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posted 18 Jan 2018, 11:54 by Rights in Russia

Police In Russia Harass Navalny Supporters, Seized Election Boycott Leaflets
Supporters of Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny say their members have been harassed by police with some offices searched and leaflets calling for a boycott of Russia's upcoming election seized. The coordinator of Navalny’s office in the Volga regional city of Cheboksary, Semyon Kochkin, said on Twitter on January 18 that police officers had confiscated leaflets from him. The chief of Navalny’s local office in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, Ksenia Pakhomova, wrote on Twitter that a teenage Navalny supporter, Vasily Kaverin, had been detained by police for several hours after distributing election boycott leaflets. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [18 January 2018]

Kadyrov Insults Rights Groups, Calls Jailed Activist A 'Drug Addict'
The Kremlin-backed leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has lashed out at human rights groups and rejected claims that an activist jailed on a drug charge is the victim of a fabricated allegation. Kadyrov's characteristically bellicose remarks at a televised Chechen government meeting on January 17 were his most extensive public statements about the arrest of Oyub Titiyev, the head of the Russian human rights group Memorial's office in Chechnya. Titiyev, who was detained on January 9 by police who said they found marijuana in his car, denies wrongdoing and contends that the drugs were planted. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [18 January 2018]

17 January 2018

posted 17 Jan 2018, 15:10 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 17 Jan 2018, 15:21 ]

Arsonists Torch Memorial Human Rights Office in North Caucasus
Unknown arsonists wearing masks torched the office of Russia’s renowned Memorial human rights group in the North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia on Wednesday morning.  Security camera footage captured two masked men climbing into the organization’s office in the town of Nazran and setting three rooms on fire. The attack came a week after the arrest of Oyub Tityev, the head of Memorial’s branch in Chechnya, on drug charges his supporters say are fabricated. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [17 January 2018]

Oleg Orlov associates arson of "Memorial" office with prosecution of Titiev
An attack on the office of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" in Ingushetia and the pressure on the "Memorial" office in Chechnya are connected, believes Oleg Orlov, a member of the board for the HRC "Memorial". The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that last night, a fire broke out in the office of the HRC "Memorial". According to records from a video surveillance camera, the office was set on fire by two unidentified people, Oleg Orlov reported. The rights defenders treated the attack on the office as a terror act. Oleg Orlov believes the arson of the "Memorial" office in Nazran is connected with the pressure on the HRC in Chechnya. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [17 January 2018]

Oyub Titiev pleads not guilty in his appeal to Russian President
In his appeal to President Putin and the chiefs of the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) and the Russian FSB, rights defender Oyub Titiev, arrested in Chechnya, has claimed a fabrication of the criminal case against him and forgery of evidence. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on January 11, the court ruled to place Oyub Titiev into custody for two months on charges of possessing marijuana. Titiev claims that the drug was planted on him by a law enforcer. He told his advocate that law enforcers had forced him into self-incrimination and threatened to bring criminal cases against his relatives on promoting terrorism. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [16 January 2018]

"Novaya Gazeta": Chechen woman detained for investigating "extrajudicial execution"
For more than a week, the fate of Aminat Avturkhanova, who was looking for her husband, whose name appeared on the lists of the people executed in Chechnya at night on January 26, 2017, is unknown, the newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" reports today. On January 8, Aminat Avturkhanova was taken away from her mother's house in the village of Verkhniy Naur in the Nadterechny District of Chechnya. At present, she is being kept in one of the ROVDs, but she has not been in touch with her relatives since she was detained. The status in which she is being kept at the ROVD (District Interior Division) is unclear. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [17 January 2018]

Residents of Chechnya complain of torture after anti-drug raids
Magomed-Ali and Magomed-Sidik Mezhidov brothers, detained in Chechnya in the course of the anti-drug campaign, have filed a complaint to the Prosecutor's Office about torture, which forced them to defame themselves. In their complaint sent to the Prosecutor's Office, the brothers reported that they were detained on August 14, 2017, but their detention was not formally registered until August 31, two weeks later. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [17 January 2018]

