Review of violations of the right to freedom of assembly and the right to freedom of associations in March 2016

Review of violations of the right to freedom of assembly and the right to freedom of associations in March 2016

Respect for the right to freedom of association

In March, 5 NGOs were entered in the register of "foreign agents":

  • Regional public ecological organization of the Altai Republic "Arkhar"
  • Autonomous Nonprofit Organization "Center for Social and Labor Rights"
  • Perm city public organization "Center for Civic Education and Human Rights"
  • The International Fund for Development of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East "Batani"
  • Charitable social and legal aid fund "Sfera"

Fined:

  • Krasnodar regional public organization of university graduates — 100,000 rubles
  • The head of the Samara "Voice" Lyudmila Kuzmina — 2,200.000 rubles
  • Fund "Public Verdict" — 400 000 rubles

The Moscow City Court on March 30 quashed the desicion of Tagansky District Court on administrative responsibility (fining) the Sakharov Center for refusing to register as a "foreign agent."

Basmanny Court in Moscow on March 31 reversed the decision on finding the Russian Research Center for Human Rights (RITSPCH) guilty of violating the order of operations as a non-profit organization and freed the organization from having to pay the fine.

Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation recognized as an "unwelcome organization" the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs headed by a former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The prosecutor's office came to the conclusion that the institution "poses a threat to the fundamentals of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation and the security of the state."

Joint Mobile Group, the office of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, and Igor Kalyapin were attacked

Evening of 9 March, the car of Joint Mobile Group of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture was attacked on the road from Ingushetia to Grozny. At the time of the attack there was one staff member of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, drivers and journalists in the car; among them a corespondent of "Mediazona" and The New Times magazine, as well as a journalist from Sweden and a journalist from Norway.

Ingush police began searching for the attackers. This was reported on Thursday, 10 March, by "Mediazona" with reference to a source in the Interior Ministry department of Sunzhenski district of Ingushetia.

The Human Rights Council under the President will ask the Investigative Committee, the Prosecutor's, and Sergei Melikov, the presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District, to investigate carefully the attack on the human rights defenders in Ingushetia. This was told by Mikhail Fedotov, the chairman of the Human Rights Council. Ingush authorities promise to supervise personally the investigation of the criminal case on attack on human rights defenders and journalists on the Сhechen border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Ministry of Interior Affairs to find out all the circumstances of the incident and to give it a legal assessment, as said by Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman of the president.

Dmitry Peskov commented on the attack on the journalists heading to Chechnya. He called the incident on the Chechen-Ingush border "disgraceful" and an "absolute hooliganism".

The media "Mediazona" completed the fundraising campaign for Bashir Pliev, the minivan driver who drove the car to Chechnya on 9 March and was injured in the attack.

In Ingushetia on 10 March, armed men wearing camouflage and masks attacked the office of the Joint Mobile Group of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture. The attackers came to the building where the office is located in five cars. Three people broke in through the window, the rest tryed to get into the apartment through the staircase.

Igor Kalyapin, the head of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture was attacked in Grozny in the evening 16 March. According to Dmitry Utukin working for the organization, the attack happened near the hotel "Grozny City".

The investigator and officers of the Ingush Ministry of Interior who came to inspect the rooms of the attacked journalists were refused entering the Chechen hotel "Grozny City", as said by the lawyer Ekaterina Vanslova.

The Chechen Human Rights Commissioner Nurdi Nukhazhiev believes that Igor Kalyapin should be excluded from the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights, as his activities are contrary to the fundamental objectives of the Council stated in the regulation approved by Presidential Decree. He said that at a meeting with journalists of local media.

According to North Caucasian Ekovachta (Environment Watch), on the of 3 March, an unknown attacker hiding the face under a hood flooded with polyurethane foam the exhaust pipe of the environmentalists' car parked near their office in Krasnodar, and filled both the fuel tanks presumably with sugar.

On 13 March the Russian diplomatic mission in Geneva confirmed the closure of the Office of the UN High Commissioner  for Human Rights.

The desicion of court left in the "foreign agents" register the Media Rights Centre, a non-profit organization located in Voronezh.

Public organization "All-Russian inter-ethnical youth union" (DMSM) appealed to the Prosecutor General and the Ministry of Justice with a request to check Alexei Navalny for incitement of inter-ethnic and religious hatred.

Alexander Brechalov, the Secretary of the Public Chamber of Russia considers that the legislation in respect of NGOs-"foreign agents" should be "reasonably tightened". "This is no discrimination. This is a limitation of rights for the sake of the state interests. Moreover, I believe that it is an absolutely correct position. Moreover, I believe that it must be reasonably tightened, especially in respect of elections, election observation."

Commissioner for Human Rights in Chechnya Nurdi Nukhazhiev appealed to Republican department of the Investigative Committee with a request to initiate criminal proceedings against Elena Milashina, a correspondent of "Novaya Gazeta".

A bill regulating activities of nonprofit-profit organizations that provide public common services has been introduced in the State Duma. Its authors Olga Batalina, the head of the Duma Committee on Labor and Social Policy, and Galina Karelova, the vice-speaker of the Federation Council thereby propose to introduce a new status for NGOs, that of a "performer of common benefit services." According to the explanatory note, the new status may be given to socially oriented NGOs that "has been providing socially useful services of appropriate quality for one year or more."

