Rights Groups in Russia

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Golos: News Digest 4 – 10 February 2019

posted 10 Feb 2019, 12:38 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Feb 2019, 12:39 ]

10 February 2019


Video Observation Findings

The leader of the merry-go-round in the Kemerov oblast turned out to be…. the deputy head of the region. Video observers are continuing their challenging work – the study of footage from polling stations and the uncovering of crimes. Vyacheslav Chernov brought this scandalous case to court but they only find the people involved not the organiser.

However, the observers are not planning on giving up and will appeal the decision in court. And we will follow the story and demand a just punishment for the guilty.

Another of this week’s findings – the brazen ballot stuffing uncovered by activists in Roshal, Podmoskovye, at the first polling station they came to. This inspired them to study all the footage we’ve gathered. You can expect a detailed report about what actually happened at polling stations in Roshal soon.

Roman Udot used the example of Dagestan to show the way in which video observers analyse footage.

Next Sunday we’ll be following the local elections in Altaysky Kray and North Ossetia. You can read about all the interesting developments on our voting chronicle.

Context

Dologoprud Court fines that heads of four commission for the issuing of false records. Prosecutor made defence of the constitution – Golos

Former gubernatorial candidate tries to cancel the result of elections in Altaysky Kray – Golos

Judges on the recount in Primorye: refusal of polling station No. 531 – Golos

Court dismisses criminal case on mass falsification at presidential elections  in Kuzbass – Tayga Info

Direct mayoral elections in Kemerovo and Novokuznestk cancelled – Govorit Moskva

Official responsible for elections in Moscow fired – Kommersant

“The Party of Change” to limit its participation in elections to three regions – Znak.com

Authorities testing news rules for the 2021 Duma elections – Nezavisimaya Gazeta

Our Bloggers

How “insiders” were appointed “outsiders” and removed from the elections. Irina Maltseva continues to follow small scale elections in Plyos which turned out rich in their electoral technology

By the way, if you want to read out news first then sign up to our Telegram channel.

Golos is able to do the work it does because of your donations – Support

Translated by Matthew Quigley


Golos: News Digest 28 January – 3 February 2019

posted 10 Feb 2019, 12:34 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Feb 2019, 12:35 ]

3 February 2019


“Golos” on Elections

We don’t have very little time left – evidence of voter falsification at the presidential elections may soon disappear. The fact of the matter is that official videos from polling stations are only stored for a year and those recorded by volunteers aren’t admissible in court. We wrote an appeal to the Central Election Commission requesting that they extend the time videos are kept. We hope that it will be possible to investigate the crimes, and not cover up the guilty.

Unfortunately, the courts are not yet inclined to deal thoroughly with what is happening at polling stations. Vladivostok’s Pervomaysky court rejected the first claim for a recount of the votes in Primorye, rejecting all six motions. But we’re not giving up, there are still three more claims yet to be assessed.

How necessary is it to reform the electoral system in Russia – Arkday Lyubarev, a Golos council member gathered the opinions of more than 100 experts: politicians, political scientists, Central Election Commission representatives, observers. You can download or order a printed copy of his book “On the Road to Reforming Electoral Legislation”

Context

Parliamentary Election Rules Change In Tula and Volgograd Oblasts – Kommersant

Differing optical scan voting system “patterns”: Court in Vladivostok throws out case on suspect procedure at governor election – VL.ru

Russia’s Communist Party to announce gubernatorial and parliamentary candidates in March – Kommersant

State Commission for Academic Degrees and Titles remove former Duma deputy and Central Election Commission member Valery Galchenko’s doctoral qualification – Novaya Gazeta  

Our Bloggers

Unavoidable but not uninteresting elections Vladimir Zhilkin reports on what happened at the election in a little village in the Tambov Oblast where the first case of ballot stuffing took place.

By the way, if you want to read out news first then sign up to our Telegram channel.