Andrei Rudomakha put under state protection after attack on him
Investigators have granted a motion to grant state protection for Andrei Rudomakha, a coordinator of the "Ecological Watch for Northern Caucasus" (EcoWatch), who received anonymous threats after he had been beaten in Krasnodar. This was reported by his advocate. The activist himself claimed he felt bad. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on December 28, 2017, unidentified persons attacked Andrei Rudomakha, a coordinator of the "EcoWatch", and his companions. Andrei Rudomakha was hospitalized. After the attack, Andrei Rudomakha and his deputy Dmitry Shevchenko reported receiving anonymous threats. The advocate requested investigators to grant body guards for Andrei Rudomakha. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [17 January 2018]

Seizure of Jehovah's Witnesses $15.5 million property appealed
A ruling to confiscate property worth 881.5 million rubles ($15.5 million) belonging to Jehovah's Witnesses organization banned in Russia has been appealed, the St. Petersburg courts’ press office has told RAPSI. The appeal was filed by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania registered in the U.S. The Jehovah's Witnesses assets included 16 property items in St. Petersburg, according to prosecutors. [...]

Source: RAPSI [17 January 2018]

Moscow court’s presidium rules to reconsider case of Russian nationalist Potkin
Presidium of the Moscow City Court has ruled to reconsider a criminal case against Russian nationalist Alexander Potkin, who has previously been sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for embezzlement and organization of an extremist movement, the court’s press-service told RAPSI on Wednesday. In August 2016, the Meshchansky District Court of Moscow sentenced Potkin to 7.5 years in prison and fined him 600,000 rubles (about $10,500 at the current exchange rate). Moreover, the court granted a 4.9 billion-ruble lawsuit ($85.3 million) filed by the injured party against Potkin. In April 2017, the Moscow City Court reduced his prison term to 3.5 years, cancelled part of the sentence related to embezzlement charges and returned that part of the criminal case to prosecutors.The Presidium upheld the April decision of the Moscow City Court and also ruled to reconsider parts of the sentence related to other charges. [...]

Source: RAPSI [17 January 2018]

Russian Polling Agency Stops Publishing Over Closure Fears
Trying to gauge what Russians are thinking about the upcoming presidential election just got tougher. The country's main independent polling agency, the Levada Center, has said it has stopped publishing results of opinion polls on the election. The reason? Levada fears legal repercussions if it does. That's because the center was listed as a foreign agent in 2016 under a new law aimed at countering what the Kremlin claims is outside influence on public life in Russia. [...]

Source: RFE/RL [16 January 2018]

16 January 2018

posted 16 Jan 2018, 09:35 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 16 Jan 2018, 10:07 ]

Jailed Activist Tells Putin: 'If I Confess, It Means Torture Or Blackmail'
A human rights activist who has been detained on a drug-possession charge in Chechnya has written a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin saying that he is innocent. In the letter published by the newspaper Novaya Gazeta on January 16, Oyub Titiyev accused police of planting drugs in his car and voiced concern that he could be tortured in an attempt to force a confession. "The criminal case against me is fabricated.... I have not and will not admit guilt," Titiyev wrote in the letter, which is scrawled in ink and dated January 12. "I want to inform you that if I in any way acknowledge that I am guilty of what I am accused of, it will mean that I have been forced to admit guilt by means of physical coercion or blackmail," he wrote. The letter is addressed to Putin, federal Investigative Committee Chairman Aleksandr Bastrykin, and Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Aleksandr Bortnikov. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [16 January2017]

Crimean Court Jails Activist In Retrial
A court in Ukraine's Russia-controlled Crimea region has sentenced pro-Kyiv activist Volodymyr Balukh to three years and seven months in a high-profile retrial on a weapons- and explosives-possession charge. The Rozdolne district court on January 16 also ordered Balukh to pay a 10,000-ruble ($175) fine. In his final statement in court on January 15, Balukh reiterated that he was innocent and that the case against him will "never make me love my so-called new motherland," a reference to Russia. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [16 January 2018]

