky added: "Well, that would be interesting to see." [...]

Source: RFE/RL [18 June 2018]

Foreign World Cup Fans Jailed in Russia
At least eight foreign World Cup fans have been detained or fined in the first days of the football tournament in Russia, with media reports naming nationals from Mexico, Iran, Peru and the United Kingdom among the suspects. Russian authorities have beefed up security measures in the 11 cities hosting games this summer with an increased police presence in public areas and additional CCTV cameras. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [18 June 2018]

Banker at Center of Historic Bailout Dies in Prison
The jailed co-founder of Mosoblbank has reportedly died in what his attorney said is a non-violent death while serving a four-year embezzlement sentence in a Russian penal colony. Mosoblbank co-owner Andzhei Malchevsky was jailed in 2016 on charges of siphoning off 70 billion rubles from his bank. The bank then collapsed and Russian authorities withdrew the bank’s license, triggering a 117 billion ruble bailout ($1.7 billion at the time), the third-largest banking bailout in Russian history. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [18 June 2018]

England Fan Ready To Fly the Flag for Gay Rights in Russia
England fan Di Cunningham plans to fly the flag - quite literally - for gay rights in Russia on Monday night, where she will be cheering on the Three Lions' in their World Cup opener against Tunisia. Cunningham, an LGBT campaigner who works with England's football authorities, is one of only a handful of openly gay England fans who have made the trip to Russia where gay activists have been detained for taking part in demonstrations. She plans to wait until she is inside the stadium on Monday night before unfurling an England banner which combines the cross of St George and the rainbow colors of the gay movement, and she'll also be waving a rainbow flag. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [18 June 2018]

Russia refuses access to Ukrainian political prisoners Oleg Sentsov & Mykola Karpyuk
Russia has prevented Ukrainian Human Rights Ombudsman Ludmila Denisova from visiting two recognized political prisoners, first Oleg Sentsov, and then Mykola Karpyuk. The excuse given in Sentsov’s case is particularly cynical and of major concern since the renowned Ukrainian filmmaker has now been on hunger strike for well over a month.  Russia is claiming that Crimeans Sentsov and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko ‘automatically became Russians’ back in 2014, and is using this internationally condemned claim as a means of denying the men consular support and their rights under international law.  A month after illegally annexing Crimea, Russia demanded that Crimeans formally register their rejection of Russian citizenship. As well as minimal information being provided, there was a very limited timeframe and only three or four offices throughout Crimea where you could do this. It seems likely in any case that the men would have, on principle, refused to formally apply to keep the Ukrainian citizenship which was theirs by right. Both Sentsov and Kolchenko have totally rejected all attempts to foist Russian citizenship on them, and Kolchenko’s lawyer has lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [18 June 2018]

Telegram turns to ECHR over messenger blocking in Russia
Telegram has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over Russian authorities’ decision to block the messenger throughout the country, lawyer Damir Gainutdinov has told RAPSI. The applicant claims that Russian authorities have violated Article 10 (Freedom of expression) and Article 13 (Right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention of Human Rights. According to Gainutdinov, Telegram also asked the ECHR to integrate this application with its first complaint against an 800,000-ruble fine ($14,000) imposed on the company for refusal to provide information on user messages decoding to the Federal Security Service (FSB). [...]

Source: RAPSI [18 June 2018]

A picketer in support of gays in Chechnya leaves Russia
Peter Tatchell, a British LGBT activist, accused of violating the order of picketing after a Moscow action in support of the gay people of Chechnya, has left Russia without waiting for a trial on his administrative case. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on June 14, in Manege Square in Moscow, the police detained Peter Tatchell, a British LGBT activist, who went to a picket with the demand to stop the persecution of gays in Chechnya. An administrative protocol was drawn up against Peter Tatchell on violation of the order of picketing, and on the same day, Peter Tatchell was released. The court hearing on the administrative case against Peter Tatchell is scheduled for June 26 However, today, the activist has managed to fly away from Russia without any problems. He published his photo in a plane. "Job done. Goodbye Moscow. No problem at immigration despite my scheduled court appearance on 26 June. It was such an honour to support the heroic Russian LGBT," the activist wrote on his Peter Tatchell Foundation's Twitter page. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [18 June 2018]

