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18 July 2017

posted 18 Jul 2017, 10:24 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 18 Jul 2017, 10:55 ]

Russia Jehovah's Witnesses banned after they lose appeal
Russia's Supreme Court has ordered the disbanding of the Jehovah's Witnesses on Russian territory. The ban came into effect after the court rejected an appeal by the religious group against a ruling in April which declared it to be extremist. The justice ministry had argued that the group distributed pamphlets which incited hatred against other groups. The group described the ruling as the end of religious freedom in Russia. [...]
Source: BBC [17 July 2017]

Moscow City Hall Allows Opposition March in Defense of Internet Freedom
Moscow City Hall has authorized an opposition rally in defense of internet freedom to be held later this month. The application for the march “For a free internet,” filed by the liberal opposition’s party People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS), had been rejected twice before, with City Hall citing road works at the protest site. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [18 July 2017]

Russia Ordered to Pay $6 Mln for Seizing Greenpeace’s 'Arctic Sunrise'
Russia has been ordered to pay 5.4 million euros ($6.25 million) in damages to the Netherlands for seizing the “Arctic Sunrise” Greenpeace ship and detaining its crew in 2013.  
The Permanent Court of Arbitration said in an online statement on Tuesday that Russia had violated the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea by boarding the ship without consent and detaining crew members. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [18 July 2017]

Navalny, Co-Defendants Ordered To Pay $35,500 To Kirovles
A Moscow court has ordered Russian opposition political activist and anticorruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny and two co-defendants in a high-profile embezzlement case to pay 2.1 million rubles (about $35,500) in damages to a lumber company. In February, a court in the Russian city of Kirov found Navalny and co-defendant Pyotr Ofitserov guilty of embezzlement from the Kirovles lumber company after a retrial. Navalny on February 8 received a 5-year suspended sentence, and Ofitserov received a 4-year suspended sentence. Additionally, they were fined 500,000 rubles ($8,500) each. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [18 July 2017]

Trial Of Crimean Journalist Semena Resumes In Simferopol
Russian-appointed judges at a court in Ukraine's occupied Crimea region have conducted a new hearing in the trial of Mykola Semena, an RFE/RL contributor who is fighting what he says is a politically motivated separatism charge. Witnesses and experts called by the defense testified at the trial on July 18. The judge agreed to include the UN General Assembly's December 2016 resolution on human rights in Crimea -- which was seized by Russia in 2014 -- in the case documents. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [18 July 2017]

ECtHR communicates two protest-related cases to Russian government
The European Court of Human Rights has communicated two cases being joinders of complaints submitted by Russian nationals, who at various times and in various locations of the Russian Federation took part in protest actions, as materials in the Court’s database read. [...]
Source: RAPSI [18 July 2017]

HRC "Memorial": head of municipal enterprise reports being tortured in Grozny
Lom-Ali Elbiev, a former director of the Grozny Municipal Unitary Enterprise (MUE) "Teplosnabzhenie" (Heat Supply), told rights defenders that he was tortured after being accused of embezzling budget funds, the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" has stated. Rights defenders have asked the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) to check the man's statement; however, so far, law enforcement bodies have not responded to the appeal. The 57-year-old Lom-Ali Elbiev, who turned to the HRC "Memorial" on June 5, said that he was forced to flee to Europe after being tortured and persecuted in Chechnya. The man asked for help in bringing to justice those responsible for violating his rights. According to the "Memorial", on February 24, 2017, Lom-Ali Elbiev was summoned to a sitting, where he was accused of embezzling large amounts of money; and in that evening he found himself in a cellar in handcuffs. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [18 July 2017]

Russian activist jailed for comparing Putin with Hitler (Both invaded Ukraine)
Anti-corruption activist Viktoria Lobova was jailed for three days in Vladimir on July 14 for reposting a picture where Russian President Vladimir Putin is in a Nazi uniform, and is likened to Adolf Hitler. The reasons are provided. "Both began with the Olympics”, "They both invaded Ukraine” and “They both shamed their countries before the entire world”. This is the latest of several examples where legislation prohibiting the public demonstration of Nazi symbols has been used as a repressive measure against critics of the current Russian regime. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [18 July 2017]

Online and On All Fronts
Russia’s Assault on Freedom of Expression
Since 2012, the Russian authorities have intensified a crackdown on freedom of expression, selectively casting certain kinds of criticism of the government as threats to state security and public stability and introducing significant restrictions to online expression and invasive surveillance of online activity. While new restrictions on freedom of expression appear to target political opposition or civic groups, they affect all Russians. Curbing free speech denies a voice to anyone dissatisfied with the ongoing economic crisis or even mildly critical of Russia’s foreign policy. [...]
Source: Human Rights Watch [18 July 2018]