Yulia Gorbunova & Anastasia Ovsyannikova: "The activists were interrogated without lawyers on their views of the Orthodox Church and whether they were affiliated with radical groups"

posted 23 Nov 2016, 00:48 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 23 Nov 2016, 00:51 ]
How did local residents trying to preserve a park in Moscow end up the target of a criminal investigation for “insulting religious feelings”? [...] Early the morning of Monday, November 14, masked and armed riot police units came to the activists’ homes. Police smashed the door of one apartment and cut through the lock of another’s front door. One activist said at least 15 armed policemen came to arrest him. They threw him on the floor, handcuffed him in front of his children, and took him away. A pro-Kremlin television channel was at the scene almost instantly, cameras rolling. [...] The police searched activists’ apartments for several hours, confiscating computers and phones. The activists were taken to a police station to answer questions on a criminal case about “insulting religious feelings.” They were interrogated without lawyers on their views of the orthodox church and whether they were affiliated with radical groups. All were released without charges, but the criminal investigation continues. The ties between the Russian state and the orthodox church run deep. The government extensively relies on the Church for endorsement and support, and the Church receives the government’s generous financial backing. The disturbing lack of separation between the two has led to public criticism, corruption allegations, and protests."
    - Yulia Gorbunova, Researcher, Russia, & Anastasia Ovsyannikova, Natalia Estemirova fellow (Human Rights Watch)

Photos: Human Rights Watch

Yulia Gorbunova & Natalia Estemirova fellowIn Russia, 'Thou Shalt not Disagree With the Orthodox Church. Police Raid Home of Activists Opposed to Church Construction,' Human Rights Watch, 18 November 2016