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14 June 2017

posted 14 Jun 2017, 13:23 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Jun 2017, 13:57 ]
St. Petersburg Ombudsman Says City Authorities Provoked Protests
The ombudsman of Russia's second largest city, St. Petersburg, has accused city authorities of "provoking" unsanctioned protests. An estimated 1,560 people were detained at anticorruption demonstrations nationwide on June 12 that were organized by opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, including more than 500 in St. Petersburg. Aleksandr Shishlov wrote on his website that "hundreds of people, including teenagers, journalists, observers and other people, who did not pose any social threat" were detained during the anticorruption protests in the city on June 12. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [14 June 2017]

Russian Court Turns Down Request Of Navalny's Jailed Brother To Mitigate Sentence
A request by Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny's jailed brother to have his sentence mitigated has been rejected by a court. The Uritsky District Court in the Oryol region said on June 14 that Oleg Navalny's request was rejected, without giving any details. Meanwhile Aleksei Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh wrote on Twitter that the court explained the denial of the request by Oleg Navalny's inability to display "law-abiding behavior." [...]
Source: RFE/RL [14 June 2017]

Russian MPs back Moscow demolition project despite protests

Russian MPs have passed a controversial law to start demolishing more than 4,500 old Soviet-era apartment blocks in Moscow, despite big protests. It is the biggest demolition project ever seen in Russia's capital and the rehousing is to begin later this year. Opponents say their right to private property has been infringed and fear being moved to remote tower blocks. The Duma (lower house) backed the law overwhelmingly. The revised text allows residents to vote against demolition. [...]
Source: BBC [14 June 2017]

Russian Lawmakers Approve Plan to Relocate 1.6 Million Muscovites
At least 16 protesters were detained in front of the Russian Parliament building on Wednesday as legislators approved a plan that could uproot up to 1.6 million Muscovites from their aging Soviet-era residences and move them into newly built apartments. The resettlement plan, which has been hotly contested, has been one of the issues feeding protests this spring in the capital. Opponents of the plan also participated in demonstrations against corruption and political stagnation on Monday. Yulia Galyamina, the leader of the resettlement protests, was one of more than 850 people detained by the Moscow police on Monday at a large anti-Kremlin rally on the city’s main Tverskaya thoroughfare. Ms. Galyamina said she had been beaten by the police officers who detained her and that she had been hospitalized for a concussion. Nationwide, 1,721 people were detained on Monday, according to OVD-Info, an independent organization that tracks arrests, during one of the most sweeping anti-government demonstrations since President Vladimir V. Putin came to power. [...]
Source: New York Times [author: Ivan Nechpurenko; 14 June 2017]

Protesters Detained As Duma Approves Moscow Demolitions
Russian police arrested protesters outside the State Duma, as it gave final approval to plans for mass demolitions of privately-owned housing in Moscow. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [14 June 2017]

State Duma passes bill banning anonymous messenger accounts in first reading
The State Duma has adopted a bill regulating the work of messaging services and prohibiting anonymous use of online messengers in the first reading. On June 9, the bill was supported by the State Duma Committee on Information Policy. A group of lawmakers submitted the bill to the lower house of Russia’s parliament on May 24. Amendments are proposed to the Federal Law “On Information, Information Technology and Information Protection”. [...]
Source: RAPSI [14 June 2017]

UN rights watchdog stops Ukraine from extraditing asylum seeker to Russia
The UN Human Rights Committee has ordered the Ukrainian authorities to halt extradition of Timur Tumgoev to Russia, pending consideration of his assertion that he would face torture if forcibly returned. The appeal to the UN watchdog against the planned extradition was sent in April by Kharkiv Human Rights Group lawyers after all other avenues failed. 30-year-old Tumgoev is from Ingushetia in the Russian Federation and was detained at Kharkiv Airport on June 17, 2016 on his arrival from Turkey where he had been living for two years. The detention was yet again because Russia had placed him on the INTERPOL wanted list. He has been held in the Kharkiv SIZO [remand prison] ever since. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [14 June 2017]

Health Concerns for Ukrainian Serving Insane Sentence as Russia’s Revenge for Maidan
Andriy Kolomiyets, one of the two Ukrainians whom Russia has imprisoned on fabricated charges linked with Euromaidan, has reported worrying symptoms and asked for medical tests. There are grounds for concern as the other Ukrainian Oleksandr Kostenko has been persistently denied treatment for a serious injury inflicted by the FSB after his arrest. Kolomiyets’ wife Galina reports that her husband’s formal application for an examination refers to recurrent bad headaches, nausea, spots before his eyes, pain at the back of the head and other symptoms. He speaks of spots which first appeared when he was arrested, and have now spread all over his body, itching and sometimes emitting pus. 23-year-old Kolomiyets was the second Ukrainian to be arrested on legally nihilistic charges which were not only unprovable, but concerned events over which Russia could have no jurisdiction. His arrest was effectively proof that any Ukrainian who had taken part in Euromaidan was in danger of arrest and torture if they went to Russia or Crimea under Russian occupation. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [14 June 2017]

