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OVD-Info Weekly Update No. 68: With your help, we have won a small but important victory! Pavlikova and Dubovik moved to house arrest

posted 17 Aug 2018, 06:07 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 17 Aug 2018, 06:11 ]

17 August 2018


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 information on freedom of assembly, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here



Great news! Anna Pavlikova and Mariya Dubovik, suspects in the New Greatness case, have been transferred to house arrest. A week ago a judge considered the defence's arguments, on the basis of which the two women have now been transferred to house arrest, “insufficient” for that purpose, and the Federal Penitentiary Service claimed that the health of Anna Pavlikova was “satisfactory.” The officials changed their opinion after a big campaign in support of Anna and Mariya, and a number of prominent women organized a Mothers’ March that did not have permission from the authorities. No one was arrested on the march, although it’s true that before the march the police attempted to deliver an “official warning” to two of the organizers, and city officials urged them not to repeat the protest. A few hours before the protest an investigator formally asked for Anna and Mariya to be transferred to house arrest.

Thanks to everyone who has shown their support for Anna and Mariya. We have achieved a remarkable success, although much remains to be done. Four other defendants in the case remain on remand: Vyacheslav Kriukov, Dmitrii Poletaev, Petr Karamzin and Ruslan Kostylenkov. Ruslan has said he was beaten and tortured with a plastic bag during the search of his home. All those charged, including Anna and Mariya, still face up to ten years in a prison colony if found guilty.

ОВД-Info was the first to write about the New Greatness case. We are paying for one of the lawyers acting on behalf of Anna Pavlikova, and we are coordinating assistance to the other defendants. The money for the legal defence comes from individual donations. Through the efforts of our donors, OVD-Info’s lawyers are able to help defendants in the New Greatness case. You can sign up to make a regular monthly donation here. Together we can achieve more.

* “New Greatness” is an organisation created and “uncovered” by police detectives. There are a total of 10 defendants in the case, which is based on the testimonies of three men who have not themselves been arrested. One of the three said he was instructed to infiltrate the group. He also drew up the organisation’s charter and hired premises for its meetings.


* An interview with Anna Pavlikova’s mother, in which she talks about the search of her home and her daughter’s arrest, is available in English.

In Samara a pensioner has been arrested on charges of organising an extremist group. She has been charged with five offences under the Criminal Code on 10 counts, including “rehabilitation of Nazism.” FSB officers allege that the woman intended to “prepare and organise mass protests without official permission in order to destabilise the political situation on the eve of elections to the legislative assembly in Tolyatti and to the post of governor of Samara region. The woman’s bank account, into which her pension was paid, has been blocked.


About 30 people have been detained at the offices of Kislovodsk town hall. Of these, more than 10 have been remanded in custody. Those detained were demanding that errors in certain official documents be put right. According to the activists, town officials do not have the identity papers to prove they are government officials, and the town administration itself does not have the “documents attesting to the creation of the municipality, the transfer of property or registration with the tax authorities.”


Human rights defender Zoya Svetova has met with film director Oleg Sentsov, who has now been on hunger strike for 96 days. “He describes his condition as 'near-critical',” Svetova says. “The doctors are of a similar opinion. A doctor at the prison colony with whom I was able to meet said Sentsov’s bodily organs could cease functioning at any moment.” Sentsov is demanding the release of all Ukrainian politcial prisoners who have been prosecuted in Russia.


* You can read about the people on the “Sentsov list” in Russian, English and German.  

Aleksei Muzhetsky, a volunteer with Navalny’s election campaign who reported being beaten by FSB officers, has been granted asylum in the USA. The activist Muzhetsky has said that while out running one morning three unidentified men in masks and black uniforms approached him. They showed him ID and, twisting his arms, forced him into a car. According to Muzhetsky, they began to beat him as soon as he was in the car, saying they knew not only where he lived but also where his children went to school. The men took Muzhetsky to a forested area and told him they would "tear off his head if he didn't calm down." Following this, his family emigrated to the US.


Thank you!


You can set up a monthly donation to OVD-Info here. This will guarantee that the work we do - monitoring human rights, running our telephone hotline, providing lawyers in court and paying for the work of analysts and journalists - can continue. It also guarantees we shall continue to help those who need our help.


OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 67: OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 67: Sentsov in critical condition, teen remanded in custody, police sue person they assaulted

posted 10 Aug 2018, 06:57 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Aug 2018, 07:00 ]

10 August 2018

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 information on freedom of assembly, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here. These English translations of OVD-Info's weekly bulletins are published by openDemocracy and are reposted here by kind permission.




Film director Oleg Sentsov, sentenced to 20 years in a strict-regime prison colony on charges of organising acts of terrorism that did not take place, is continuing his hunger strike. He has been on hunger strike now for almost three months. His cousin, Natalya Kaplan has reported he is almost unable to stand and “the end is near.”


