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17 July 2018

posted 17 Jul 2018, 13:24 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 17 Jul 2018, 13:51 ]
Council of Europe Commissioner demands release of Oyub Titiev
Today, Council of Europe (CE) Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic has called on the General Prosecutor of Russia to take measures to release Oyub Titiev, the head of the "Memorial" in Grozny. She has also spoken in favour of transferring the rights defender's case to be considered outside Chechnya. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on January 11, Oyub Titiev was arrested on the charge of marijuana possession. The rights defender complained that a law enforcer planted the drugs on him. The authorities of the Chechen Republic have repeatedly claimed that Oyub Titiev was guilty. "I trust you would agree that deprivation of liberty may only be applied as a measure of last resort where other less restrictive measures cannot ensure the interests of justice. I would therefore be most grateful if you could provide information regarding the specific actions taken by your institution following the findings of the Presidential Human Rights Council in relation to Mr Oyub Titiev. In the meantime, I believe that decisive steps should be taken to ensure respect for his rights, including by urgently releasing him from custody," states the Dunja Mijatovic's letter addressed to Yuri Chaika, General Prosecutor of Russia, and published today on the official website of the Council of Europe Commissioner on Human Rights. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [17 July 2018]

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

Source: Caucasian Knot [17 July 2018]

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

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

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

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

Source: Caucasian Knot [17 July 2018]

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

Source: Caucasian Knot [17 July 2018]

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