15 June 2018

posted 15 Jun 2018, 14:38 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 15 Jun 2018, 14:45 ]

Russia reinstates political trial of historian of the Terror Yuri Dmitriev
A rare moment of justice from a Russian court has proved all too fleeting. On 14 June, Karelia’s High Court overturned the acquittal in April of world-renowned historian Yuri Dmitriev and sent the ‘case’ back for retrial. Dmitriev’s imprisonment and trial had been widely viewed as politically-motivated persecution, and his acquittal – the only possible verdict after the charges were totally demolished by experts. On 5 April 2018, Petrozavodsk City Court,Judge Marina Nosova acquitted62-year-old Dmitriev of the main indictment, but convicted him of a third much less serious charge. The ruling on 13 June revoked both the acquittal and the conviction, and the entire proceedings are now to be repeated at the same court, but under a different judge. The only good news is that the court did not re-arrest Dmitriev, and he remains at liberty, bound only by an undertaking to not leave the area. [...]

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [15 June 2018]

Russia denies access to jailed Ukraine film-maker Sentsov
Ukraine's human rights ombudswoman has said she was not allowed to visit Ukrainian film-maker Oleg Sentsov, jailed in Russia on terror charges. Prison officials said this was because "Sentsov is a Russian citizen", Lyudmyla Denisova told the BBC. Sentsov has been on hunger strike for 33 days to push for the release of what he says are 64 political prisoners in Russia - a claim denied by the Kremlin. In 2015, he was jailed for 20 years for plotting terrorist acts in Crimea. [...]

Source: BBC [15 June 2018]

Ukraine Human Rights Chief Denied Access to Jailed Director
The Ukrainian government’s human rights chief has been denied access to Oleg Sentsov, a Crimean film director serving a 20-year jail sentence in Russia for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks. Sentsov has been on an indefinite hunger strike for over a month demanding the release of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia. Human rights officials from Russia and Ukraine had arranged to visit 34 prisoners in each neighboring state beginning this Saturday, Russia’s ombudswoman announced earlier this week. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [15 June 2018]

HRC "Memorial": resident of Ingushetia killed after being detained by law enforcers
Ibragim Aliev, a resident of Nazran, whom his relatives declared kidnapped by law enforcers, was killed at an attempt to escape, law enforcers told Aliev's relatives. Ibragim Aliev's brother Bashir was detained. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that a resident of Ingushetia announced a kidnapping of his cousin, a 29-year-old resident of Nazran, Ibragim Aliev. According to the relative, on June 8, law enforcers searched Ibragim's house, beat him up and took him away. The relative is sure that the grenade and a self-made bomb were planted into Aliev's house. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [15 June 2018]

ECtHR registers a complaint about ban of LGBT action in Nalchik
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has registered complaints filed by LGBT activists from the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria and six other Russian cities about a refusal to hold LGBT actions. This was reported by Nikolai Alekseev, a rights defender and an LGBT activist. "We filed complaints about the refusals to sanction marches, parades and other actions in Nalchik, Kineshma, Vladivostok, Shuya, Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk, and Novodvinsk," reported Nikolai Alekseev as quoted by the newspaper "Novaya Gazeta". [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [15 June 2018]

Trial of YUKOS ex-lawyer Ivlev to begin on June 29
The Khamovnichesky District Court of Moscow will begin hearing a criminal case against Yukos oil company’s former lawyer Pavel Ivlev on June 29, attorney Sergey Kupreychenko has told RAPSI. The court refused to return the case to prosecutors. The proceedings are held behind closed doors because the defendant resides in the United States. According to the attorney, Ivlev is the U.S. citizen and although the defendant agrees to testify, he is unlikely to visit Russia. According to investigators, ex-lawyer was a member of an organized crime group led by ex-YUKOS head Mikhail Khodorkovsky, which could embezzle more than 195 million metric tons of oil belonging to Yuganskneftegaz, Samaraneftegaz and Tomskneft companies. [...]