You can find out more about the “Ukrainian political prisoners,” whose release Oleg Sentsov has been demanding, here.


Anna Pavlikova, charged in the New Greatness case, has been denied house arrest and remains on remand. A court extended by one month her detention on remand. The judge did not taken into account the health of the 18-year-old woman, who, according to her lawyer, suffers from a worsening heart condition, tachycardia, tremor in the legs and gynaecological problems.


After the hearing a number of members of the public who attended the court were charged with offences. One had videoed the hearing, while others had tried to prevent court bailiffs detaining her.


Meanwhile the Supreme Court has requested the materials concerning the remanding in custody of Pavlikova. A second young person charged in the same case, Mariya Dubovik, also has serious health problems, including a gynaecological condition. She has been moved, as Pavlikova was earlier, to a hospital facility at the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention centre.  


Pavlikova, Dubovik and eight other individuals have been charged with creating an ‘extremist group.’ The charge is based on the testimony of police detectives who both created and infiltrated the organisation.


In Moscow Artem Vorob’ev, a participant in Black Bloc, a nationalist organisation, and a former participant, the lawyer Dmitry Makarov, have been arrested. Both are suspected of inciting hatred. Vorob’ev is also suspected of hooliganism and Makarov of organising an extremist group and incitement to extremism. Earlier, the leader of Black Bloc, Vladimir Ratnikov, was arrested on suspicion of inciting hatred by an organised group (on two counts), creation of an extremist group, and inciting extremism and riots.


A former high school teacher in Orel region is now facing criminal prosecution for the sixth time. Four of the five previous prosecutions were on the basis of poems he had written.


Thirty LGBT activists have been arrested in St. Petersburg. The arrests took place last weekend. Earlier the activists had been denied permission to hold a rally and march. The courts levied fines on the activists, some of which were for large sums.


Valentin Sokolov, an activist from Kolomna, has been released from released from a prison colony. Sokolov had been sentenced to eight months in a prison colony for pictures he posted on the Odnoklassniki social media website. While serving his sentence, Sokolov had often been placed in solitary confinement for minor violations of discipline. He had submitted a request for the length of his sentence to be recalculated in accordance with new legislation. The local court set the hearing of his request for the end of August, by which time Sokolov would have already been released. In response to the court’s decision, Sokolov went on a dry hunger strike. Subsequently, the hearing of his request was brought forward.  

Texts

“After the presentations at the trial we’ll get together all the motions filed by each defendant and give the biggest sentences to those who brought the most motions.” Last week in Ufa a court convicted 21 Muslims of taking part in the Islamic party, Hizb ut-Tahrir, that has been unjustifiably banned as a terrorist organisation. We have spoken with experts and participants in the trial. It turns out that the length of the sentences handed down (the longest of which was 24 years in a strict-regime prison colony) depended, among other things, on how active the defendants had been in defending their rights in court.


“And now because you haven’t presented your documents, we’ll use physical force against you.” Yuzhnoportovyi police station in Moscow has brought a lawsuit against Nikolai Turkov who wrote on Facebook that he had been detained and assaulted by police. The police station has demanded that Turkov publish a retraction in Rossiiskaya gazeta ‘in the same font’ as he used on Facebook. We give the details of the case here.


Thank you!


You can set up a monthly donation to OVD-Info here. This will guarantee that the work we do - monitoring human rights, running our telephone hotline, providing lawyers in court and paying for the work of analysts and journalists - can continue. It also guarantees we shall continue to help those who need our help.



Weekly Bulletin OVD-Info No. 66: Parents against the FSB, Islam against Terrorism, and how OVD-Info does its Job

posted 3 Aug 2018, 09:02 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Aug 2018, 09:08 ]

3 August 2018

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 information on freedom of assembly, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit hereThese English translations of OVD-Info's weekly bulletins are published by openDemocracy and are reposted here by kind permission.



In the three months of April, May and June, the OVD-Info telephone hotline was in use for 153 hours 11 minutes and 43 seconds. That’s the equivalent of talking nonstop for eight hours a day for 19 days. Behind these very significant figures lie arrests at demonstrations, searches, assaults and criminal prosecutions. Our lawyers provided advice over the phone and assistance in court. We have published a full report of our work over these three months. All that time you have continued to support us. And thanks to you we are able to continue our work. You can arrange to make a regular monthly donation here.


There is also now available a brilliant video about our work that you can see here!


Last week there were a number of positive developments.


Courts quashed fines and community service orders imposed on participants in demonstrations in support of Aleksei Navalny. We have already seen this happen in Chelyabinsk, Krasnodar and Krasnoyarsk. As for Тimati and Еgor Krid, who were fined 20,000 roubles, this had nothing to do with Navalny but was for an action on the roof of an SUV.


A lawsuit brought against those previously prosecuted in the Bolotnaya Square case has been dismissed. Police had claimed approximately 44,000 roubles in compensation for the loss of two police walkie-talkies and five batons.


