Person of the Week: Lev Ponomarev

posted 22 Mar 2015, 13:45 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 22 Mar 2015, 15:01 ]
Lev Ponomarev, one of Russia's leading human rights defenders, is the executive director of the NGO For Human Rights, a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, and a founder of Memorial. 

On 16 March 2015 Zamoskvoretsky district court in Moscow ruled that the designation of the NGO For Human Rights as a 'foreign agent' was lawful. The court upheld the designation on the grounds that the NGO had received funding from foreign sources and had engaged in 'political activity' - specifically running 'public campaigns calling for legislative changes'. Genri Reznik, acting for For Human Rights in court, argued that the NGO should not be designated as a 'foreign agent', not least be cause there is no definition of 'political activity' in the law. 

Lev Ponomarev began his career as a physicist, but became active in the human rights movement in the 1980s. In 1997 he founded For Human Rights, a national organization of which he is executive director. He is an active campaigner on many issues, including the rights of prisoners, and writes regularly on the human rights concerns of the day. On 31 March 31, 2009, he was physically assaulted near his home by unidentified attackers. On 25 August, 2010 he was sentenced to a 3-day term in jail for attempting to carry the state flag of the Russian Federation along Arbat Street on State Flag Day, 22 August 22. On 7 September, 2010 he was sentenced to a 4-day term in jail for disobeying police orders at a rally. In June 2013, For Human Rights was evicted from its Moscow offices. The city government has since assisted the organization in obtaining alternative premises.

Read more: 'Moscow court dismisses appeal by For Human Rights against inclusion in the list of ‘foreign agents’,' in English, 17 March 2015; For Human Rights; Wikipedia.

Photo of Lev Ponomarev at a rally in memory of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova: За права человека