Source: RAPSI [15 June 2018]

Alleged Ukrainian Right Sector member to go on Russian trial
A case against Ukrainian national Roman Ternovsky allegedly involved in the activities of Right Sector nationalist organization banned in Russia has been sent to court for hearing, according to the spokesperson of Russia’s Investigative Committee Svetlana Petrenko. Investigation into Ternovsky has been completed, and an indictment has been approved, Petrenko’s statement reads. Investigators believe that Ternovsky took part in pickets, rallies and other mass events in Ukraine as a member of Right Sector from 2015 to 2016. Moreover, he propagated online the organization’s activity on his Facebook page among users including Russian citizens. He was arrested in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don in October 2017. [...]

Source: RAPSI [15 June 2018]

14 June 2018

posted 14 Jun 2018, 11:22 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Jun 2018, 12:45 ]

Russia Detains British LGBT Campaigner, Hours Before World Cup
Russian police briefly detained a British LGBT rights campaigner in central Moscow for what they said was an illegal protest on the first day of the World Cup soccer tournament. Peter Tatchell was detained near Red Square on June 14 for holding a one-man protest to draw attention to what he said were human rights abuses committed against gay men in Russia's North Caucasus region of Chechnya. The 66-year-old veteran campaigner was led away by police shortly after unfolding a poster that said President Vladimir “Putin fails to act against Chechnya torture of gay people." [...]
Source: RFE/RL [14 June 2018]

Navalny Jokes That Four-Star Jails Await World Cup Rowdies
Can rowdy English fans who land in Russian jails during the World Cup really expect flat-screen TVs, special menus (including nonalcoholic beer), and a parting gift? That was the suggestion made by Russian opposition leader and anticorruption crusader Aleksei Navalny shortly after he emerged from a Moscow jail on June 14, although the comment was obviously made in jest. Navalny was freed from the Moscow detention facility in good spirits after serving a 30-day jail sentence for staging an unsanctioned protest in Moscow. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [14 June 2018]

European Parliament Urges Russia To Release Sentsov, Other Ukrainian 'Political Prisoners'
The European Parliament has overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on Russian authorities to release Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov and all the other "illegally detained Ukrainian citizens" in Russia and Russia-annexed Crimea "immediately and unconditionally." Sentsov has been on hunger strike in a Russian prison in the far-northern Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region since May 14. He is demanding that Russia release 64 Ukrainian citizens he considers political prisoners. Sentsov was arrested in Crimea in 2014, after Russia seized the Ukrainian region. A Russian court in 2015 convicted him of planning to commit terrorist acts and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. He denies the accusations. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [14 June 2018]

Police Use Bomb Scare to Abort Human Rights Play, Activists Say
Moscow police have repeatedly attempted to derail a theater performance about a jailed Chechen human rights activist using bomb threats and forced evacuations. The embattled Teatr.doc, whose married co-founders both died in the past two months, premieredOyub” on Wednesday. The play documents the life of Oyub Titiyev, the head of the Chechen branch of the Memorial Human Rights Center who was arrested on marijuana charges this year. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [14 June 2018]

After the play about Titiev, law enforcers inspect office of the HRC "Memorial"
Law enforcers drove spectators after the end of the play "Oyub" out of the office of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" under the pretext of inspecting the premises for searching an allegedly planted bomb. No bomb was found, said a source from the HRC. On Wednesday, June 13, the Moscow office of the HRC "Memorial" hosted the first performance of the play "Oyub" performed by the Theatre.doc and dedicated to Oyub Titiev, the head of the Grozny office of the HRC "Memorial". [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [13 June 2018]

Ruling on Telegram blocking in Russia upheld
The Moscow City Court on Thursday upheld a lower court’s ruling to block Telegram messenger across Russia, RAPSI reported from the courtroom. The court dismissed the messenger’s appeal seeking to overturn the ruling on blocking because of of adversarial principle’s contravention. Moscow’s Tagansky District Court ordered restriction of access to Telegram in Russia on April 13. The court tasked Roskomnadzor with putting a stop to sending and receiving messages in Telegram until the messenger fulfills its obligations by providing deciphering keys. The ruling came into force immediately. Roskomnadzor started blocking the messenger on April 16. [...]
Source: RAPSI [14 June 2018]