In the case of the New Greatness organisation, prominent lawyers Genri Reznik and Karinna Moskalenko have agreed to act on behalf of Anna Pavlikova and Mariya Dubovik respectively. New Greatness is an organisation set up and “uncovered” by police detectives. There are a total of 10 defendants in the case, which is based on the testimony of three men who have not themselves been arrested. One of the three has said he was ordered to infiltrate the group.


The Investigative Committee has not brought charges with regard to an incident in which a person arrested by police had their arm broken. Local police - what a coincidence! - found there had been no violations at the time of the arrest.


Pussy Riot members who protested in Luzhniki Stadium during the World Cup final were detained as they left the detention centre where they had served 15 days in prison. New charges were drawn up against them for having failed to have the agreement (!) of the authorities for going onto the pitch. However, the court returned the case to the police for review.


In Ufa, 21 Muslims have been sentenced to a total of 343 years in prison and a fine of 10,800,000 roubles. The men were accused of taking part in the radical Islamic party Hizb ut-Tahrir which has been designated in Russia as a terrorist organisation. Some of those convicted were also accused of preparing a violent seizure of power. The defendants heard their sentences wearing t-shirts that read, “I am a Muslim and I am against terrorism,” and “Islam against terror,” with the word “terror” crossed out in red.  Human rights defenders have reported numerous violations by the authorities during the investigation into this case, including the use of torture against the defendants.

Four people have been detained in Moscow for taking part in a protest against pension reform. The reason for the arrests was the use of the slogans, “Putin is a thief” and “Putin is a dickhead,” which in the view of the police did not correspond to the announced theme of the protest. In Sarapul (Udmurtiya) the police explained in talks with the organisers of a similar protest why the use of the phrase “Putin is a thief” was a violation. According to the police the organisers of the event should have stopped the protest after this slogan was sued.


“He said: ‘Mum, they tortured me.’ I saw the scar he had. He said I should keep my spirits up. That I should be calm.” We report how the relatives of anti-fascists charged in connection with the Network prosecution have joined together to form a Parents’ Network Committee, and how this helps them live through what is happening.  

It is hard to find any good news regarding those charged in the Network case. Pressure continues to be applied to them, in particular those from St. Petersburg who are for the time being on remand in a detention centre in Yaroslavl. They are not receiving any of the medicines or letters sent to them.


▪️ Eleven young people in Penza and St. Petersburg have been charged with taking part in and organising a terrorist group with the name “Network.” Allegedly, they were preparing for disturbances in the country and “were engaged in illegal acquisition of skills of survival in forests and provision of first aid.” A number of the defendants have stated they were subjected to torture involving electric shocks by FSB officers.

Thank you!

You can set up a monthly donation to OVD-Info here. This will guarantee that the work we do - monitoring human rights, running our telephone hotline, providing lawyers in court and paying for the work of analysts and journalists - can continue. It also guarantees we shall continue to help those who need our help.



Memorial Human Rights Centre: Memorial recognises Mikhail Savostin as a political prisoner

posted 30 Jul 2018, 13:06 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Jul 2018, 13:07 ]

23 July 2018



Source: Memorial Human Rights Centre



Mikhail Savostin, a Stavropol region resident of oppositionist views, is currently on remand on charges of possessing drugs. He faces a sentence of up to 10 years’ deprivation of liberty for an alleged offence under Article 228, Section 2, of the Russian Criminal Code (possession and transport of drugs on a large scale without intention to sell).

The car in which Mikhail Savostin and a friend left Mineralnye Vody on the night of 5-6 April was stopped by traffic police officers. According to investigators, when stopped Savostin opened the car door and threw a packet under the back left wheel. When police officers from the Centre for Combating Extremism and the Drugs Control Agency jointly examined the location and, evidently, conducted a body search of Savostin, they found a packet containing 11,69 grammes of marijuana in the back pocket of his jeans. Later, they found the packet allegedly thrown under the car wheel which contained 105,22 grammes of marijuana.

Savostin’s legal representatives insist that the drugs were planted after the law enforcement officers stopped the car, pushed Savostin’s companion to the ground, and forcibly held Savostin’s arms behind his back. 

We note indications of the intentional fabrication of evidence in the circumstances of the case. One such indication is that the arrest was carried out jointly by officers from departments with completely different responsibilities: the Centre for Combating Extremism and the Drugs Control Agency. It is difficult to imagine why it was necessary for them to conduct a joint operation if the discovery of drugs had not been planned earlier. Furthermore, the version put forward by the investigators appears improbable and likely to have been invented. The results of evaluations by experts conducted in the case also confirm Savostin’s innocence.

Savostin is a civic and political activist. He is a member of the political council of the Assembly of Peoples of the North Caucasus and head of the movement People’s Veche [Assembly] of Mineralnye Vody. He is active in defence of the rights of business, has organised a demonstration in Mineralnye Vody and stood as a candidate in the 2013 mayoral elections in Zheleznovodsk from the Parnas party, in which he was supported by Boris Nemtsov. Savostin has taken part three times in the annual Free Russia Forum, and was accredited to the fifth Forum in Lithuania on 11—13 April 2018, but was unable to attend since he had already been remanded in custody.