Man killed in shootout in Kaspiysk
olice have killed the man who opened fire on them in Kaspiysk, a source from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) for the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) has reported. According to the source, in the evening on January 15, in the city of Kaspiysk, Dagestan, "an unidentified man opened fire at policemen. No policemen or civilians have suffered. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [16 January 2018]

Astrakhan activists hold solo pickets in support of Maxim Panfilov
Astrakhan activists Alexei Tyurin, Mikhail Anisenko, and Igor Stenin have held solo pickets in support of Maxim Panfilov, who was sentenced in the case of involvement in mass riots in Bolotnaya Square. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on March 29, 2017, the Zamoskvoretsky Court of Moscow freed from criminal liability Maxim Panfilov, a figurant of the "Bolotnaya Square case", a resident of Astrakhan, and pronounced the decision to send him for compulsory treatment to a psychiatric hospital. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [16 January 2018]

Chechen natives claim danger for author of video appeal to Ramzan Kadyrov
A woman who posted on YouTube video appeals to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and his mother is in danger. This opinion was voiced by natives of Chechnya interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" correspondents. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on January 5 and 6, a woman who introduced herself as a resident of Chechnya, published on YouTube video appeals to Ramzan Kadyrov and his mother Aimani Kadyrova. In her appeals, the woman voiced a number of accusations against the leader of Chechnya and demanded to stop "lawlessness", including kidnappings and persecution of people in the republic.

Source: Caucasian Knot [16 January 2018]

Chechnya Initiated Brutal Crackdown on Drugs Last Year, Investigation Says
Authorities in Chechnya reportedly launched a brutal crackdown against drug suspects last August on the orders of the region’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov.  Allegations of torture in the North Caucasus republic surfaced early last year when an investigative newspaper reported that more than 100 gay men were detained and tortured in secret Chechen prisons. Both Kadyrov and the Kremlin have denied the claims. A new investigation by the news website published on Tuesday says that Chechen authorities resorted to torture again in an anti-drug campaign in which more than 70 people were arrested last August on the orders of Kadyrov. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [16 January 2018]

15 January 2018

posted 15 Jan 2018, 14:31 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 15 Jan 2018, 14:49 ]

Reports say Oyub Titiev not allowed to see doctor
Investigators refused to let a doctor to the arrested rights defender Oyub Titiev, who cannot eat any hard food without his dentures, his advocate Pyotr Zaikin and Oleg Orlov, a Board Member of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", have stated. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on January 11, the court ruled to place Oyub Titiev into custody for two months on charges of possessing marijuana. Titiev claims that the drug was planted on him by a law enforcer. He told his advocate that law enforcers had forced him into self-incrimination and threatened to bring criminal cases against his relatives on promoting terrorism. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [15 January 2018]

Russian Authorities Seek Closure Of Key Navalny Campaign Foundation

Russia's Justice Ministry is seeking the closure of a foundation that is the bulwark of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's presidential election campaign. Lawyer Ivan Zhdanov said on January 15 that the ministry filed a lawsuit with Moscow's Meshchansky District Court seeking to shutter the Fifth Season of the Year Foundation, and court spokeswoman Yulia Bocharova said a hearing will be held on January 22. Navalny, an anticorruption crusarer and vocal opponent of President Vladimir Putin, has campaigned for the March 18 election for over a year despite warnings -- confirmed by a formal decision in December -- that he would be barred from the ballot due to a criminal conviction he says was fabricated. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [15 January 2018]