Navalny fined once more for not complying with court ruling
The Lyublinsky District Court of Moscow has once again fined Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny for failing to comply with the court ruling ordering him to delete parts of video about businessman Alisher Usmanov, the press-service of the court has stated. The court upheld decision of bailiffs to fine Navalny 2,300 rubles ($37). Earlier Navalny was repeatedly fined for refusing to delete parts of the video. In May 2017, the court granted a libel suit lodged by Usmanov against Navalny. The court recognized information about Usmanov distributed by the Anti-Corruption Foundation and Navalny as discrediting and untrue and ordered the defendants to refute the statements. Later, the Supreme Court of Russia upheld the ruling. [....]
Source: RAPSI [14 June 2018]

13 June 2018

posted 13 Jun 2018, 09:11 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Jun 2018, 09:11 ]

Russian teacher sacked over Instagram swimsuit photos
Russian social media users have rallied in support of a teacher who lost her job after photos emerged of her in a swimsuit online. Viktoria Popova, 26, was sacked by School Number 7 in Omsk for "bringing her school and profession into disrepute", according to the Siberian Times. The decision to fire her was made after photos of her modelling swimwear were posted to Instagram, although they have since been deleted. [...]

Source: BBC [13 June 2018]

Gay rights abuses, war crimes and World Cup fever – it’s an ugly mix - says Peter Tatchell
I’m in Moscow trying to lie low and evade the Russian security service the FSB. I’m exhausted from the stress. It’s my sixth time in the country; each time I’ve visited in order to support LGBT+ campaigners who were attempting to hold a Pride parade and festival. On every occasion, these were suppressed by the authorities, sometimes violently. I’ve been arrested twice and once been beaten almost unconscious. This time I’m here for the World Cup – but unlike thousands of fans I won’t be cheering on this festival of football. There can be no normal sporting relations with an abnormal regime like that of Vladimir Putin. LGBT+ people and many other Russians suffer state-sanctioned persecution and far right violence. These abuses need to be challenged – that is why I am in Moscow. [...]

Source: The Guardian [13 June 2018]

Russia’s World Cup Opens the Floodgates for Trafficked Sex Workers
Activists expect sex trafficking to spike during the football tournament.
The women dotting the side of Leningradskoye Highway, the main artery between Moscow and St. Petersburg, are nicknamed mayachki, or "little lighthouses." Holding flashlights and dressed in neon-yellow vests, they signal to drivers in passing cars. Behind them, down dirt paths just off the side of the highway, women in skin-tight dresses and stiletto heels wait for clients. On a Thursday night in late May, the women waiting were on edge. The police had stopped by earlier, and there was a risk that they could return. The zachistki — mop-up operations — had been becoming more frequent. Even though prostitution is illegal in Russia, there are around three million regular sex workers in the country, according to activist group Silver Rose. Until recently, the group says, the police had turned a blind eye to the practice or taken kickbacks. But with hundreds of thousands of tourists descending on Russia for the World Cup, the authorities are cracking down on anything that could tarnish their prestige project. For sex workers in the 11 World Cup host cities, this means frequent raids on well-known prostitution sites. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [13 June 2018]

Press Freedom Group Gives Russia ‘Red Card’
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has used the international focus on Russia ahead of the World Cup to shed light on the plight of imprisoned journalists. RSF ranked Russia’s press freedom in 148th place out of 180 countries this year. The organization says at least 34 journalists have been killed in connection with their reporting since Vladimir Putin came to power almost two decades ago. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [13 June 2018]

Chechen authorities demand apology from Slepakov for "weeping Kadyrov"
The song by Semyon Slepakov that became an Internet hit, telling about the failure of Ramzan Kadyrov as the coach of the Russian national football team, was negatively perceived by the Chechen authorities. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Semyon Slepakov posted on the YouTube his satirical song "Olé-Olé-Olé!" about the incapable Russian footballers and Kadyrov's failure as the head coach. According to the author, even the tough methods practiced in Chechnya will not be able to help the team at the FIFA World Cup-2018. Djambulat Umarov, the Minister for National Policy, External Relations, Press and Information of Chechnya, has blamed Semyon for his intent to promote his song my means of Kadyrov, and treated it as "an unsuccessful pearl." "Maybe it's time for our showmen to stop exploiting for no sound purpose the name of Kadyrov in their various self-promotion campaigns?" the edition named "Chechnya Today" quotes Minister Umarov as saying. Besides, Umarov accused Slepakov of using obscene expressions. "It would be reasonable for him to apologize to the Russian team and to Ramzan Akhmatovich too," Djambulat Umarov has summed up. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [13 June 2018]