Savostin has regularly faced intimidation by law enforcement agencies in the past, he has been under surveillance, and has received threats. In March 2015 Savostin’s trading company was closed down after inspections by the Ministry for Emergency Situations and the Prosecutor’s Office. This occurred at the time he was seeking to organise a rally in Mineralnye Vody in opposition to the government. 

Memorial believes the charges against Mikhail Savostin are based on fabricated evidence and are intended to force him to cease his public activities. We therefore consider him to be a political prisoner and demand his 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. 

For more information about this case, see here.

Memorial Human Rights Centre: “Crimean saboteur” Gleb Shablii is a political prisoner

posted 30 Jul 2018, 13:04 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Jul 2018, 13:05 ]

20 July 2018



Source: ​Memorial Human Rights Centre


On 21 November 2016 Russian television channels broadcast a news-story asserting that Sevastopol resident Gleb Shablii worked for Ukrainian intelligence while “posing as a businessman.” It stated he was a member of the same Ukrainian diversionary group as other Sevastopol residents detained earlier, namely Dmitrii Shtyblikov, Aleksei Bessarabov, Vladimir Dudka and Aleksei Stognii. A video was shown in which Shablii said he was carrying out a task on behalf of the intelligence service of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence. Similar video testimony was given by the other Sevastopol residents arrested.

However, in the judgments already handed down there are no links between the activities of these individuals. Shablii and Stognii were not even charged with diversionary activities or espionage. Gleb Shablii was sentenced to five years in a prison colony for illegal preparation of an explosive device (Article 223.1, Section 1 of the Russian Criminal Code) and illegal acquisition and possession of explosive materials and an explosive device (Article 222.1, Section 1). In the courtroom he stated that the explosive device had been planted on him, and his confession had been made under torture: “They put handcuffs on me, bound up my eyes and took me to a room, tied my legs with sticky tape, beat me on the head and dictated to me what I had to say in front of a camera.”

The court found Gleb Shablii had in fact been detained on 15 November 2016, although the investigator in his case officially recorded his detention and allowed a government-appointed lawyer to see him only on the evening of 17 November. According to Shablii, after being detained he had been moved from place to place and tortured, forcing him to admit guilt.

On the basis of the materials of the criminal case, Memorial Human Rights Centre has concluded that the prosecution has been fabricated and the guilt of Gleb Shablii has not been proved.

We believe that Shablii has been deprived of liberty without committing an offence. The struggle against “Ukrainian spies” is a form of witch hunt in contemporary Russia. It is part of the political campaign directly related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

We demand the release of Gleb Shablii and that those responsible for his prosecution be brought to justice.

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.

For more information about this case, see here.


OVD-Info Weekly Update No. 65: Torture, a picket against pension reform and an attack on journalists

posted 27 Jul 2018, 10:33 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 27 Jul 2018, 10:35 ]

27 July 2018


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 information on freedom of assembly, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here




We have made a new animated film! If you are arrested, apart from knowing your rights, the support and help of other people who have been arrested along with you is very important. It is harder to frighten or confuse a person who knows they are not alone. Look out for each other and don’t be afraid of anything. You can watch the animated film about how to help yourself and others in a police van or a police station here.


The Investigative Committee has dropped a criminal investigation against the coordinator of Aleksei Navalny’s campaign headquarters in Kemerovo. Ksenia Pakhomova had been suspected of contempt of court.

An activist from Serpukhov has been fined 10,000 roubles for submitting a request (!) to hold a picket against the proposed increase in the pensionable age. He has been charged with having repeatedly violated the law on organising and holding large public events. Usually this article of the Criminal Code is used to prosecute those who have been arrested at a rally if that person already has at least one conviction for violating the law on public assembly that year.

Four people have been remanded in custody this week:

  • 18-year-old Anna Pavlikova was remanded in custody until 13 August, one month less than requested by investigators. She has been charged with setting up the extremist group New Greatness that, judging by the case materials, was not created by Anna, but by police detectives.

  • The Supreme Court of Karelia ruled that historian and head of the local branch of Memorial, Yury Dmitriev, must remain in custody. He has been charged with sexually abusing his adopted daughter. Earlier he had been charged with making photographs of a pornographic nature of his adopted daughter and of “perverted actions,” but a court acquitted him of the charges.

  • A court ruled that Oyub Titiev - head of the Grozny branch of Memorial Human Rights Centre — must remain in custody. He has been charged with possessing drugs. Titiev maintains his innocence and claims that the drugs were planted on him.

  • The pre-trial detention of Konstantin Saltykov, charged with using violence against a police officer during a “Voters’ Strike” protest,  has been extended until 12 January 2019.  

