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24 July 2018

posted 24 Jul 2018, 10:54 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 24 Jul 2018, 12:17 ]
Russian State Journalist Killed in Nizhny Novgorod
A popular television anchor and journalist has reportedly been killed in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod, east of Moscow. Denis Suvorov, 27, worked as a host and online editor at Rossia Nizhny Novgorod, which is broadcast by the state-run VGTRK media holding. The company released a statement Monday expressing its condolences to the deceased journalist’s family members and friends. Police launched a criminal investigation into the murder after Suvorov’s body was found with a skull fracture on Monday, the local website cited anonymous law enforcement sources as saying. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [24 July 2018]

Shocking Video Prompts Mass Torture Crackdown in Russian Prisons
Russia’s prison watchdog has announced plans to launch a nationwide inspection of correctional facilities following public outrage over a leaked video of a prisoner being tortured. Public officials in Yaroslavl have come under fire for failing to investigate a torture case dating back to 2017 before footage of the incident was published in the media last week. Seventeen prison guards have since been fired and six arrested on charges of abuse of power. In a separate case on Tuesday, investigators in the western city of Bryansk said they had detained a guard on suspicion of torturing an inmate to death. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [24 July 2018]

Russian Prison Guard Accused Of Suffocating Inmate To Death
A prison guard in western Russia's Bryansk region has been detained on suspicion of suffocating an inmate to death by binding his face with a piece of cloth. The Investigative Committee said on July 24 that the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) officer is accused of "using violence and special security means that limited a convict's ability to move." The guard "bound [the inmate's] face with cloth, as a result of which the latter died of asphyxiation," the committee said in a statement. It said the incident occurred on July 22. It is the second case of alleged violent abuse at a Russian penitentiary to emerge into the open in recent days. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [24 July 2018]

Rights Group Memorial Deems Jailed Russian Activist A Political Prisoner
The Moscow-based human rights group Memorial says it has determined that Mikhail Savostin, an activist charged with illegal drug possession, is a political prisoner. Memorial said on July 23 that the authorities' case against Savostin contains "elements of intentional falsification." Savostin, who is a senior member of Assembly of the Peoples of the Caucasus and the independent trade union Solidarnost (Solidarity), was arrested in April after police stopped his car in his native city of Mineralnyye Vody in the North Caucasus. Police said they found two packets of marijuana in his possession. Savostin denies it and contends that the drugs were planted by police to frame him. In late June, Savostin started a hunger strike protesting his arrest. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [24 July 2018]

Russia extends its torture of abducted & gravely ill Ukrainian student
Russia’s ‘trial’ of Pavlo Hryb, a Ukrainian student abducted by the FSB from Belarus, began in Rostov on 23 July 2018, only to be adjourned for the prosecutor to correct a critical mistake in the indictment. Hryb’s detention was extended to 22 October, despite the 20-year-old’s life-threatening blood circulation illness, which could lead to fatal haemorrhaging at any time. The situation is of particular concern since there is reason to fear that Hryb is also facing physical harassment from other prisoners. This could be part of the intense pressure on the young man since August 2017, aimed at forcing out a ‘confession’ to the surreal charges laid, and avoiding details of his abduction from another country being revealed in open court. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [24 July 2018]

Report: Khakas Language, Culture Activist Charged With Extremism In Russia
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has reportedly lodged an extremism charge against an activist who promotes indigenous cultures and languages following a post on the Internet. The news site reported on July 24 that it had obtained FSB documents related to the charge against Lidiya Bainova, an activist in the Khakasia region of Siberia. The documents show that the FSB has accused Bainova of calling "for violence against [ethnic] Russian people residing in the region." In a post on the Russian social network VKontakte that went viral earlier in July, Bainova wrote about what she described as racism faced by ethnic Khakas people on their own land on a daily basis. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [24 July 2018]

Moscow court refuses to return case of YUKOS ex-lawyer to prosecutors
The Khamovnichesky District Court of Moscow has refused to return the criminal case against Yukos oil company’s former lawyer Pavel Ivlev, who is charged with embezzlement, to prosecutors, RAPSI correspondent reports from the courtroom. Attorneys representing Ivlev asked the court to return the case because the alleged crime was related to his activity as a lawyer, also saying that the charges themselves were incorrect. The judge, in turn, said that there were no grounds to this request. Prosecutors also objected to the motion in question. Earlier, the court dismissed other motions of the defense, asking the court to bring politician Alexey Navalny into the trial as Ivlev’s lawyer and to organize a video conference with Ivlev, a U.S. citizen currently residing in the United States. [...]
Source: RAPSI [24 July 2018]

Russian Federation Council adopts bill on appeals courts
The Federation Council has passed a bill on establishment of independent cassation and appeals courts of general jurisdiction in Russia, the statement of the higher chamber of Russia’s Parliament reads. The State Duma, the Parliament’s lower house, adopted the bill in the third and final reading on July 17. The bill has been drafted by the Supreme Court of Russia. Amendments are proposed to laws "On the Judicial System of the Russian Federation", “On Courts of General Jurisdiction of the Russian Federation”, “On Military Courts of the Russian Federation”, and “On the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation”. The bill envisages creation of 9 cassation and 5 appeals courts of general jurisdiction within the relevant judicial circuits that involve territories of several subjects of the Russian Federation. [...]
Source: RAPSI [24 July 2018]

Rare witness to horror of Stalin's Gulag prisons dies
A rare survivor of the harshest Stalin-era labour camps has died aged 89 in Russia's far east. Vasily Kovalyov had survived icy punishment cells and beatings in the USSR's notorious Gulag prison system. During an escape attempt in 1954 he spent five months hiding in a freezing mine with two other prisoners. Kovalyov's story was featured in Vesma, a news site based in Magadan. The communist regime shipped thousands of "enemies" to prison camps via Magadan. In 1950 Kovalyov, aged 20, was found guilty of anti-Soviet sabotage - one among the millions of victims of Stalinist terror. An old sabre that he had used to chop vegetables was enough to condemn him. [...]
Source: BBC [24 July 2018]