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25 July 2018

posted 25 Jul 2018, 12:10 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 25 Jul 2018, 12:23 ]
Three Russian guards plead guilty to mass beating of prisoner
Lawyer representing victim Yevgeny Makarov flees Russia after receiving death threats
Three Russian prison guards have pleaded guilty to joining in the mass beating of a prisoner in a case that has revealed more than 50 complaints of torture at a single prison colony and led a lawyer representing the victim to flee the country after receiving death threats. Gruesome video showed about 10 Russian guards taking turns to beat prisoner Yevgeny Makarov with rubber truncheons about the soles of his feet and legs as he was held face down on a table. The guards ignored Makarov’s screams and switched positions methodically, occasionally pouring a bucket of water over the convict’s head. One guard lectured Makarov for swearing at him. [...]
Source: The Guardian [25 July 2018]

Five Russian Prison Guards Sent To Pretrial Jail In Inmate Beating Case
A court in Russia has ordered two months of pretrial detention for five prison guards suspected of involvement in the severe beating of an inmate. The Zavolzhye district court in the city of Yaroslavl also ruled on July 25 that a sixth suspect, deputy prison warden Ivan Kalashnikov, must remain in custody for another 72 hours pending a ruling on whether he will also be jailed. The Investigative Committee said on July 23 that six officers of Corrective Colony No. 1 in Yaroslavl, northeast of Moscow, were detained after a video showing the beating of an inmate identified as Yevgeny Makarov was published by the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and circulated widely on the Internet last week. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [25 July 2018]

Russian ombudsman calls for inspection of penal colonies after recent torture scandal
Russian Human Rights ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova has called for a complex inspection of national penal colonies following the public outrage sparked by a video showing torture of an inmate. According to the press-service of the Human Rights commissioner, appeals against ill-treatment of inmates in penitentiary facilities alongside reports made by regional ombudsmen filed within last 2 years should be examined. [...]
Source: RAPSI [25 July 2018]

Russian Woman Reportedly Faces 6 Years in Prison for Insulting Memes
A woman in Siberia reportedly faces up to six years in prison on extremism charges for posting memes on social media deemed “insulting” by Russian investigators, part of a growing trend of Russians being punished for online activity. Internet freedom advocates decry what they call skyrocketing government censorship under Article 232 of the Criminal Code, which targets hate speech. Russia’s Supreme Court estimated that convictions under the extremism charge more than tripled between 2012 and 2017. Maria Motuznaya, 23, tweeted Monday that a team of investigators had raided her apartment in early May, confiscated her computer and phone and accused her of posting offensive images on the VKontakte social network, including satirical pictures of priests and Jesus Christ. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [25 July 2018]

Russian asylum seeker whom Ukraine helped send back to Russia convicted of ‘extremism’ for criticizing Putin
It was officially Belarus that extradited Russian opposition activist Vladimir Yegorov to Russia to face charges of making ‘public calls to extremist activities’. This was, however, only because Ukraine’s Security Service [SBU] chose to bypass Ukraine’s legislation and its international obligations altogether by simply dumping Yegorov, who had applied for asylum in Ukraine, on the border, leaving him no choice but to cross into Belarus. It is impossible to believe that the SBU officials did not understand the strong likelihood that the charges Yegorov was facing were politically motivated. The fact that he was only held in detention for a few months was not something they could have known when they chose to thus treat a person justifiably seeking political asylum. Yegorov is a 51-year-old electrician and the head of the local branch of the Yabloko Party in Toropets (Tver oblast). Criminal charges were initiated against him in October 2016 for so-called ‘calls to extremist activity’. These were over a strongly-worded post on the social network VKontakte in which he was highly critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He later explained that he had posted the comments after Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told teachers that they should find a second job (since it’s impossible to live on a teacher’s pay). He wrote that everybody goes for Medvedev, whereas the real culprit is Putin. [...]

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [25 July 2018]

Ukrainian gets double sentence for ‘hostility to Russia’ over annexation of Crimea
A court in Russian-occupied Crimea has upheld a shockingly high 8-year sentence on Hennady Lymeshko, a young father from the Kharkiv oblast and one of the ever-increasing number of Ukrainians whom Russia’s FSB forces to ‘confess’ on camera to supposed ‘sabotage plots’.  Since the indictment differed significantly from his ‘confession’, it seems likely that Lymeshko’s mother Rimma Ryzhkova is right in believing that the ‘confession on camera’ was made under torture or other forms of duress. He never had an independent lawyer, which may have influenced the fact that he did not later retract the initial ‘confession’, but he was undoubtedly promised a lower sentence in return for not denying guilt. He had only been provided with a state-appointed lawyer three days before the original ‘trial’ on 10 May 2018, and was clearly not advised to ensure that he had a written agreement regarding the terms of his ‘cooperation’. In short, he was tricked with the prosecutor demanding eight and a half years’ imprisonment in a maximum security prison. It was claimed that Lymeshko’s alleged political motive of “hostility to the Russian Federation in connection with reunification (sic) of Crimea” constituted an ‘aggravated circumstance’. This ‘trial’ at the Sudak District Court lasted all of an hour, with ‘judge’ Yevgeny Rykov sentencing Lymeshko to just six months less than had been demanded by the prosecution. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [25 July 2018]

Moscow Court Fines Pussy Riot Activists Over World Cup Protest
A Moscow court has fined four members of the Pussy Riot protest group for wearing police uniforms when briefly interrupting the July 15 World Cup final between France and Croatia by running onto the field. The Khamovniki district court ruled on July 25 that Veronika Nikulshina, Olga Pakhtusova, Olga Kurachyova, and Pyotr Verzilov must pay 1,500 rubles ($25) each for illegally wearing police uniforms. The four carried out the protest stunt early in the second half of the final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other high-ranking officials from around the world. Pussy Riot posted messages on social media claiming responsibility for the protest and issuing a list of six political demands -- including the release of all political prisoners in Russia, ending arrests at peaceful rallies, and allowing “political competition in the country.” On July 16, the four protesters were sentenced to 15 days in jail for "grossly violating the rules for spectators' behavior." [...]
Source: RFE/RL [25 July 2018]