Jailed human rights defender Sergei Mokhnatkin says he has been tortured with gas. Mokhnatkin has been sentenced to six and a half years in a prison colony for using force against a police officer and disrupting the functioning of the prison colony. The 64-year-old human rights defender has been on hunger strike for 12 days. He has lost a great deal of weight and, according to his public defender, does not look well (in particular, his lips have turned blue).

The lawyer Irina Biriukova, who passed to Novaya gazeta a video recording of torture in Yaroslavl’s prison colony No. 1, has left Russia because of threats she received. The prisoner tortured in the video, Evgeny Makarov, fears for his life and well being.

The Federal Penitentiary Service [FSIN] denies that Yulii Boyarshinov, a suspect in the Network investigation, has been beaten in a pre-trial detention centre. The FSIN claims that Boyarshinov, immediately on arrival at the remand prison, was given a separate place to sleep and each day his body was inspected. Boyarshinov himself has said that he was put in a cell intended for 35 people that held 40 detainees, where the inmates had to take turns to sleep. When he was put in the cell, for no reason they beat Boyarshinov. Moreover, it has become known that Viktor Filinkov, Yulii Boyarshinov and Igor Shishkin, all suspects in the Network case, have been transferred from St. Petersburg to Pre-trial Detention Centre No. 1 in Yaroslavl.  They are being taken to Penza.


  • A number of young people in Penza and St. Petersburg have been charged with taking part in a terrorist group, the so-called “Network.” Allegedly, they were preparing for disturbances in the country. Some of the suspects have stated they were tortured with electric shocks.  

Texts

“We are ice under the feet of the major.”* Arrest, a night in a police cell, a fine of 170,000 roubles and a 15-day jail sentence: that is what Aleksei got for trying to give someone who was arrested, at the “He’s Not Our Tsar” protest, telephone numbers of lawyers and human rights defenders. We publish his story about what happened.

“What kind of extremist voluntarily gives his extremist materials to the cops?” Arrest, assault, confiscation of a journal, the “Descendants of the Immortal Regiment” movement, swastika tattoos — publishers of the almanac moloko plus, Pavel Nikulin and Sofiko Arifdzhanova, talk about what happened at the presentation of the journal in Krasnodar. The police are looking for those who attacked the journalists, a criminal case has been opened into the attack.

“For the state I was guilty from the very start.” Vyacheslav Shatrovsky received a head injury when he was arrested. He was charged with attacking a police officer. In the pre-trial detention centre it was his fellow detainees, and not medical personnel, who helped him remove the stitches from his wound. During the investigation, eight documents disappeared from the case file, and Shatrovsky was sentenced to three years in a prison colony - exactly as the prosecutor requested. Vyacheslav was moved to the prison colony before his sentence had entered into force. We explain here what is wrong in this case.

“My name is Masha, I am 23 years old and I am an extremist.” Mariya Motuznaya from Barnaul has created a Twitter thread about how she was prosecuted for memes and demotivators on VKontakte. We relate in brief the essence of the case.

Incitement to terrorism, a video about jihad on Facebook, bugging in a prison hospital, voodoo rites and caricatures of Putin - we publish a story about the new prosecution of Ilya Romanov, a prisoner-anarchist who has one hand.

Thank you!

You can set up a monthly donation to OVD-Info here. This will guarantee that the work we do - monitoring human rights, running our telephone hotline, providing lawyers in court and paying for the work of analysts and journalists - can continue. It also guarantees we shall continue to help those who need our help.



*  A reference to a song “We are ice” by the rock group Grazhdanskaya Oborona





OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 64: Unexpected rulings by Supreme Court, documents disappear from case files, and pension reform

posted 20 Jul 2018, 10:49 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Jul 2018, 10:53 ]

20 July 2018


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 information on freedom of assembly, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here



Today is the 68th day that film director Oleg Sentsov has been on hunger strike. His condition is deteriorating, but he does not intend to end his hunger strike.

Unexpected rulings by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation:

  • The court ruled that the article of the Criminal Code on failure to obey police instructions must not (!) be used with regard to demonstrators. If a demonstrator does not comply with the instructions of a police officer to cease participating in a demonstration, then the demonstrator should be charged only under Article 20.2 of the Administrative Law Code on rallies. This means that in future those taking part in rallies cannot be jailed or remanded in custody if it is the first time they have been detained.

  • The refusal by the authorities to permit an anti-war demonstration in 2016 was ruled unlawful. This may change the current practice of granting permission for rallies in Russia.


At least 14 people were detained at a rally against the proposed increase in the pensionable age. They were charged and the last of those detained was released from police custody only at 3am.

A 19-year-old suspect in the New Greatness prosecution, Mariya Dubovik, has been transferred from a 30-person cell to a four-person cell. Dubovik’s eyesight deteriorated significantly during the time she has been on remand. Another person charged in the New Greatness case, Anna Pavlikova, also has serious problems with her health - complications related to gynaecology, and swollen veins on her arms. At the same time, medical personnel at pre-trial detention centre’s clinic told her mother, Yuliya Pavlikova, that her daughter had no health problems.