12 June 2018

posted 12 Jun 2018, 12:40 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Jun 2018, 12:55 ]

Police Disrupt Founding Gathering Of Open Russia Group In Vladivostok
Police in Russia's Far Eastern city of Vladivostok have disrupted the founding gathering of a regional branch of a civil society group established by exiled Kremlin foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky and detained several activists, the organization says. In a Facebook post on June 12, Open Russia said police used force and detained activists Andrei Pivovarov, Natalya Gryaznyevich, Andrei Yarotsky, and Maria Zinchenko, as well as the coordinator of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's office in Vladivostok, Vladimir Dubovsky. It is not clear what charges the activists may face. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [12 June 2018]

Russia Wrongly Revoked U.S. Activist's Residence Permit, European Court Says
The European court has ruled that Russia wrongly revoked the residence permit of American human rights activist Jennifer Gaspar in 2014. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on June 12 said that Russian authorities violated Gaspar's right to respect for family life, as it had compelled her to leave Russia, where her husband and minor child were living. In its ruling, the court in Strasbourg ordered the Russian state to pay Gaspar 14,142 euros ($16,680) in compensation. "I want to celebrate justice and an end to a long slog through court proceedings that has weighed upon me," Gaspar wrote on Facebook after the court decision. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [12 June 2018]

World Cup 2018: 'Salah used for political capital' as Chechnya host Egypt training
Mohamed Salah's picture with Chechnyan leader Ramzan Kadyrov is a photo described by Amnesty International as "pure sportswashing" Chechnyan leader Ramzan Kadyrov used Mohamed Salah for "political capital" by being pictured with the Egypt star, says an anti-discrimination chief. Egypt's World Cup base is in the former war-torn Russian republic, where Kadyrov's regime has been criticised for alleged human rights abuses. [...]
Source: BBC [12 June 2018]

Robbie Williams 'selling soul to dictator Putin' in World Cup gig
Singer handing Russian leader PR coup by performing at opening ceremony, say critics
Robbie Williams has been accused of selling his soul to the “dictator” Vladimir Putin after it emerged he will be performing in Russia for the football World Cup. The singer will headline Thursday’s opening ceremony, which will be attended by the Russian president prior to the tournament’s first game, between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Politicians and campaigners criticised the move and urged him to follow the lead of the royal family, as well as government ministers, and refrain from attending the event in protest against Russia’s alleged involvement in the Skripal poisoning. The head of the global Magnitsky justice campaign, Bill Browder, a former client of the anti-corruption lawyer who was beaten to death while in police custody in Moscow in 2009, tweeted: “There’s lots of ways to make money Robbie Williams, but selling your soul to a dictator shouldn’t be one of them. Shame on you.” [...]
Source: The Guardian [12 June 2018]

On June 4-10, three persons fell victim to armed conflict in Northern Caucasus
During the week from June 4 to June 10, in the armed conflict in Northern Caucasus, at least three persons were killed. These are the results of the calculations run by the "Caucasian Knot" based on its own materials and information from other open sources. According to law enforcers, the three casualties were linked to the armed underground in Ingushetia. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [11 June 2018]

11 June 2018

posted 11 Jun 2018, 10:38 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 11 Jun 2018, 10:43 ]

Muscovites Rally To Protest 'Catastrophic' Violations Of Human Rights, Freedoms
Demonstrators have taken to the center of Moscow to protest against mass violations of human rights in Russia and to call for the release of political prisoners. Participants in the rally, dubbed For Free Russia Without Repression And Arbitrariness, gathered on Moscow’s Sakharov Avenue on June 10, two days ahead of Russia Day, a patriotic holiday, and as the country prepares to host the World Cup soccer competition from June 14 to July 15. Police said about 1,700 people participated in the demonstration, which was authorized by Moscow's authorities, while organizers put the number at up to 5,000. Some protesters carried a huge banner bearing a portrait of Oleh Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker, who opposed Moscow’s 2014 seizure of Crimea and is now on a hunger strike in a Russian prison colony. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [10 June 2018]