Crimea Activist Blasts Russia As Prosecutor Seeks Five-Year Prison Term
A prosecutor in Ukraine's Russia-controlled Crimea region has asked a court to sentence pro-Kyiv activist Volodymyr Balukh to five years and one month in prison in a high-profile retrial on a weapons and explosives possession charge. In his final statement in court on January 15, Balukh reiterated that he was innocent and that the case against him would "never make me love my so-called new motherland" -- a reference to Russia. He suggested that the accusations against him were politically motivated and part of what Kyiv and rights groups say is a campaign of pressure on Crimeans who opposed Russia's takeover of the Black Sea peninsula. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [15 January 2018]

Russian Environmentalist’s Beating Tied to Medvedev’s Alleged Mansion
A prominent environmental activist may have been beaten late last month for documenting the illegal construction of a mansion linked to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the investigative Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported Sunday.  Andrei Rudomakha, the coordinator of the Environmental Watch on North Caucasus (EWNC) group, was diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, facial fractures and a chemical eye burn after being attacked by masked men in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar in late December. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [15 January 2018]

Activists: Novosibirsk Is Russia's Most Restrictive City For Rallies
Public demonstrations and other similar activities are banned over more than half of the territory of Russia's third-largest city, Novosibirsk, rights activists say. The OVD-Info nongovernmental human-rights project, which monitors law-enforcement activity across Russia, reported on January 12 that its analysis of Novosibirsk's regulations on public demonstrations revealed that such activity is barred over 56 percent of the city's area. The city's regulations on demonstrations forbid them near all administrative buildings, as well as near "objects of public safety and communications" and "objects of social infrastructure." [...]
Source: RFE/RL [13 January 2018]

Spartak Moscow in racism row after controversial video posted on Twitter
Spartak Moscow are at the centre of a racism row after their official Twitter account posted a video of three black players in training alongside a caption that translates as “See how chocolates melt in the sun”. The message was accompanied by several emojis of laughing faces and chocolate bars, above a 13-second clip showing the players, reported to be the Brazilian trio Fernando, Luiz Adriano and Pedro Rocha, smiling while stretching in sunny conditions. The anti-discrimination group Kick It Out condemned the Russian club, writing a response on Twitter which said: “This social media post from the official account of Spartak Moscow only continues to highlight the prejudices towards black people in Russia. “It is a reminder that, along with the whole of football, there is significant work to do to eradicate racism of all forms from the sport.” [...]
Source: The Observer [13 January 2018]

12 January 2018

posted 12 Jan 2018, 10:25 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Jan 2018, 11:27 ]

New Bill On 'Foreign Agent' Media Advances In Russian Duma
Russian lawmakers have given preliminary approval to a bill that would enable the government to brand some individual journalists and bloggers -- not only media outlets -- as foreign agents. The bill, passed in the first of three readings in the State Duma on January 12, allows the Justice Ministry to designate people who are "performing the function of a media outlet" as foreign agents. It follows a law signed by President Vladimir Putin in November that empowered the ministry to designate media outlets that are based or funded from outside Russia as "foreign agents." [...]
Source: RFE/RL [12 January 2018]

Early Release Denied For Leader Of Russian Hackers Group
A court in Moscow has refused to grant early release to the leader of a group believed to be behind the hacking of high-profile Internet accounts, including the Twitter account of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The Lefortovo District Court on January 12 rejected a motion for the release on parole for Vladimir Anikeyev, the leader of Shaltai-Boltai -- Russian for Humpty Dumpty. The hearing was held behind closed doors as some materials in the case are classified. Anikeyev was handed a two-year prison sentence in July after striking a plea bargain and agreeing to cooperate with the authorities. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [12 January 2018]

Students Reportedly Forced To Collect Signatures for Putin
An activist based in St. Petersburg has sounded the alarm on a local university that is reportedly forcing students to collect signatures for President Vladimir Putin’s 2018 re-election bid.  Independent candidates, which Putin is running as in this campaign, are required to collect at least 300,000 signatures to get on the ballot. The presidential campaign spokesman announced on Friday that 408,000 signatures have been gathered so far, the state-run TASS news agency reported. First-year students at the St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University were reportedly ordered to collect at least 14 signatures for Putin’s nomination, local activist Oksana Borisova wrote on the Russian Vkontakte social network earlier in the day. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [12 January 2018]