Golos is able to do the work it does because of your donations – Support

Translated by Matthew Quigley


Team 29: Elderly scientist Viktor Kudryavstev held for six months on remand. His family needs your help.

posted 10 Feb 2019, 12:25 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Feb 2019, 12:29 ]

8 February 2019

75-year old scientist Viktor Kudryavtsev, who has spent nearly 50 years working on the development of Russian rocket science, stands accused of treason and has been held in the Lefortovo remand prison for the last six months.  Due to his diabetes and other conditions, Kudryavtsev cannot eat the food they give him in the remand centre.  Now, food is being brought to him by Kudryavtseva’s wife, Olga, who is the same age as him.  However, this could be done by a courier, and so we are raising money to pay for such a service.

Our target is to raise 30,996 rubles and 8 kopeks.

That’s enough to pay for the courier to deliver food from Korolyov, outside Moscow, where the Kudryavtsevs live, to the Lefortovo remand prison from 11 February to 30 April.  A proportion of that amount (2,996 rubles) will go towards commission for the Cloudpayments service plus taxes.  You can read more about the collection here.

Help the family of Viktor Kudryavtsev!

Translated by Lindsay Munford


OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 92: Torture with a power screwdriver, six years in prison for prayers - and rallies for sale

posted 10 Feb 2019, 12:09 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Feb 2019, 12:21 ]

8 February 2019

OVD-Info is a Moscow-based NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday OVD-Info sends out a mailing with the latest news, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here


Greetings to our readers! 

We have decided to use the proverbial Day of the Pink Hearts to talk about love and caring in the difficult world of Russian activism and human rights work. As part of a joint project with Romb, we are looking for couples where at least one person is a civic or human rights activist. Both halves of the coupl must be available to speak with a camera crew in Moscow this weekend. The crew will try to adapt to your timetable and meet you in a location that suits you. If you can help us, write to ekaterina.golenkova@ovdinfo.org.

Danish citizen Dennis Christensen has been sentenced to six years imprisonment for being a Jehovah’s Witness. This is the first conviction since the ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses came into force. Christensen was convicted guilty of perpetuating the activities of an extremist organisation. The human rights centre Memorial has added him to its list of political prisoners.

·  Why do I need to know this? After all Jehovah’s Witnesses were added to the list of banned groups, believers have faced intense pressure. We have published detailed accounts of what life is like for Jehovah’s Witnesses under the ban and of the persecution they face.

An anarchistic doctoral candidate in mechanical mathematics at Moscow State University, Azat Miftakhov, is suspected of manufacturing explosives and of hooliganismThe investigation claims that he made an explosive device, supposedly for a failed act of terrorism  he had been planning in the city of Balashikha and that he was involved in setting fire to the United Russia party’s offices. On 1st February, he was detained along with 11 others after searches for explosive devices were conducted. Three of those detained, including Miftakhov, say they were tortured. Azat says that he was tortured with a power screwdriver. He tried to cut his veins to avoid torture. The anarchist was held by the police from 1st to 7th February, although he was not officially arrested until 2nd February. Miftakhov was released on 7th February, but re-arrested a few hours later on charges of hooliganism in connection with the attack on United Russia’s offices.

·  Why does this matter? Since last year, a wave of pressure against left-wing activists has been sweeping across Russia. If you are in an at-risk area, you should find youself a lawyer sooner rather than later.

Vyacheslav Egorov, an activist from Kolomna, is facing criminal charges for his involvement in rallies. Egorov had been battling against the landfill sites in Kolomna. Earlier media reports stated that the head of the police force had insinuated to Egorov that if he did not drop his activism, he might be facing a stint in prison. Another protestor against a waste incineration plant was supposedly found in possession of grenades.

·  Why do I need to know? The movement against waste incineration plants and landfill sites have gained momentum in the past year and, by all accounts, pressure on activists in this area is going to increase.

Features

Hunger strikes are the political prisoner’s weapon. How can hunger strikes be useful, how are they declared and when can you expect force-feeding? We write about the principal means by which prisoners can assert their rights and detail some iconic hunger strikes from the last hundred years.

If you want to go to a rally, then you need to pay: we explain how it came about that Belarus imposed duty taxes on public rallies.

