OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 81: Computer games, attacks on LGBT+ conference volunteers, and yet more anarchists

posted 21 Nov 2018, 14:16 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 21 Nov 2018, 14:23 ]
16 November 2018


Greetings to our readers!

In Yalta a Crimean Tatar human rights activist has been sentenced to four years in prison. Yunus Masharipov was found guilty of manufacturing and storing explosive devices. According to the investigation, he had been planning to set fire to Yalta’s forests “with the aim of destabilising the socio-political situation in the region.” The rights activist claimed that during the investigation he was beaten and tortured with electric shocks. Afterwards, according to Masharipov, he was forced to confess. Le later retracted his confession. Since 2014 Masharipov had been informing human rights organisations about rights infringements affecting children, pensioners and people with disabilities. 

Several anarchists have been talking this week about their contacts with law enforcement officers:

·  Anarchist Sviatoslav Rechkalov, who had fled to France because of a case regarding vandalism against United Russia’s offices, claimed to have received threats from the FSB via an account supposedly belonging to the administrator of a channel entitled “Prometheus” on the messaging app Telegram. In March, while being detained in connection with a criminal case, Rechkalov was tortured.

·  In Chelyabinsk, three anarchists have been searched in connection with a vandalism case. At the start of November, criminal proceedings were initiated against five anarchists because of rallies against pension reforms in October. At that point, a transformer box and a construction trailer were graffitied with images of a person in a crown and an elderly lady, with slogans reading “Our poverty is their profit” and “Pension reform”. The police deemed the drawing to be a “desecration of public property”.

·   In Samara, an anarchist received a visit from the police, who asked him about the Telegram channel “Prometheus”. He was called in for interrogation.

·  In Moscow, LGBTQIAP Family Conference has been cancelled because of threats, and its volunteers have been attacked by unknown people. An unidentified person sprayed two of the conference volunteers with caustic liquid. The victims called the emergency services and were taken to hospital with burns to their eyes. Investigators have been unable to identify the liquid. In the leadup to the conference, the organisers had received threatening phone calls.

· A protocol on police disobedience has been drawn up six days after Omsk-based human rights activist was brutally beaten. The 74-year-old man arrived in the village of Omsky, on the outskirts of the city, in order to film the construction of a Chinese town, which is opposed by local residents, using a drone camera. The rights activist and camera operator were approached by police and “a representative of the proprietor”, Oleg Kardonis. “I went over to the car to get my passport, at which point I was intercepted by Kardonis, who was trying to grab hold of me”, Kuznetsov recounted. Then, unidentified people beat Kuznetsov and forced him into the car. He was held in the car for over four hours. Kuznetsov believes that law enforcement officers were acting in collusion with his aggressors.

· The saga involving complaints of torture in the Networks criminal case continues to evolve. A witness in the case, Ilya Kapustin, who has left Russia, complained of torture to the ECHR, and the courts have sent evidence of torture against the defendant Dmitry Pchelintsev for new consideration.

Our publications

How to convince an authoritarian regime to authorise a protest, keep the independent media afloat, manage the police department and build a prison – we cover ten amazing computer games which there is no shame in playing.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Navalny’s detentions have been politically motivated. We spoke with lawyers about what this means and how it will influence the Russian authorities. The politician was not present for the announcement of the decision – he was stopped by Russian border forces.

The echo of an explosion. After the explosion at the FSB buildings in Archangelsk, the law enforcement agencies in several regions have taken an interest in activists. Libertarians, socialists, supporters of the political party The Other Russia, former antifascists and even Komsomol members have been receiving summonses to the police and FSB. We have collated all known such instances, ranging from interviews to criminal cases.

Robbery or knives: On the second of November in St Petersburg, Vladimir Solovev, a famous pro-government television presenter, held an evening of arts and crafts. Protesters gathered at the place where he was due to present. Eight people were arrested: one managed to escape from the department, another was given 10 days, and the rest were released on condition that they present themselves at the police station. One of the protesters, Roman Iver, tells us all about it.

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