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5 June 2017

posted 5 Jun 2017, 11:20 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 5 Jun 2017, 12:10 ]
Ex-head of Ukraine library in Moscow Natalia Sharina guilty
The former head of a Ukrainian library in Moscow has been found guilty of extremism and embezzlement, in a case she says is politically motivated. Natalia Sharina was arrested in 2015 after a search of her Library of Ukrainian Literature found what officials described as anti-Russian propaganda. She denied the charges. Her arrest came amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine following the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Rights groups have condemned the case. [...]
Source: BBC [5 June 2017]

Russia: Conviction of librarian for holding ‘extremist books’ demonstrates utter contempt for rule of law
The conviction of Natalya Sharina, former Director of the state-run Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow, for holding ‘extremist books’ demonstrates utter contempt for the rule of law and highlights flaws in the independence of Russia’s judiciary, said Amnesty International today. Natalya Sharina was found guilty of ‘inciting hatred’ and ‘embezzlement’ and handed a four years suspended sentence by the Meshchansky District Court of Moscow. She was arrested in October 2015 after works by Ukrainian nationalist Dmytro Korchynsky were found in an unindexed pile of books in the library she headed. Korchynsky’s works are officially banned in Russia and the books were defined as ‘extremist’ and ‘anti-Russian propaganda’ by the prosecutor. [...]
Source: Amnesty International [5 June 2017]

Chechen Man Who Claimed Torture Said Detained In Russia
A Chechen man who claimed in 2013 that he was tortured by police has been detained in Russia's Bryansk region. The Committee for the Prevention of Torture said on June 5 that Murad Amriyev, a former world champion in mixed martial arts, was detained while travelling by train the previous day and was expected to be transferred to the Chechen capital, Grozny. The rights group said that Amriyev will most likely face torture or even death if he is returned to Chechnya. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [5 June 2017]

Crimean Journalist's Trial Resumes, Adjourned Until June 14
The trial of RFE/RL contributor Mykola Semena, a Crimean journalist who is fighting what he says is a politically motivated separatism charge on the Russian-controlled peninsula, resumed on June 5 in the Crimean capital, Simferopol. Semena's lawyer, Aleksei Popkov, told RFE/RL that materials linked to the prosecution were read out at the session on June 5. The judge then adjourned the trial until June 14. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [5 June 2017]

Russian Magazine The New Times Closes Print Amid Financial Troubles
Russian opposition-leaning magazine The New Times announced Sunday it will close its print edition due to financial problems. The magazine was registered as a non-profit organization for the past four years, relying solely on its subscribers for revenue. New Times editor-in-chief Yevgenia Albats said this gave the publication editorial freedom. In 2017, the magazine fell short of its target subscriber figure. “For ten years, despite all the difficulties, troubles, threats, we have remained an absolutely independent publication,” Albats said in a statement in the last paper issue of the newspaper. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [5 June 2017]

Crimean Tatar activist prosecuted for Facebook birthday greeting to Mustafa Dzhemilev
Rustem Mennanov has become the latest Crimean Tatar to be fined or jailed for innocuous social network posts. Such prosecutions are often pretexts for persecution, but also a form of intimidation and warning that even posts from years before Russia’s invasion of Crimea will be used for repressive purposes. Mennanov was fined on June 1 by a Crimean court under Russian occupation for mentioning the Mejlis [self-governing body] of the Crimean Tatar people in a birthday greeting to Mustafa Dzhemilev. Since the veteran Crimean Tatar leader and former Soviet political prisoner, was also, until 2013, the head of the Mejlis, mention of this is hardly surprising. Russia is ignoring a direct order from the International Court of Justice to end its persecution of the Mejlis which it banned in April 2016, two years after it banished Dzhemiliev and the current head of the Mejlis Refat Chubarov from their homeland. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [5 June 2017]

Russian Justice Ministry drafts bill regulating activities of foreign NGOs’ branches
The Justice Ministry has prepared amendments to the Federal law on non-commercial organizations regulating activities of foreign non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) branches in Russia, the ministry’s announcement reads on Monday. The bill extends possible grounds for refusal to include data on structural subdivisions of foreign NGOs into the specialized registry. Authors of the bill also propose to document requirements for the content of provisions for foreign NGO branches. According to the bill, a branch of an NGO may be removed from the registry by a ruling of the authorized body if the main organization decides to close itself or cancel its activities in Russia. [...]
Source: RAPSI [5 June 2017]

Russian Interior Ministry ordered to pay $1,200 to man tortured by police
The Supreme Court of Tatarstan has ordered Russia’s Interior Ministry to pay 70,000 rubles ($1,200) to a man tortured in a police office, lawyer Andrey Suchkov told RAPSI on Monday. The ruling will be appealed. Suchkov said the awarded sum is inconsistent with the plaintiff’s depths of physical and moral suffering, as well as with standards of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). [...]
Source: RAPSI [5 June 2017]

Russian government, Supreme Court back bill on prison terms for carousel voting
Russia’s Supreme Court and government have supported a bill introducing punishment of up to 5 years in prison for so-called carousel voting, RIA Novosti reported Monday citing Pavel Krasheninnikov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on State Building and Legislation. Carousel voting is illegal issuance and obtaining of ballots instead of other voters or bussing from one polling site to another in order to cast multiple votes. Members of election and referendum commissions would face fines ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 rubles ($1,770 – 5,300), community service of up to 4 years, or imprisonment of up to 4 years for the issuance of ballots to citizens enabling them to vote repeatedly during the election or for other individuals and for issuance of completed voting papers. [...]
Source: RAPSI [5 June 2017]

Russia: Rights Activist Facing Charges. First Criminal Inquiry in a ‘Foreign Agents’ case
On June 2, 2017, Valentina Cherevatenko was formally charged with “malicious evasion” of legal requirements set out in Russia’s law on “foreign agents.” In a statement published on the same day, the European Union External Action Service acknowledged Cherevatenko’s “outstanding work on human rights education, peace building, and humanitarian issues” and flagged that “[Russia’s] practice of declaring NGOs as "foreign agents" restricts civil society and impedes the exercise of fundamental freedoms.” The trial date is pending. [...]
Source: Human Rights Watch [5 June 2017]