“Post articles about how good the FSB is”. A student from Saratov told OVD-Info how, in the course of just a few months, the special forces switched from delivering warnings on the phone to making threats at university and demanding pro-FSB publicity.

What a week!

Each day we publish news reports and provide assistance to people who have been arrested. We very much need your assistance. After all, we depend for all our work on your support. Please sign up to make a monthly donation to OVD-Info. That way we can continue to send you your favourite mailing, our Weekly Bulletin.

Illustration by: Vlad Milushkin for OVD-Info

Translated by Judith Fagelson


Team 29: Best not to read anything, in case you stumble across come kind of secret!

posted 7 Feb 2019, 12:09 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 7 Feb 2019, 12:26 ]

1 February 2019

What’s going on?

Nothing is happening with the case of the scientist Viktor Kudryavtsev.  The investigation is grinding to a halt. They don’t seem to know what to do, so, to play it safe, they aren’t doing anything at all.  Kudryavtsev has served six months in Lefortovo, and even the judge is now wondering why, if the FSB is so sure that he’s guilty, the investigator doesn’t commission an expert opinion.  Kudryavtsev’s lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, talks about what’s been happening with the case in recent months.

What should I read?

Best not to read anything, I fear, in case you stumble across some kind of secret!  We have written what’s often called the ‘ultimate guide to the various categories of Russian secret.  Some of them are an effective tool of repression (such as state secrets, which the government accuses people of disclosing on the slightest pretext), while others you are sort of bound to protect (such as doctor-patient confidentiality or personal privacy), but in reality things aren’t that simple.

·    If you did read something, then invoke force majeure.  The Ministry of Justice is proposing that government officials not be penalised for corruption in such cases (we explain what this actually means). So, that could apply to you, too, right?

·    If you aren’t put off, then you should read this interview with the head of Team 29, Ivan Pavlov – it’s all about how state secrets mess with people’s lives and help send them off to prison camps.

What do I do?

The main thing is, avoid getting out of your car if the police stop you, don’t ask the officers to identify themselves, and certainly don’t become a lawyer!  Nearly a year ago, Pavel Zlomnov was detained by the roadside and beaten up.  After being asked to identify themselves, one of the police officers jammed a finger in Pavel’s ear, rupturing his eardrum.  Zlomnov was accused of illegal arms trafficking.  He was held in a remand centre for a year, but they never managed to prepare his case for trial.  The custody time limit expired and, in order to avoid releasing Zlomnov, a new charge of justification of terrorism was filed against him.  To be on the safe side, they filed a case against his brother, his father, and the lawyers Mikhail and Andrei Zlomnov (who were defending Pavel), for causing offence to the investigator.  I’m lost for words.  Do something good!

Until next time!

Katya and T29

Translated by Lindsay Munford


OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 91: Prosecuted for taking part in debates, ailing parents used for blackmail, and one-person pickets recorded as 'crimes'

posted 2 Feb 2019, 08:44 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 2 Feb 2019, 08:50 ]

1 February 2019

OVD-Info is a Moscow-based NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday OVD-Info sends out a mailing with the latest news, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here




Greetings to our readers! This week there has been a tragic event. This is the first item in our news report for this week.

In Rostov-on-Don criminal charges were brought against Anastasiya Shevchenko, a member of Open Russia. At the same time, Anastasiya's daughter died. Anastasiya Shevchenko has been charged with collaborating with an undesirable organisation. The grounds for the charges against Anastasiya were her participation in political debates and an announcement of a School of Municipal Debates. On 21 January Anastasiya Shevchenko was placed in custody, and on 23 January she was transferred to house arrest. Anastasiya is a single mother with three children: Misha (aged 7), Vlada (aged 14) and Alina (aged 17).

In court, Shevchenko’s defence requested that she be released under travel restrictions. Her lawyer showed the court documents to prove that Shevchenko’s elder daughter suffers from a congenital illness and needs regular care that her mother is unable to under house arrest. Complications can be fatal. Alina stays at a boarding school for children with special needs. The judge did not permit Anastasiya to visit her daughter and ruled that she be kept under house arrest.