Sentsov declares his condition normal
Doctors have examined Oleg Sentsov, a citizen of Ukraine, convicted in Rostov-on-Don, the local branch of the Russian Penitentiary Administration (known as FSIN) has reported today. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on May 14, Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director, convicted in Rostov-on-Don to 20 years in a high-security colony, went on an endless hunger strike, demanding to release all the Ukrainian prisoners kept in Russia. Today, it became known that Stanislav Klykh, a citizen of Ukraine, who was convicted in Chechnya, has also declared a hunger strike. Oleg Sentsov "is under constant medics' supervision," the FSIN's branch for the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area has reported today, adding that on June 8, a regular doctors' consultation was held, after they examined Sentsov and made their recommendations. On June 7, Oleg Sentsov himself wrote in a letter to the Ukrainian rights defenders Nikolai and Tatiana Schur that he felt well. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [9 June 2018]

Putin: Too Early To Talk Details Of Possible Prisoner Exchange With Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin says it is too early to discuss details of a possible exchange of prisoners with Kyiv, including imprisoned Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov. Speaking on June 10 at a summit Qingdao, China, Putin indicated in responses to questions from reporters that back-channel talks were being held on the issue, which could involve the release of dozens of prisoners just days ahead of the start of the soccer World Cup in Russia this week. "It's so far premature to say how this issue will be solved," Putin said at a security summit. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [10 June 2018]

Football Star Salah Poses for Controversial Photo-op With Chechnya’s Kadyrov
Egyptian football star Mohamed Salah has drawn criticism from human rights activists for posing in photos with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on his first day on Russian soil ahead of the World Cup. Liverpool forward Salah, 25, touched down on Sunday in the Chechen capital of Grozny, where the Egyptian squad is based. Chechnya has come under fire for its record on human rights abuses. Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on FIFA last month to lobby Russian for the release of Oyub Titiev, head of the Grozny-based Human Rights Center Memorial, on what it calls “bogus” marijuana possession charges. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [11 June 2018]

Ministry Denies Destroying Gulag Prison Records
A top Interior Ministry official has denied reports that officials are destroying the archived records of people who survived imprisonment in Soviet-era gulag labor camps.  Last week, the Kommersant business daily cited an employee at The Gulag Museum in Moscow as saying that cards detailing the personal information of former inmates and the dates of their release were being secretly destroyed.The report cited an interdepartmental order dating back to 2014, which called for the removal of files belonging to victims older than 80. At a meeting on the topic of repression in Yoshkar-Ola, Deputy Interior Minister Igor Zubov denied the existence of the decree. He instead stated the records would be stored indefinitely, according to a statement on the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Right’s website. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [11 June 2018]

Russian FSB remove incriminating videos of the arrest and death of Crimean Tatar veteran Vedzhie Kashka
Vital CCTV footage showing the extraordinary FSB arrest of 83-year-old Vedzhie Kashka that caused her death has vanished, almost certainly because it would show excessive violence used against the world-renowned veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement.  Vedzhie Kashka died on 23 November 2017, after Russian FSB and other enforcement officers burst into a restaurant and seized her and three men who had been helping her. She was reported to have been taken ill and to have died in the ambulance.  Lawyer Nikolai Polozov is carrying out an independent investigation on behalf of the Kashka family, since the Russian occupation authorities have failed to investigate the circumstances around the elderly veteran’s death in FSB and police custody. He is convinced that she died because of excessive and disproportionate use of force by the officers carrying out the arrest. In February 2018 Russia’s Investigative Committee refused to initiate criminal proceedings against five police officers for exceeding and abusing their powers. The official check was later resumed, only to result in a second refusal to initiate proceedings, with the refusal this time extended to the ambulance doctor.  Polozov has learned that all CCTV tapes were removed soon after the fatal FSB operation by enforcement officers who produced no identification or court order. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [11 June 2018]

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