OVD-Info Bulletin No. 13: In which there is some good news, too

posted 28 Jul 2017, 03:11 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 28 Jul 2017, 07:15 ]
28 July 2017

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

Welcome to our readers!

This week there is a surprising amount of good news, but we’ll leave that for later.

In Ekaterinburg,  police officers detained Elena Pary, an activist from the group ArtPodgotovka [Artillery Barrage], for two days in a police station without adequate food. At the court hearing Elena Pary fainted. Afterwards she was taken to hospital, but then again taken back to the police station. Elena Pary was sentenced to 9 days in jail and 50 hours of community work. On Sunday police had detained Pary and five other participants in the ArtPodgotovka movement after their event, ‘A walk for free people.’

The suspended sentence of the fourth defendant in the Nizhevartovsk Hizb ut-Tahrir case has been changed to imprisonment, while the 12-year term in a strict-regime prison handed down to Sevastopol resident Ruslan Zeitullaev, also charged with involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir, has been increased to 15 years. In both cases the court rulings were taken on requests by prosecutors. Zeitullaev had been initially sentenced to 7 years in a general-regime prison colony. In the opinion of a number of experts, Hizb ut-Tahrir has been wrongly designated a terrorist organization, since in Russia the organization has neither prepared nor carried out acts of terrorism.

However, there is also good news:

The Investigative Committee has dropped charges against an NGO director for ‘malicious’ failure to comply with the obligations of a foreign agent on the grounds of lack of evidence. Human rights defender Valentina Cherevatenko was accused of having registered the Women of the Don Foundation, received funding from the Heinrich Boell Foundation, a German foundation, and intentionally failing to apply for her organization to be included in the register of foreign agents. Under the charges, she could have faced up to two years in prison.

Mathematician Dmitry Bogatov has been moved out of a pre-trial detention centre and placed under house arrest. Bogatov has been charged with inciting riots and also incitement to terrorism. The charges were based on posts on the SysAdmins.ru forum by someone using the pseudonym ‘Airat Bashirov’. The posts proposed that readers take part in a protest on 2 April 2017 on Red Square. While the messages were posted from the mathematician’s IP address, Bogatov is the operator of a Tor exit node, which means that any user can send communications from his IP address. We spoke with Sarkis Darbinyan, Bogatov’s lawyer and a lawyer with the movement Roskomsvoboda, about the situation surrounding this high profile case.

And the best news of the week is that Dmitry Ishevsky, jailed in connection with the Bolotnaya Square case, has been released from Prison Colony No. 1 in Yaroslavl. Ishevsky served three years and two months in prison. OVD-Info correspondents have met and spoken with him, as well as with his family and co-defendants, about the prosecution, prison, release and his plans for the future.

That completes our news round up for the week!

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Our mailing also has an English-language version that can be read on Rights in Russia and openDemocracy.

Always yours,
OVD-Info Team