On Wednesday Anastasiya's daughter Alina was hospitalized from the boarding school and moved to an intensive care unit in a critical state. Doctors said she was suffering from  obstructive bronchitis. Anastasiya learnt of this at the time that she was charged and became a defendant in the case, as opposed to a suspect. She was only allowed to see her daughter in the evening.

Yesterday Alina died.

  • How can you help? You can donate to help the family of Anastasiya Shevchenko in the following ways: via the Sberbank bankcard of Vlada Shevchenko (her daughter), No. 5469 5200 2558 8500; or via the Sberbank bankcard of her mother. Tamara Gryaznova, No. 6390 0252 9033 821530.

A staff member of the Foundation Against Corruption has told how law enforcement officers tried to persuade her to collaborate with them in exchange for help in treating her mother. Оlga Bulaeva, an office manager with the Foundation Against Corruption, was held in a special room at a metro station where a man, most likely a law enforcement officer, suggested that she collaborate in exchange for her mother receiving treatment for her health. Olga Bulaeva has two daughters aged seven and eight; her father had a stroke a number of years ago; and her mother is in an advanced stage of cancer.

  • What should you do? If an attempt is made to recruit you, make the incident public. Most likely, when that happens, the law enforcement officers will leave you in peace. If you attend a meeting with them, record what was said so that in future you will have evidence that the law enforcement agencies carried out a provocative act of this kind. We have written about how recruitment is carried out here.

Features

Police are breaking up one-person pickets in St. Petersburg. There appear to be in St. Petersburg a number of people who apparently have a strong dislike of one-person pickets. The police, on arresting activists, refer to certain 'complaints from citizens' that have been officially registered with the police - in the registration book for complaints of crimes. We look at whether the new methods of combatting street protests are lawful.

A new criminal investigation in underway concerning participation in protest rallies. The ‘Dadin’ article four years on. Civil society activist Vyacheslav Egorov is facing criminal charges. Egorov has been fighting against waste dumps in Kolomna district. For this he has been charged with an offence under Article 212.1 of the Criminal Code which establishes criminal liability for repeated violations of the regulations governing public rallies.  The last time the article was used, Ildar Dadin was jailed. Since then the ‘Dadin Article’ has been used solely to intimidate activists. We have published a report on how Article 212.1 of the Criminal Code came into being and against whom it has been used.

The Week!

Each day we publish news reports and provide assistance to people who have been arrested. We very much need your assistance. After all, we depend for all our work on your support. Please sign up to make a monthly donation to OVD-Info. That way we can continue to send you your favourite mailing, our Weekly Bulletin.

Illustration: Аnastasiya Pozhidaeva for OVD-Info

Memorial Human Rights Centre: 12 defendants in Ufa Hizb ut-Tahrir trial are political prisoners

posted 1 Feb 2019, 06:04 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 1 Feb 2019, 07:05 ]

31 January 2019



In Ufa at the present time the trial is taking place of Batyr Mukhametov, Bulat Rakhmanov, Ural Abdrakhimov, Radik Valiakhmetov, Timur Gadiev, Ural Galiev, Vadim Davletbaev, Ruslan Zainullin, Artem Naumov, Ruslan Rakhmatullin, Yaroslav Timofeev and Mikhail Toptygin. All the defendants have been charged with involvement in the international religious organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organisation designated as terrorist by the Supreme Court of Russia in 2003.

Mukhametov and Rakhmanov have been charged under Article 205.5, Section 1, of the Russian Criminal Code (Organisation of the activity of a terrorist organisation - for which the penalty is from 15 years to life in a prison colony). The 10 others have been charged under Article 205.5, Section 2, of the Russian Criminal Code (Participation in the activity of a terrorist organisation - for which the penalty is from 10 to 20 years).

The case is being heard by judges from the Volga District Military Court at sessions in Ufa.

At first, Artur Zaripov was also charged in the case. In March 2017 Zaripov agreed to cooperate with the investigation and his case is being dealt with separately. His trial has begun, but at present the Volga District Military Court’s website states that Zaripov has gone into hiding. Most likely, he has been released from detention.