HRC "Memorial" reports threats to relatives of Chechen rights defender Oyub Titiev
Law enforcers have demanded from relatives of Oyub Titiev, the detained Chechen rights defender, that his son and brother should appear at the police, otherwise they would face troubles. This was reported by the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial". The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Titiev was detained in Chechnya on January 9. According to policemen, some 180 grams of marijuana was found on him. A criminal case was opened against Titiev, said his advocate. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [11 January 2018]

Ingush Opposition Activist Detained On Illegal Weapons Possession Charge
A prominent opposition activist from Russia's North Caucasus region of Ingushetia has been detained upon arrival to his native region. The Ingush Interior Ministry on January 11 said Magomed Khazbiyev was detained on his arrival from neighboring Chechnya, where he had been under local government protection since 2015. Khazbiyev, a fierce critic of Ingush officials and President Vladimir Putin, has been wanted in Ingushetia for alleged illegal weapons possession and insulting an official. Khazbiyev said earlier that he planned to voluntarily return to Ingushetia to answer questions related to the case against him. He maintains his innocence, saying the charges are politically motivated. [...]
Source RFE/RL [11 January 2017]

11 January 2018

posted 11 Jan 2018, 09:54 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 11 Jan 2018, 10:19 ]

Chechen Activist Jailed On 'Fabricated' Drug Charge
Human rights activist Oyub Titiyev has been charged with drug possession and ordered jailed for two months in pretrial detention in Chechnya, a lawyer and associates said. A lawyer for Titiyev, Pyotr Zaikin, told the Interfax news agency that a court in the Chechen city of Shali granted a prosecution request at a custody hearing on January 11. Zaikin vowed to appeal the ruling, which came as supporters said Chechen authorities were piling pressure on Titiyev's relatives and the European Union voiced strong concern about his detention on a marijuana charge colleagues contend was fabricated. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [11 January 2018]

Human Rights Council applies to investigators over Memorial Chechnya Office head’s arrest
Chairman of Russia’s Presidential Council for Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov has requested the Investigative Committee to conduct pre-investigation probe into the arrest of the head of Chechen Republic’s office of Memorial NGO, Oyub Titiyev, the statement published on the advisory body’s website reads. According to the Republic’s Interior Ministry, on January 9, police officers stopped Titiyev’s car during a preventive control operation. As police officers searched the car, a package filled with a plant-based substance smelling of marihuana was found. The package was then sent for analysis while the head of the office was brought in for a medical examination. [...]
Source: RAPSI [11 January 2018]

Major Russian Labor Union Disbanded by Court For Foreign Ties
A St. Petersburg court has disbanded one of Russia’s largest labor unions over accusations that it received funding from abroad.  The Interregional Labor Union of Automobile Workers (MPRA) was one of Russia's last remaining major unions with 3,000 members across 40 regions. The union gained prominence after staging a 25-day-long strike at a Ford assembly plant outside St. Petersburg in 2007. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [11 January 2018]

Authorities Take Over European University’s Building in St. Petersburg
One of Russia’s leading universities was forced to hand over its main campus building to the authorities after losing the latest stage in a battle to keep its license.  The European University in St. Petersburg has been repeatedly denied a teaching licence after losing it in mid-2017 over minor building code violations. Critics say the private post-graduate school for the social sciences and humanities is being targeted for political reasons. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [11 January 2018]

Nemtsov Memorial Dismantled, Again, On Bridge Near Kremlin
Moscow authorities have once again removed an improvised memorial near the Kremlin where Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was gunned down in 2015. The website OVD-Info, which tracks arrests in Russia, said on January 11 that representatives of Moscow's directorate for bridges, Gormost, and several men in civilian clothes took flowers and posters commemorating Nemtsov away from the bridge overnight. According to OVD-Info, the men also seized backpacks containing documents, cash, and credit cards from two activists, Dmitry Kosachyov and Olga Avilonova, who were guarding the makeshift memorial. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [11 January 2018]