Crimean Journalist Hopes To Steer Trial Away From 'Politics'
Crimean journalist Mykola Semena has told RFE/RL that he welcomes the chance to make a straightforward, law-based case for his innocence at a trial he said has so far been dominated by politically charged statements by Russian prosecutors. Semena, who is fighting what he says is a baseless, politically motivated separatism charge at a trial in Russian-controlled Crimea, spoke before a hearing on June 14. "Up to now, only the prosecutors have been given the floor to talk -- and every one of their statements or motions in the trial has had political connotations," said Semena, an RFE/RL contributor. "That is why our goal now, as we move to a new stage of the trial, is to turn the process into a legal discussion -- so that the opinions were expressed solely based on law, not political ideas," he said. The defense had been expected to begin making its case at the June 14 hearing, but the judge quickly adjourned the trial until June 21 after a Russian-Ukrainian translator did not show up. Semena faces up to five years in prison if convicted by Russia, which has jailed several people from Crimea who opposed or have criticized Moscow’s 2014 seizure of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine. The charge against Semena, 66, stems from an article he wrote for RFE/RL's Krym.Realii (Crimea Realities) website in 2015. The Kremlin-installed authorities in Crimea have charged that the article called for the violation of Russia's territorial integrity. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [14 June 2017]

Zhalaudi Geriev celebrates his birthday behind bars
Today, Zhalaudi Geriev, a "Caucasian Knot" correspondent, who is serving his sentence after the pronouncement of the verdict by the Chechen court, is celebrating his 24-year birthday behind bars. The "Caucasian Knot" treats the case against Zhalaudi Geriev as being fabricated and hopes for his release. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on December 28, 2016, the Supreme Court (SC) of Chechnya upheld the verdict against Zhalaudi Geriev, who on September 5, 2016, was sentenced by the Shali District Court to three years of imprisonment on the charge of possession of marijuana. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [13 June 2017]

Police release activist Bagomed Bagomedov detained at rally in Makhachkala
Bagomed Bagomedov, who on June 12 tried to start an anticorruption rally in Makhachkala, has been released from the ROVD (District Interior) for the Soviet District of the city. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that today, the Soviet District Court of Makhachkala has sentenced each of six persons, brought to the police station from the place of the rally, to a fine in the amount of 500 roubles. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [13 June 2017]

Counter Terrorism Operatiion regime cancelled in two districts of Dagestan
Law enforcers have completed special operations in six villages of the Buynaksk and Karabudakhkent Districts of Dagestan, reports the operational headquarters for Dagestan of the National Antiterrorist Committee (NAC). The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on April 20, the CTO legal regime was introduced in the villages of Nizhny Djinghutai, Durangi, and Karamakhi of the Buynaksk District, as well as in the villages of Durgeli, Gurbuki, and Gubden of the Karabudakhkent District. The results of the CTO are not reported. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [13 June 2017]

Interview: Why World Cup Rights Work in Russia Is No Game
Detained and Questioned Trying to Interview Construction Workers in Volgograd
While investigating the exploitation of workers in Russia building stadiums for the 2018 World Cup, Human Rights Watch consultant Semyon Simonov was detained by Russian police and unidentified security forces. They held him for three hours and interrogated him. Philippa Stewart talks to Simonov about his experience in a Russian police station, and with Jane Buchanan, associate director of our Europe and Central Asia Division, about abuses construction workers hired for the upcoming football tournament are facing. [...]
Source: Human Rights Watch [14 June 2017]

Red Card
Exploitation of Construction Workers on World Cup Sites in Russia
Russia will host the next FIFA World Cup, from June 14 to July 15, 2018, just over four years after hosting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Mega-sporting events are a source of national pride for the Russian government, and it invests heavily in their success. Tens of thousands of workers are building the stadiums and infrastructure necessary for hosting of the World Cup. These workers often face exploitation, poor working conditions, and little recourse for abuses. These are long-standing issues that have been well-documented by Human Rights Watch and others before Russia was selected to host the World Cup. Yet the Russian government has not done enough to monitor and curb abusive practices in the construction sector and hold employers accountable. [...]
Source: Human Rights Watch [14 June 2017]