As in other criminal cases concerning involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir of which we are aware, the defendants held meetings, discussed the organisation’s ideology, and sought to persuade other Muslims of their views. There is no evidence in the case that they committed or planned to commit crimes of violence, still less any actions that could, from the point of view of common sense, be considered terrorist.

Memorial does not agree with the decision of the Supreme Court to recognise Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organisation. We consider the charges against all the defendants in the Ufa case groundless and demand their release.

Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner, or of a prosecution as politically motivated, does not imply that Memorial Human Rights Centre shares or approves the individual’s views, statements or actions. 

More information about the “Case of the 12” currently being heard in Ufa can be read on the website of the Memorial Human Rights Centre: https://memohrc.org/ru/special-projects/ufimskoe-delo-12-o-chlenstve-v-zapreshchyonnoy-hizb-ut-tahrir

PayPal – an e-wallet for giving help to all Russian political prisoners

helppoliticalprisoners@gmail.com

This news item is available on our website.


Golos: News Digest 21-27 January 2019

posted 30 Jan 2019, 12:14 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Jan 2019, 12:16 ]

27 January 2019


Golos on Elections

Voters from Primorsky Kray are demanding a recount of the votes cast at the gubernatorial elections. We recall that very strange optical scanning voting systems were discovered. It was clear that the votes had been falsified. “Golos’s” legal team has helped plaintiffs prepare documents and we will monitor the legal proceedings.

Society’s patience is running out. Experts from the new practical-research council at the Central Election Commission discussed electoral reform legislation. A correspondent from the “Zakon” agency explained what was discussed.

Moscow’s commissions will have switched to cash free payments by the end of 2019, promised Central Election Commission deputy chair Nikolay Bulaev. This has been made possible thanks to the publicity that our reports on fraud, and the money received by members of the commission with the right to cast votes generated. We hope that the problem will now be resolved.

Context

Prosecutor asked to look into presidential elections. Observers speak of violations at 100 polling stations in 13 regions – Kommersant

Tomsk activists take regional duma to court over cancellation of elections in the region – TV-2

Central Election Commission plans to equip election commissions with video cameras – Tass

Digital polling stations to be tested at regional elections in Moscow in 2019 – Tass

Local self-rule in Russia to decrease – Vedomosti

Falsifiers on order: How teachers became the Kremlin’s electoral support – Republic

Our Bloggers

The processing of ballots in Primorye didn’t turn out to be the best – rather it became clear that these machines can be fooled. Political analyst Yulia Krivonosova compared the experiences of using optical scanning voting systems in different countries and asks the question – is automation such a good thing? “Golos” expert Vasili Vaysenberg responded to her question.

Oleg Reut got involved in the discussion on the need for electoral reform. He proposes to “destroy the towers” – read to see what he had in mind.

By the way, if you want to be the first to read our news, then sign up to our Telegram channel.

Help the fight for free and fair elections – I WANT TO HELP

Translated by Matthew Quigley

Team 29: A New KGB and Isolation of RuNet

posted 30 Jan 2019, 12:06 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Jan 2019, 12:08 ]

25 January 2019

Hi,

This is Kolya Ovchinnikov.  All this week, I’ve been working with a small team of designers on some games that you’ll definitely play at some point.  One thing I’m sure of is that this spring, you’ll be able to keep progressing through our mobile quest KGB – there will be three new chapters, new game mechanics and more useful tips, as well as a couple more awesome features that we’ll keep to ourselves for now.

In other news:

·         We reported on the case of Olga Ledeshkova, which is being handled by our lawyers.  Because Olga doesn’t know the identity of her biological mother, they can’t provide her with the correct diagnosis, and the registry office and courts are refusing to release the information to her.

·         We produced a detailed analysis of a proposal by deputies to isolate the Russian internet.

·         The State Duma has adopted, on first reading, draft laws imposing fines for fake news and disrespecting the government.  We go over what this is and how it’s going to work.