Chechen woman calls on Ramzan Kadyrov to stop kidnappings
In her video appeals to Ramzan Kadyrov and his mother Aimani Kadyrova, a woman who introduced herself as a resident of Chechnya, has requested to stop kidnappings and persecution of people in the Chechen Republic. The video was posted on the Anti Kadyrov channel on YouTube. The author of the "Appeal of the Chechen woman to Kadyrov" asks the leader of Chechnya to stop "lawlessness" in the republic and voices accusations against him. The woman asks Ramzan Kadyrov to "leave alone" young residents of Chechnya. She also requests his mother Aimani Kadyrova to influence her son. In particular, the woman mentions the disappearance of singer Zelimkhan Bakaev and asks to return him to his mother.  [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [10 January 2018]

10 January 2018

posted 10 Jan 2018, 09:40 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Jan 2018, 10:39 ]

Russian Diabetics' Rights Group Under Threat Over 'Foreign Agent' Claim
For more than three decades, the nongovernmental Saratov Regional Organization For Diabetics has provided vital practical and informational assistance to the more than 80,000 people diagnosed with diabetes in Russia's mid-Volga region. "Recently a woman came to us and said she hadn't eaten for several days because she had no insulin," organization head Larisa Saigina told RFE/RL recently. "When we hear of such cases, we appeal to the Health Ministry. If the Health Ministry ignores us, we ask Roszdravnadzor" -- the state health inspectorate -- "to look into it. Very often as a result, people get their insulin and other necessities." But that work may soon come to an end, as local prosecutors have filed charges accusing the group of acting as a "foreign agent" without having registered as such with the authorities. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [10 January 2017]

Washington renames Russian embassy street after slain opposition MP
Washington DC has renamed the street the Russian embassy sits on after a murdered Russian opposition politician. The city council voted to rename the street outside Russia's embassy complex after Boris Nemtsov, who was shot outside the Kremlin in 2015. A statement from the council said the decision to honour the "slain democracy activist" passed unanimously. Russian politicians criticised the move, with one MP labelling it a "dirty trick". [...]
Source: BBC [10 January 2017]

U.S., Rights Groups Condemn Activist's Detention In Chechnya
The United States and human rights groups in Russia and abroad have condemned the detention of a leading activist in Chechnya on narcotics charges and called for his immediate release. The U.S. State Department said on January 10 that it was “troubled” by the reported arrest of Oyub Titiyev, calling it “the latest in a string of reports of alarming recent human rights violations in Chechnya.” A statement called on Chechen authorities to release Titiyev, who is the head of the prominent Russian human rights group Memorial's office in Chechnya, and to “allow independent civil society to operate free from harassment and intimidation.” [...]
Source: RFE/RL [10 January 2017]

Moskalkova to examine case of Memorial Chechnya Office’s head
Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova will examine the situation currently developing in the Chechen Republic, where the head of the regional office of the Memorial human rights organization, Oyub Titiyev, has been arrested after police allegedly found drugs in his car, press-service of the ombudsman told RAPSI on Wednesday. According to the Republic’s Interior Ministry, on January 9 police officers stopped Titiyev’s car during a preventive control operation. As police officers searched the car, a package filled with a plant-based substance smelling of marihuana was found. The package was then sent for analysis while the head of the office was brought in for a medical examination. [...]
Source: RAPSI [10 January 2017]

9 January 2018

posted 9 Jan 2018, 11:57 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 9 Jan 2018, 12:28 ]

