OVD-Info: As the dust settles, Russian authorities move against protesters and campaigners

posted 30 Jun 2017, 11:59 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Jun 2017, 12:16 ]
30 June 2017

OpenDemocracy and Rights in Russia bring you the latest update by OVD-Info on politically-motivated arrests in Russia


New evidence of police violations against protesters emerges, and regional authorities take aim at Alexei Navalny's campaign offices. 

We have collected and analysed a large number of reports of violations by Russian police officers at anti-corruption rallies held on 12 June. Now we are able to say with certainty there have been 109 violations. Police officers exceeded the permitted time for administrative detention, wrote official reports with numerous mistakes, and did not allow lawyers to visit those detained. In one of the St Petersburg police stations, a detainee contracted pneumonia after spending the night in a cold cell. This was despite the fact that he had warned the police officers he was in poor health and should not get cold. The list of violations with legal commentaries can be seen here.

This week a number of individuals requested political asylum abroad. Krasnodar artists Lusiney Dzhanyan and Aleksei Knedlyakovsky requested asylum in Sweden. The artists said that their telephones had been tapped, and in 2013 Dzhanyan was dismissed from Krasnodar University of Culture for supporting Pussy Riot and exhibiting in a gallery owned by Marat Gelman. But it’s not only those who create modern art who can fall victim to persecution. Children’s drawings in chalk can also evoke the dissatisfaction of the authorities. Mikhail Petrov, a martial arts trainer from Pskov, has left Russia because he feared persecution by the authorities. It is thought the authorities’ interest in the trainer was related to the fact that he and his students had drawn anti-military drawings on the walls of buildings belonging to a military air assault division. He has requested political asylum in Estonia.

Supporters of Alexei Navalny continue to be persecuted. In the town of Cherepovets, writer and journalist Elena Kolyadina was dismissed by the newspaper Golos Cherepovtsa for giving a lecture to staff of Navalny’s local election campaign office. In the Siberian city of Barnaul, the coordinator of the campaign office was injured with a knife, while earlier someone set fire to one of the office’s windows. In Vladimir, the local branch of the Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network asked its chief engineer to resign because he had headed Navalny’s local campaign office. Meanwhile, in Rostov-on-Don a car belonging to the head of Navalny’s office was covered with paint and its tyres were punctured.

The Investigative Committee completed its investigation into one more defendant in the “26 March case”. Dmitry Krepkin is charged with using force against a police officer during the anti-corruption protest in Moscow. Krepkin maintains his innocence. Moreover, he has said that he was himself assaulted at the time of his detention at the 26 March protest. Doctors at the emergency medical centre recorded bruising all over his body. He had been struck at least six times.

The pre-trial detention of mathematician Dmitry Bogatov was extended until 31 August. Bogatov has been charged with incitement to riot on the grounds that he had posted appeals on the SysAdmins.ru forum to go out on to Red Square on 2 April 2017 under the pseudonym of “Airat Bashirov”. The appeals were sent from Bogatov’s IP address. However, since Bogatov operates a Tor exit node, any user could have posted the materials using his IP.

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OVD-Info was launched by volunteers in 2011 as a means of quickly monitoring arrests during mass protests. It has evolved into a full-scale analytical project dealing with law enforcement issues in Russia. For more information on OVD-Info, read this article from the organisation's founder on how OVD is breaking the civil society mould here.


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