OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 57: Hunger strikes, an unwilling witness and a Harry Potter badge

posted 1 Jun 2018, 07:18 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 1 Jun 2018, 07:20 ]
1 June 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.

We have been thinking we should rename our Weekly Bulletin something like, ‘Drink and Weep.’ We hope all the same that you won’t drink and weep because of the bad news, but will get angry and gain new energy (yes, there are people like that).  

Film director Oleg Sentsov on hunger strike for 19 days.

  • Five people were arrested in Moscow for holding one-pickets in support of Oleg Sentsov. Moscow city authorities refused to permit a public event in support of Sentsov #SaveOlegSentsov.

  • Three other prisoners have also declared hunger strikes: Stanislav Zimovets, convicted in the “Case of 26 March” (true, the prison colony administration has denied he is on hunger strike); Danis Safargali, leader of the Altyn Urda movement; and Аleksandr Kolchenko, an anti-fascist activist convicted along with Sentsov. Kolchenko has limited his demands to the release of Sentsov.

  • The documentary film The Trial on the case of Oleg Sentsov and Aleksandr Kolchenko can be viewed on our website.

In Chelyabinsk, Boris Zolotarevsky, coordinator of Aleksei Navalny’s local campaign headquarters, has been charged in connection with the 5 May protests. Zolotarevsky is suspected of ‘hooliganism committed by a group of people by prior agreement’ (Article 213, Section 2, of the Russian Criminal Code). The activist points out that the documents relating to his case fail to state exactly what actions the authorities consider to be hooliganism. Zolotarevsky took no part in the ‘He’s Not Our Tsar’ protests because he was detained before they had begun. This is the second criminal prosecution in connection with the ‘He’s Not Our Tsar’ protests that we know of.

A friend of defendants in the Set’ [Network] case has been made a witness on behalf of the prosecution. The woman was brought to Penza in a black Lada Priora with a damaged door straight from a border crossing point in Bryansk region. There, she was threatened with prison and forced to sign a statement demanded from her by FSB officers. After she had signed the testimony, she was allowed to go free.

  • In the Network case, nine young people from Penza and St. Petersburg have been charged with taking part in an alleged terrorist organisation, Network: they allegedly were preparing to organise disturbances around the country. Several defendants have alleged they were tortured by the FSB.

The head of the office of the Memorial Human Rights Centre in Chechnya, Oyub Titiev, has been remanded in custody until July. The human rights defender has been charged with possessing drugs. Titiev stated that the drugs were planted on him. On 27 May, Titiev’s nephew, Adam, was аrrested on charges of possessing drugs. Titiev’s relatives believe that the drugs were also planted on Adam.

Investigative police officers have visited Ruslan Kostylenkov, the ‘leader’ of Novoe Velichie [New Greatness], at the pre-trial detention centre where he is being held. They demanded he reject the services of the lawyer from the Agora human rights organisation and plead guilty. A member of the Public Oversight Commission, Evgeny Enikeev, after visiting Kostylenkov in pre-trial detention, saw on his medical card doctors’ notes registering numerous injuries and bruises to his face and limbs.

  • New Greatness is an organisation created, judging by the materials of the case, by investigative police officers. Ten people have been charged with organising the activity of an extremist group. The charges, however, are based on the testimony of three men who were not arrested. One of them said that he had been ordered to infiltrate the group.  

Texts and Special Projects

“I wanted to howl, to scream at them - what on earth are you doing with my daughter? Are you people or not?” Today is the Day of the Child, and in the middle of March police officers arrested 17-year-old Anna Pavlikova. Now she is being held on remand, having been refused house arrest. During a search at her family home, police officers shouted and swore and broke children’s toys. When they found “Harry Potter” badges made by Anna, an officer shouted: “What kind of a Swastika is that?!” Our thanks to Aleksandr Chernykh, who spoke with Anna’s mother about what happened, for this important story.

“And who are you?” - “Can’t you see?”: we investigate unknown people in uniform who detain people at public events and ask what the police, judges and lawyers think about it.

Russia introduces new restrictions on the eve of the FIFA World Cup. We have found out what you cannot do now, and how this will affect our lives, and what will happen if you violate these new rules.

You can be fined up to 100,000 roubles for cancelling a public street event that has official permission without telling the authorities. A bill has been introduced into the State Duma that introduces the notion of ‘abuse of the right to hold an event.’ It will only be possible to cancel an event not later that 24 hours in advance. We have learned how this new law might be applied.

“Alas, you weren’t lucky - dreamflash (as the hippy festival is called) coincided with the first attempt to hold a gay parade in Moscow.” Aleksei Makarov tells how in 2006 participants in the May Tree non-festival were detained.


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