Chief Of Rights Group Memorial's Chechnya Office Detained On Drug Charge
The head of the prominent Russian human rights group Memorial's office in Chechnya has been detained on a drug charge, according to Chechen officials and a lawyer for the rights defender. A fellow activist at Memorial dismissed the accusation against Oyuv Titiyev as absurd, saying that it would be "more credible to accuse him of killing Napoleon." Memorial had been struggling for hours to determine Titiyev's whereabouts and his fate after he failed to show up at a meeting with an acquaintance in the Kurchaloi district of the North Caucasus region early on January 9. His disappearance underscored concerns about the risks faced by rights advocates, journalists, and opponents of Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [9 January 2018]

Beaten Sobchak Volunteer Outed as Pro-Kremlin Nationalist
A volunteer that was beaten while canvassing for Ksenia Sobchak’s presidential campaign over the weekend has been identified as a one-time member of a pro-Putin nationalist group. Sergei Selyukov was assaulted and hospitalized after collecting signatures for Sobchak in a northern Moscow suburb last Sunday, the presidential candidate said in a statement on her blog. Social media users recognized Selyukov as an ex-National Liberation Movement provocateur who took part in multiple attacks on local opposition activists, The Insider news website reported Tuesday. A YouTube video screenshot depicting Selyukov kicking an activist was posted on Twitter by Vladislav Zdolnikov, an IT consultant associated with opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [9 January 2018]

Relatives report unsuccessful search for singer Zelimkhan Bakaev
Five months after disappearance of Zelimkhan Bakaev, an artist from Chechnya, investigators did not shed light on his fate. His mobile phone number was re-registered to a resident of Moscow, and someone replaced his WhatsApp avatar with a photo of the Grozny mosque, reported relatives and colleagues of Zelimkhan Bakaev. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that since August 8, 2017, Zelimkhan Bakaev's relatives are not aware of his whereabouts. The singer lived in Moscow. In August, he came to Grozny to take part in a wedding party of his sister and disappeared. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [9 January 2018]

Browder’s sentence for deliberate bankruptcy and tax evasion appealed
An appeal has been filed against a 9-year prison sentence given to Hermitage Capital head William Browder in absentia for deliberate bankruptcy and tax evasion, Anastasia Dzyurko, the spokesperson for Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court, has told RAPSI. The hearing date has not been set yet. On December 29, the court passed the sentence on Browder and his business partner Ivan Cherkasov in absentia. 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. [...]
Source: RAPSI [9 January 2018]

Crimean political prisoner beaten in Russia for reporting brutal treatment
Ukrainian political prisoner Vadim Siruk has been beaten up by Russian OMON police just a week after lawyers received reports that he and human rights activist Emir-Usein Kuku had been subjected to torture. Siruk, Kuku and four other Crimean Muslims are being taken ‘for trial’ to Rostov in Russia, with such journeys often used as a way of putting pressure on prisoners. Local human rights monitors managed to see Siruk after the first reports and received partial confirmation, though probably only in relation to him, not Kuku. He had been taken away from the others, and subjected to some kind of particular ‘search’, where they deployed guard dogs and during which one of the guards probably ill-treated him. It is unclear how openly Siruk could talk to the rights activists, and whether he told them everything. Emil Kurbedinov now reports that Siruk was beaten around the head and arms, and believes that this was in retaliation for the publicity the early torture received. He is convinced that this was the latest “attempt to breakpolitical prisoner Vadim Siruk and the others” [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [9 January 2018]

8 January 2018

posted 8 Jan 2018, 11:43 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 8 Jan 2018, 12:19 ]

Theft and Robbery Account for 42% of Crimes in Russia
Larceny topped the 2017 crime list in Russia amid a slight decrease in overall crime numbers, according to data released by the Prosecutor General’s Office this week.  More than 1.9 million crimes were registered in Russia between January and November, marking a 4.3-percent drop from 2016. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [8 January 2017]