  • New Greatness is an organisation set up and “uncovered” by police detectives. Ten people have been charged with organising an extremist group. The case is based on the testimony of three men who were not arrested.

In St. Petersburg Aleksandr Eivazov, a former court secretary, has been sentenced to 22 months in an open prison colony. He should be released in a day’s time. At the end of 2016 Eivazov resigned from the court where he worked and sent about 80 messages to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Investigative Committee, the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor’s Office and other officials concerning the falsification of court records, ‘informal’ relations between judges and prosecutors, and the humiliation and insulting of defendants in court. After this he was prosecuted for hindering the course of justice.

In Crimea the daughter of one of the defendants in the Hizb ut-Tahrir case is suspected of inciting hatred on the basis of posts to a social media group that aims to assist political prisoners on the peninsula. Gulsum Alieva became an activist of the human rights association Crimean Solidarity after the arrest of her father. Law enforcement officers searched her home searching for a telephone from which Alieva allegedly made posts to the group Crimean Solidarity. According to a local journalist, the case is being being investigated by the FSB.


In Krasnodar two unidentified people released pepper spray in the eyes of journalists from the almanac moloko plus. Police officers had confiscated the print run of the samizdat publication and detained one of the authors Unidentified people attacked Sofiko Arifdzhanova and Pavel Nikulin. Earlier, people in civilian clothes, who introduced themselves as police detectives, had detained Arifdzhanova to check some of the materials of the criminal case.

Texts

The case of Vyacheslav Shatrovsky: a head injury at the hands of a police officer, charged with attacking the officer, the disappearance of case documents, and transferred to a prison colony before being sentenced. We have рublished our investigation into the case of Vyacheslav Shatrovsky who has been sentenced to three years in a prison colony.


A previously unknown prosecution in Vladivostok  in relation to the protests of 26 March 2017. Almost 18 months after the event, OVD-Info has learned of a tenth person convicted for using violence against a police officer during last year’s anti-corruption protests. Sergei Kukushkin has been given a three-year suspended sentence. According to the investigation, he seized hold of a police officer by the finger.

Thank you!

You can set up a monthly donation to OVD-Info here. This will guarantee that the work we do - monitoring human rights, running our telephone hotline, providing lawyers in court and paying for the work of analysts and journalists - can continue. It is also guarantees we shall continue to help those who need our help.



Memorial Human Rights Centre: Mikhail Tsakunov from St. Petersburg, charged with using violence against a police officer, is a political prisoner

posted 16 Jul 2018, 08:25 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 16 Jul 2018, 08:27 ]

1 July 2018





Mikhail Tsakunov has been charged with committing an offence under Article 318, Section 2, of the Russian Criminal Code (using violence, dangerous for life or health, against a public official). He has been held on remand since 5 May 2018. The official investigation alleges Tsakunov struck a police officer at the time of his arrest at the “He’s Not Our Tsar” rally protesting the inauguration of Vladimir Putin organised by supporters of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny in downtown St. Petersburg.

The video of his arrest shows the police officers made no demands of Tsakunov or those he was with but attacked the young people who were standing peacefully and not chanting any slogans, pushing them to the ground and arresting them. This contradicts the statements of the prosecution that Tsakunov allegedly refused to carry out certain “lawful demands” of the police officers and casts doubt on the officers’ testimony. The assertion that Tsakunov in some way or other damaged the tooth of a police officer seems just as dubious, because as the video shows the officers arresting him were wearing helmets. Tsakunov at the time of his arrest behaved calmly and did not use physical force against the arresting officers, who subsequently carried him.

Tsakunov asserts that not only did he not strike the police officer in the face, but he did not even take part in the rally. He happened to be at the rally location only because he had wanted to return to participants in the Vesna movement a large inflatable rubber duck (a symbol of the anti-corruption rallies used by opposition activists after the publication of Navalny’s investigation into Dmitry Medvedev, in which one of the prime minister’s residences featured a small house for ducks). Police officers had taken the duck from the activists and thrown it in a rubbish dump. In our view, it is not important whether Tsakunov was a participant in the rally or an accidental passerby, since in any case it does not justify the brutality of the police officers who arrested and beat the young people who were a threat to nobody.

Amnesty International has recognised Tsakunov as a prisoner of conscience and announced an international campaign in his support. Memorial Human Rights Centre supports the view our colleagues in the human rights movement. We believe Mikhail Tsakunov is a political prisoner and call for his immediate release.

We demand that officials guilty of violating the rights and freedoms of participants in the rallies and of accidental passersby, who were unlawfully detained and subjected to physical violence on 5 May 2018, be brought to justice.

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.

For more information about this case, see here.


OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 63: Oleg Sentsov's hunger strike, an anti-Putin placard, "extremism" on the internet and five rubber batons

posted 13 Jul 2018, 08:57 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Jul 2018, 09:02 ]

13 July 2018

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 information on freedom of assembly, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here



Sixty days ago film director Oleg Sentsov went on hunger strike. You can write him a letter or send him a postcard at the address: Oleg Gennadievich Sentsov (d.o.b. 1976), Correction Colony No. 8, Federal Penitentiary Service, 33 Severnaya Street, Labytnangi, Yamalo-Nenetsky Autonomous District, 629400 [in Russian: 629400, Ямало-Ненецкий АО, Лабытнанги, ул. Северная, 33,ФКУ ИК-8 УФСИН, Сенцову Олегу Геннадьевичу, 1976 г.р.]. We explain how to write and send a letter to political prisoners here. You can read here about who the “Ukrainian political prisoners,” whose release Oleg Sentsov has demanded, are.


A female Moscow resident has been placed in a drug rehabilitation clinic for a placard reading “Putin is a dickhead” [Путин хуйло]. Elena Kozlova stood in a single-person picket on Red Square holding two placards: “Free Oleg Sentsov” and “Putin is a Dickhead.” She was detained and taken to a police station where, in her own words, she was called “a stupid turd”, was beaten and fasten by handcuffs to a bench. Elena Kozlova says that her hands are still covered in bruises. Subsequently, Kozlova was taken to a hospital to have a “blood test.” But in fact she was taken to a drug rehabilitation clinic and hospitalised there.


A participant in a conference, entitled Pryamukhinskie Lectures, was taken away to the FSB and later jailed. An academic conference was being held in Tver region on the theme of “revolution and culture.” That morning, police arrived and began to check the IDs of those present, photographing passports and examining the tents. The data of Artem Markin, a citizen of Belarus, were entered into a phone and he was told that he had been “denied entry” to Russia. After this, he was taken to the FSB. Subsequently, he was jailed in Torzhok for three days, having been found guilty of using drugs. He refused to have a medical exam.


In Khabarovsk region a doctor working in the Accident and Emergency department is facing prosecution for extremism after “liking” a post on the Odnoklassniki social media website. Investigators consider that one year ago the person in question “liked” a picture that condemned the actions of Russians during the armed conflict in the Donbass. If found guilty, the doctor faces a sentence of up to five years in a prison colony.

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“Moreover,” he added with some schadenfreude, “if it gets bad for you, beat on the door, and we’ll put in the Box.” On 4 October 1980 human rights defender Valery Abramkin was sentenced to three years in a prison camp. While he was serving his sentence, new charges were brought against him and he was sentenced to an additional three more years. When Abramkin was released, he had TB, a good knowledge of the rules of the criminal world, and a desire to reform the Gulag system. In 1989 he founded an organisation to provide assistance to prisoners, which, as the Moscow Centre for Prison Reform, continues to work to this day. We have published extracts from Abramkin’s letters about a hunger strike in the Butyrka prison in 1980. The dissident managed to secretly pass the letter to his wife on cigarette papers.

Two walkie-talkies and five rubber batons. A police unit has brought a lawsuit demanding 43,800 roubles from six defendants in the Bolotnaya Square case. The sum is compensation for two walkie-talkies and five rubber baton allegedly lost on 6 May 2012 on Bolotnaya Square. We spoke with those convicted in the Bolotnaya Square case about the lawsuit that has come as a surprise to everyone.


How the law on recalculating the period spent in pre-trial detention will work. Vladimir Putin has signed into force a law that equates one day spent in a pre-trial detention centre to one and a half days spent in a general-regime prison colony. Ten years have passed since the bill was first introduced into the State Duma. We examine the pluses and minuses of the new law.

Thanks

You can set up a monthly donation to OVD-Info here. This will guarantee that the work we do - monitoring human rights, running our telephone hotline, providing lawyers in court and paying for the work of analysts and journalists - can continue. It is also guarantees we shall continue to help those who need our help.



OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 62: Drugs, hunger strikes, and psychiatry

posted 6 Jul 2018, 08:40 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 6 Jul 2018, 08:49 ]

6 July 2018

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 information on freedom of assembly, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit hereThese English translations of OVD-Info's weekly bulletins are published by openDemocracy and are reposted here by kind permission.



Dmitry Buchenkov, now living outside Russia, has written a book, “Fabrication of Criminal Cases in Contemporary Russia,” and at last it is accessible online! Dmitry was prosecuted in the Bolotnaya Square case, despite the fact he was not on Bolotnaya Square that day. He was held on remand for more than a year, and then convicted. He left Russia before sentence was pronounced.  

