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February 2011

posted 8 Mar 2011, 13:23 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 8 Mar 2011, 13:25 ]
Freedom of expression
Luke Harding, correspondent of The Guardian, was expelled from Russia on 5/2, but allowed to return on 13/2. On 14/2 a Moscow court dismissed a defamation suit against PM Vladimir Putin by Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Milov and Vladimir Ryzhkov whom Putin alleged had embezzled State funds in the 1990s. Oleg Vorotnikov and Pavel Nikolaev of the Voina art group, detained since November, were released on bail on 21/2 and 22/2 respectively. Nikolaev lodged a case against Russia over his detention at the European Court of Human Rights. Organizers of an art prize dropped a Voina painting of a large penis on a St. Petersburg bridge near FSB HQ from the shortlist. Voina condemned the move. Dmitry Gubin, host of a radio show on Vesti FM, lost his job after likening (25/2) St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matvienko to Adolf Hitler for ‘destroying the city.’

Yukos case
Following a ruling by the Supreme Court, Moscow City Court presidium conducted a judicial review of the August decision by Khamovniky district court to extend by three months the pre-trial detention of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. On 18/2 the court upheld the extension on the ground the crimes in question had no relation to the two men’s business activities. On 1/2 President Medvedev enlarged the Kremlin's human rights council and ordered it to review high profile cases such as those of Khodorkovsky and Sergei Magnitsky. The Presidium of the Council of Judges said (10/2) such reviews would be unconstitutional. Meanwhile, Natalya Vasilyeva, assistant to Viktor Danilkin, judge in the 2nd Yukos trial, said Danilkin had been pressured and did not write the verdict. As reported on 16/2, Moscow police opened an investigation into Vasilieva’s husband (an ex-police officer). The final edit of a documentary about Mikhail Khodorkovsky was stolen from the director's office in Berlin days before its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.

Right of assembly
Eduard Limonov, The Other Russia leader, was fined 2,000 roubles for violating on 31/1 rules on public assemblies. The Other Russia’s Igor Bereziuk was charged with having incited disturbances on Manezh Square on 11/12. Alla Chernysheva, an activist who opposes the building of a new road through Khimki Forest, was detained (10/2) with her children by police. About 1,000 people took part in a first officially-sanctioned Day of Wrath Moscow rally on 12/2. Organizer and Left Front activist Sergei Udaltsov was sentenced to ten days in prison for not obeying police orders. Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said (16/2) his city did not need Gay Parades. Six protestors over investments lost in housing built by the Ministry of Defence were detained in Moscow and fined (19/2). On 23/2 Volgograd authorities banned all public assemblies, but about 1,000 people rallied in the city (23/2) in support of mayor Roman Grebennikov, dismissed by governor Anatoly Brovko on 22/2.

Head of the Investigative Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin said (17/2) authorities should fingerprint and collect DNA samples from all foreigners to reduce migrant crime. Moscow prosecutors suspended (16/2) the Movement Against Illegal Immigration and requested Moscow City Court ban it as extremist.

North Caucasus
The North Caucasus Investigative Committee closed (3/2) its investigation into the October 2009 killing of Ingush human rights defender and former owner of the website, Maksharip Aushev, on grounds that it was impossible to identify any suspects. Three North Caucasus Environmental Watch activists and a journalist, detained at the Gelendzhik palace reportedly being built for Putin, were released (12/2), but laptops and cameras were confiscated. Four tourists in Kabardino-Balkaria were shot dead (18/2) by unidentified persons in camouflage uniform. On 25/2 members of an illegal armed group attacked the Nalchik FSB headquarters; there was also an explosion at an FSB sanatorium.
Rights in Russia,
8 Mar 2011, 13:24