Team 29: The Black Box of Eivazov

posted 30 Oct 2017, 08:30 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Oct 2017, 09:09 ]

 If you work at a court, and your rights or those of other individuals are violated there, tell us.

If you have ever worked at a court, then you know about the working conditions of court secretaries. Miserly pay, permanent unpaid overtime, including at nights, and lack of respect for the work they do. Not infrequently these conditions result in this important participant in the judicial process being turned into a passive executor, unquestioningly carrying out the not always lawful instructions of the judicial authorities. Secretaries should be full participants in the judicial process, but at the present time this is impossible. 

In order to change this situation, it is necessary first of all to understand the scale of the problem. We would like you to tell us about:
  • Violations of the employment rights of court staff (for example, if you were forced to work overtime, at nights, without the pay you should have received, if you were not given vacation time); 
  • Violations by judges and court chairpersons (for example, if you were forced to sign documents you had not yourself drawn up, to fabricate records of court hearings that had not in fact taken place, and so on); 
  • Any actions by the court authorities that seem to you to be incorrect and unlawful, violate your rights or the rights of defendants. 
Journalists from Team 29 and Mediazona will use the information provided to publicize the problems of court employees.

There are many problems in the Russian judicial system about which court employees are afraid to speak publicly. In the courts, laws and employment regulations are often broken; court secretaries are obliged to work overtime at nights and weekends; and the average pay of a court secretary in St. Petersburg is about 10,000 - 12,000 roubles. Former secretary of the October district court in St. Petersburg, Aleksandr Eivazov, has spoken about the violations of the law that take place in the courts, and he has been charged under Article 294 of the Russian Criminal Code with obstructing the work of the courts. 

Eivazov faces a sentence of up to four years in prison. At present he is on remand in a pre-trial detention centre. There is no previous case in which an individual facing these charges has been remanded in custody. Amnesty International has recognized Aleksandr as a prisoner of conscience and has demanded his immediate release. Eivazov denounced the drawing up of official courtroom records regarding hearings that had not in fact taken place, a lack of respect for court employees who work for a pittance, and violations of the confidentiality of the jury room. Despite the fact that all these are violations of the law, we know that in Russian courts such things are not rare. Rather they are all but the norm.

When the work of people in the judicial system is not respected and is not adequately remunerated, this cannot help but influence the quality of justice. But as long as court employees are afraid to speak out about these issues, nothing will change. For things to change, it is necessary not only for Eivazov to speak out, but for other court employees to take the same step. It is dangerous to speak publicly. No one wants to share the fate of Eivazov and be prosecuted. For this reason, we invite court employees to speak to us in confidence, via a secure channel of communications.

Source: Team 29