Imam shot dead in Dagestan
Saigidakhmed Magomedov, a resident of the village of Mutsalaul, Khasavyurt District of Dagestan, was shot dead on January 6 at his house. In the evening, unidentified men came to Magomedov's house and called him out. The man went out the gate and was shot dead, villagers told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent. According to some villagers, the assassinated man was an Imam of the Quarter Village Mosque, which had been closed along with other Salafi mosques in Dagestan. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [7 January 2017]

Father of wounded man: MIA fails to act after shooting in Khasavyurt
People in masks wounded Idris Idrisov, a resident of Khasavyurt, from a traumatic pistol. However, no investigation is underway, since law enforcers are familiar with the attackers. This was claimed by advocate Magomed Idrisov, a victim's father. According to advocate Magomed Idrisov, on December 29, in Khasavyurt, a fight occurred between his son and another young man, provoked by personal dislike. In the evening of the same day, several people came to the place of the incident, and they continued to argue with Idris Idrisov. Five of them opened fire and stopped shooting only after the son pretended to be killed, Magomed Idrisov told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent. According to advocate, the attackers shot his son Idris from a traumatic pistol. Meanwhile, the young man's car was shelled from a combat pistol, and the father himself found a shell on the place of the incident. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [7 January 2017]

Russian Supreme Court Rejects Navalny Appeal On Presidential Election Ban
The Russian Supreme Court has upheld its decision to reject an appeal by opposition leader Aleksei Navalny against a decision to bar him from running in Russia's 2018 presidential election. The court said on January 6 that its decision on December 30 to uphold a ruling five days earlier by Russia's Central Election Commission that the anticorruption crusader isn't eligible to run "remains without change, and the appellate complaint of the administrative plaintiff, without satisfaction." The court said the decision by the Central Election Commission fully conforms to law. A lawyer for Navalny said the politician will appeal to the presidium of the Supreme Court and could take the case on to the Constitutional Court if need be. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [6 January 2017]

29 December 2017

posted 29 Dec 2017, 08:50 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 29 Dec 2017, 09:42 ]

Bill Browder: Russia jails investor in absentia
A Russian court has sentenced UK-based financier Bill Browder - a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin - to nine years' jail in absentia. He was found guilty of fraud and tax evasion. He got a nine-year jail term in 2013 on similar charges in Russia. He accuses officials of involvement in the death of his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, in a Russian jail in 2009. [...]
Source: BBC [29 December 2017]

Russian Activist Beaten, Hospitalized After Documenting Illegal Construction
Unknown assailants have severely beaten and hospitalized an environmental activist in Russia's southwestern city of Krasnodar after he filmed illegal construction of a luxury mansion on the Black Sea coast. Activist Andrei Rudomakha, head of Environmental Watch of the North Caucasus in southern Russia, suffered skull fractures, a broken nose, and a moderate concussion when he was beaten by three masked men late on December 28. A colleague posted a photo of Rudomakha after the attack. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [29 December 2017] 

Putin signs bill extending jury trials into law
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill that envisages a wider use of jury trial institution for certain demographic groups into law. The document’s version has been published on the official website of legal information. Amendments to the Criminal Procedural Code of Russia are aimed to implement decisions of the Constitutional Court regarding the cases in the framework of which the most severe punishments would not envisage life imprisonment or death penalty. According to the law, these cases may be reviewed by a jury panel. The law stipulates in particular that cases against women and men aged 65 and older may be considered by jurors. However, authors of the initiative propose to restrict jury panels from reviewing criminal cases against people under the age of 18. [...]
Source: RAPSI [29 December 2017]

11 gays tell about torture and their escape from Chechnya
Residents of Chechnya, who left the republic due to a project of the "Russian LGBT Network", reported about torture after detentions and about the role of top-ranking officials in organizing gay raids. Following publications about the persecution of gays from Chechnya, by late 2017, the "Russian LGBT Network" organized the departure of 106 people to six countries, the newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" reports. The newspaper published stories of 11 gay men from Chechnya who had already left the republic. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [28 December 2017]

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