Also:

We’ve summarised the past six months’ financial results.  We run through how much money you contributed to us from July to December and what it was spent on.  It mainly went to our people’s lawyer.  She helps you to understand what our deputies and government officials are thinking up now, responds to anyone in need of advice on our Telegram chat, and, of course, works on cases with our other lawyers.

Remember to support us!

Kolya and T29

Support our people's lawyer

Write to us at: info@team29.org

If you do not wish to hear from us, unsubscribe. But remember, we will really miss you.

Translated by Lindsay Munford\


OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 90: Pressure on Open Russia, arrests at event in memory of Markelov and Baburova, and a possible agent provocateur

posted 27 Jan 2019, 03:53 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 2 Feb 2019, 08:48 ]

25 January 2019

OVD-Info is a Moscow-based NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday OVD-Info sends out a mailing with the latest news, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here

Greetings to our readers! We hope that in this extremely cold weather you are keeping warm at home, and not freezing in the back of a police van. We’re here to tell you what has been going on behind closed doors in police stations.

Pressure is once again mounting on participants in the Open Russia movement across the country. A criminal case has been brought against a member of the movement’s national council, Anastasia Shevchenko, on the activity of an organisation which has been deemed undesirable in Russia. She has been placed under house arrest. The movement’s activists in Kazan, Rostov-on-Don and Ulyanovsk have been searched in connection with the case against Shevchenko. A participant from the Cheboksary branch of the movement has been charged under the administrative code on two counts of belonging to an “undesirable organisation.” In Pskov, another member of the Open Russia movement, Dmitry Semenovsky, has been detained for refusing to present a medical certificate. 

·  Why do I need to know this? This is an important trend against the backdrop of continued persecution of NGOs and human rights activists. Initially, participants in the Open Russia movement were only charged under the administrative code, after a foreign organisation with the same name was deemed “undesirable”. Many emigrated, fearing criminal prosecutions in future. Their fears turned out to be well grounded.

New arrests have been made at rallies in memory of the activist Stanislav Markelov and the journalist Anastasia Baburova. In St Petersburg, 7 people, who had been taking turns to stand in solitary protest, were arrested. In Moscow, 4 were arrested.

·  What has this got to do with me? Even at the authorised processions in memory of Markelov and Baburova, people are detained on a regular basis, and the same is true at other, similar events. For this reason, if you are planning on attending a rally – even an authorised one – you should make sure you are well prepared. We have published guidance on what to do if you are arrested.
  

Features

“Nothing personal, only public.” We have transcribed a conversation between a St Petersburg schoolgirl and her teacher. The teacher forced the girl to learn articles from the Russian Federal Code on Administrative Offences because of her arrest at a rally against pension reforms. 

An undercover agent, threats and unmarked weapons – the parents of the defendants in the Networks case have discovered some previously unknown information. We detail what we have now found out about the case. 

Seven and eight years in a maximum-security prison on charges of planning to burn down the Kremlin. Three men from Russia’s provinces – Oleg Dmitriev, Sergey Ozerov and Oleg Ivanov – arrived in Moscow in order to observe the so-called “Maltsev Revolution” and to find work in the capital. They shared a room on the outskirts of the city, and were joined there by Vadim Mayorov who, according to the defendants, tried to sell them weapons and persuade them to steal from the rich under the cover of the chaos on 5th November. The three men did not like Mayorov’s proposal and decided to part ways with him. Special FSB forces stormed the apartment before they managed to leave. During the raid, Mayorov somehow managed to escape all the operatives and special FSB agends and is now in France. Criminal charges have not been brought against him. The others, who are facing charges of planning an act of terrorism, consider him to be an agent provocateur. We tell the complex story of this case and explain the contradictions.

What a week!

Each day we publish news reports and provide assistance to people who have been arrested. We very much need your assistance. After all, we depend for all our work on your support. Please sign up to make a monthly donation to OVD-Info. That way we can continue to send you your favourite mailing, our Weekly Bulletin. 

Illustration by Alina Kugusheva for OVD-Info

Translated by Judith Fagelson


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