On 23 March, at the enlarged meeting of the board of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation on the results of work in 2015 and tasks on strengthening law and order in 2016, there was a call for more attention to pay to the work of non-profit organizations during the forthcoming autumn elections to the State Duma. This was reported by the Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika.

Natalia Sharina, the director of the Ukrainian Literature Library in Moscow previously accused of extremism, has become a suspect in a second criminal case. The Investigation Office for investigation of particularly important cases of the Moscow Head Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia initiated proceedings under the article "Misappropriation or embezzlement on a large scale committed by a person using his or her official position."

 

Respect for the right to freedom of assembly

Activists detained, at least – 49
Attacks – 3

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the draft-law that equates caravans to demonstrations, and pitching tent camps in public places to picketing.

Viktor Chirikov, a Krasnodar activist of movement "Solidarity" is called to the local branch of the FSB. In November 2015 it was reported that the police refused to initiate criminal proceedings on the telephone threats against him.

Natalia Pelevina, a member of the federal political council of PARNAS party became another suspect in the criminal case on the disorder on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow in May 2012. Investigators suspect Pelevina in organising mass disorders, and after questioning her as a suspect it will be decided upon the punishment.

On 10 March, Igor Sazhin, a human rights activist from Syktyvkar was detain by the police during a single picket on Stefanovskaya square of ​​Syktyvkar. He was protesting against the attack on journalists and human rights defenders of the "Committee for the Prevention of Torture" on the border of Chechnya and Ingushetia.

The administration of hotel "Mirage" in the city of Kazan where on 12 March there was going to be held a meeting of Mikhail Kasyanov, the chairman of PARNAS, with the electorate, terminated the rent agreement for the venue.

Sverdlovsk District Court of Kostroma awarded activist Alex Nicholaev with six thousand rubles as compensation for the ban on LGBT actions.

Participants of the 'fainting' action against price increases held on evening 11 March in a "Magnit" supermarket in the center of Saratov were detained by the police.

The investigating authorities formally charged Natalia Pelevina, a member of the federal political council of PARNAS, of illicit trafficking of special tools for collecting information. As she wrote in her blog in Facebook, "I am charged under Article 138.1 – production, acquisition or sale of special technical means intended for secret information gathering. Now I am under house arrest. I can not go beyond MKAD (the Moscow Ring Road)."

In Plekhanovo village of Tula region, OMON (riot police force) are gathered because of the conflict around the gas pipeline and the attacks on the gas servicemen who are there to eliminate illegal tapping gas, as reported on 17 March by the TV channel "Perviy Tulskiy".

Natalya Borisova, a judge of the Moscow City Court refused the complaint of a Bolotnaya prisoner Dmitry Buchenkov on the decision of the Basmanny District Court of Moscow for an extension of his arrest.

Lyudmila Lashina, the Magistrate of the 11th section of the Moscow District of the city of Ryazan sentenced Yury Bogomolov, the leader of the regional branch of PARNAS to 250 compulsory labor hours in the case of insulting a judge. Bogomolov was considered guilty under Article 319 of the Criminal Code (insulting a government official).

Zheleznodorozhniy District Court of Samara on 23 March fined activist Vladimir Avdonin for  standing next to a single picket making a video with his smartphone.

In St. Petersburg penal colony no. 6, two members of the Public Oversight Commission (ONK) Agafonov Leonid and Boris Panteleev were detained.

Activist Irina Kalmykova accused of repeated violation of the rules of conducting picketing and rallies is announced an international search. The corresponding documents have been sent to Interpol.

A draft law is introduced in the Duma that would allow regional prosecutors to demand blocking of "incitements to mass riots, extremist activities" as well as to participating in uncoordinated actions`. Currently, only the Prosecutor General and his deputies have this right according to the law "On information, information technologies and information protection".

On 29 March, Rasskazovsky District Court of Tambov Region denied parole for Sergei Udaltsov convicted of organizing riots on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow. During the hearing, a representative of the Federal Penitentiary Service spoke against parole. According to a representative of the colony, Sergei Udaltsov did not admit guilt, and also has 8 penalties and no incentives.

Sergei Krivov sentenced to three years and nine months for participating in the riots that allegebly took place on Bolotnaya Square on 6 May 2012 accused of use of violence towards two policemen was denied parole.

 

Violation of human rights in the Republic of Crimea

Crimean pro-Ukrainian activist Leonid Kuzmin is summoned to the prosecutor's office in Simferopol. He said that this is due with the filing notice of a rally on 9 March dedicated to Taras Shevchenko.

On 7 March, near Lenin Square in Simferopol, representatives of the local administration tried to ban the picket of Crimean farmers protesting against quarantine measures related to the epidemy of African swine fever.

Simferopol authorities banned any public events. Since 22 November 2015, restrictions on public events have already been introduced in the city due to emergency mode in Crimea, and on 7 March into this decree signed by the head of the city administration Gennady Bakhareva was added that now, instead of restrictions, there is a full prohibition of public events. It does not apply only to public events held by state authorities and local authorities.

Donetsk City Court of the Rostov region sentenced Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko to 22 years of imprisonment in a penal colony and a fine of 30 thousand rubles.

On 31 March, in Sevastopol the town association of "All-Ukrainian society Prosvita" after name of Taras Shevcheno, was searched by FSB officers who seized more than 250 kinds of extremist printed materials. The literature had been printed in Canada, France, USA, and Ukraine.

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