A human rights defender from Dagestan, Zarema Bagavutdinova has been released. Great news! Bagavutdinova worked in a human rights organisation and gathered together information about fabricated prosecutions, detentions, cases of torture and disappearances. She had been charged with aiding and abetting participants in an armed attack on police officers in the town of Buinaksk. The only evidence produced by the prosecution was that the accused, as a staff member of the Dagestan NGO Pravozashchita [Human Rights Defence], had criticised law enforcement and military agencies on the media. In May 2014 a court found Bagavutdinova guilty of persuading a person to join an illegal armed group and sentenced her to five years in a prison colony.


The investigation into the so-called Network case continues. Eleven young people in Penza and St. Petersburg are accused of taking part in the organisation of a terrorist group, named Network. Allegedly, they were making preparations for disturbances around the country. A number of defendants in the case have stated that FSB officers tortured them using electric shocks.

  • Two suspects in the Network case, Mikhail Kulkov and Maksim Ivankin, have been detained and remanded in custody. Kulkov’s father has said he saw his son and Maksim Ivankin in court for a few minutes while they were being taken along a corridor. He noticed bruises and abrasions on their skin. Kulkov and Ivankin are accused of organising a terrorist group.
    The first time they were detained, they were arrested along with Aleksei Poltavets, an anti-fascist activist and a minor, who has claimed he was tortured. Kulkov and Ivankin were at that time beaten, after which they left Penza.


  • Dmitry Pchelintsev, one of the suspects in the Network case, has been taken to St. Petersburg from the No. 1 pre-trial detention centre in the city of Penza where he was being held for further investigative measures. According to members of the local Public Oversight Commission, Pchelintsev has no complaints about the temporary detention centre in which he was kept: “He is surprised that detainees are given food which is OK to eat.”

  • Penza regional court has upheld the custody of Ilya Shakursky and Andrei Chernov, who are held on remand.


Stanislav Klykh, sentenced to 20 years in a prison colony on charges of killing Russian soldiers during the First Chechen War, has been transferred to a psychiatric hospital. Stanislav Klykh has said that after his arrest in 2014 he was tortured with electric shocks, deprived of sleep, suspended from handcuffs, had his eyes crushed, and was beaten. He would have been physically unable to take part in military action in Grozny during the period in relation to which he was charged. As confirmed by witnesses and university documents, from the end of December 1994 Klykh was finalising his university coursework, and at the beginning of January 1995 his university exams had already begun. In court, Klykh behaved in a strange manner: he was at times apathetic, at times rowdy. Human rights defenders assert that Klykh became mentally ill because of the torture to which he was subjected. At one of the court hearings he began to shout at the prosecutor. Additional charges were laid against him of failing to respect the court, and he was given an extra month in the prison colony.

Vyacheslav Shatrovsky has been transferred to a prison colony before his sentence entered into force. According to his lawyer, this constitutes a violation of Article 49 of the Constitution (presumption of innocence until a sentence enters into force). Shatrovsky has been sentenced to three years in a general-regime prison colony on charges of attacking a police officer during the so-called “Maltsev revolution.” At the time of his arrest, Shatrovsky suffered an open head injury.


The pro-Ukrainian activist Vladimir Balukh has been sentenced to five years in a general-regime prison colony and a 10,000 rouble fine. According to the trial judge, Balukh attacked the head of a temporary detention facility, thereby disrupting the work of the institution. The activist’s sentence was handed down on the basis of two criminal charges: earlier Balukh had been found guilty of possessing ammunition and explosive materials. Balukh remains on hunger strike, which he began on 19 March.


Two charges have been brought against Renat Paralamov, a Crimean Tatar, who reported disappearances and torture. Renat Paralamov has been charged with illegal trafficking of explosive materials and ammunition. The prosecutor refused to institute an investigation of the actions of FSB officers who conducted the search of Paralamov’s home and subsequently took him away with a plastic bag over his head.


Mikhail Savostin, an activist from Mineralnye Vody suspected of possessing drugs, has gone on hunger strike without water. Mikhail Savostin has drunk no water for nine days since he went on hunger strike, and his condition has seriously deteriorated. The activist asserts that the drugs had been planted on him and he demands that the criminal charge against him be dropped.

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Protect our forest: Buryatia residents are ready to pay fines to defend the taiga. In Buryatia the authorities’ plans to develop forestry and export timber to China have met with protests from local residents. We have found out how local protests have saved the forest in one particular district. True, the authorities immediately promised business they could fell trees in another area.

“He’s got involved with the wrong kind of things.” We relate the story of Maksim Neverov, a Navalny election campaign volunteer, who has only just entered the 11th [final] class at high school. Maksim wants to go to university to study law. Police in the town of Biisk, where Maksim lives, are even now introducing him to the basic features of the rule of law in Russia. They want to prosecute Maksim Neverov under administrative law for “gay propaganda” among minors.

Thanks

You can set up a monthly donation to OVD-Info here. This will guarantee that the work we do - monitoring human rights, running our telephone hotline, providing lawyers in court and paying for analysts and journalists - can continue. It is also guarantees we shall continue to help those who need our help.



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