Philip Leach: “The FSB’s very broad surveillance powers are simply not subject to adequate controls"

posted 25 Sep 2014, 01:27 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 25 Sep 2014, 01:46 ]
“The FSB’s very broad surveillance powers are simply not subject to adequate controls. There is no proper judicial authorisation procedure, no independent scrutiny and no legal redress for victims. The system needs to be completely overhauled.”

- Philip Leach, director of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre, commenting on the case of Roman Zakharov v Russia following a Grand Chamber hearing in the case held on Wednesday, 23 September 2014.

Photo: The EHRAC team at the hearing in the case of Roman Zakharov v Russia. Professor Philip Leach is on the left. 
(c) Kirill Koroteev 

Source: European Court to hear journalist's challenge to surveillance powers of Russian security service, Press Release, EHRAC, 22 September 2014

Also quoted in: 'Russia’s eavesdropping on phone calls examined by Strasbourg court,' The Guardian, 25 September 2014

The Guardian also writes: 'Outlining the journalist’s argument, Philip Leach, director of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre, said that the secret monitoring of communications in Russia directly affected everybody. He said that since the legislation had been passed the volume of electronic data available to the FSB (the successor to the KGB) had grown enormously, with the rise of text messages and emails, as well as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and instant messaging. “Information revealed by Edward Snowden has shown the extent to which governments are capable of carrying out mass surveillance programmes, often without individual warrants,” he told the court. Leach added that in certain circumstances Russia’s spy agencies eavesdropped on a target without judicial authorisation. He said that the FSB did seek court approval for interception in some instances, but he described scrutiny by Russian judges as “woefully inadequate”. Leach said that journalists and human rights organisations frequently faced state harassment in Russia, with much of the media under the control of political authorities. About 56 journalists had been murdered since 1992, he said, and there was a culture of impunity that was rampant. There had been practically no prosecutions against those who meted out violence against reporters. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had also introduced laws compelling non-governmental organisations that had western funding to register themselves as “foreign agents”, Leach said.'
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