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

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

Respect for the right to freedom of association

In May, 4 NGOs were entered in the register of "foreign agents":

  • Saratov nonprofit organization «Sotsium»,
  • Krasnoyarsk Regional Public Organization «Agency of public initiatives»,
  • Autonomous Nonprofit Organization «Hansa Office / Information Office of Schleswig-Holstein in Kaliningrad»,
  • Altai public organisation «School of Ecology of Soul "Tengri"».

Organizations that were fined:

  • The Committee for preventing torture — 300 000 rubles
    The head of the organisation — 100 000 rubles
  • Assocation «GOLOS» («Voice») — 300 000 rubles

Cancelled fines:

  • Irina Dubovitskaya, the chairman of Krasnodar regional public organization of university graduates — 100 000 rubles.

Ministry of Justice proposes to consider criticism of the law on foreign agents political activity and to include NGOs into the register of foreign agents on this basis. This is stated in the annual report the Ministry has submitted to the State Duma.

On 11 May, the State Duma rejected a bill suggesting abolition of the term «NCO foreign agent» in the Russian legislation. The bill had provided for changes in a number of legislative acts with the purpose of acknowledging as invalid the institution of ascribing organizations to NCOs performing functions of a foreign agent.

On 13 May, Liliia Shibanova, the founder and former executive director of GOLOS (Voice) Association for observation of elections, was taken off the train en route from Vilnius to Moscow, immediately after crossing the Lithuanian-Belarusian border near Gudogay station. Frontier guards asked Shibanova to go to examination of personal things. Alexander Kanev, a political scientist, reports that Liliia Shibanova was going to Moscow to participate in a meeting of the Human Rights Council under the President she members.

Valentina Cherevatenko, the head of two Russian NCOs, is being checked by the Investigation Department of Investigation Committee in Rostov-on-Don for a «malicious violation» of her duties as defined by legislation on «non-profit organizations performing functions of a foreign agent.»

On 20 May, in Mezhdurechensk of Kemerovo region, Aleksandr Khmelev, a priest of the Association of Christian Eucharistic communities, an open gay and antimilitarist was accused of extremism.

On 20 May, the State Duma adopted in the second and third readings a bill specifying term of «political activity» for non-profit organizations. The law specifies the term of «political activity» used in the law «On Noncommercial Organizations». In particular, the legislative act sees participation of NCOs in meetings and demonstrations, actions aimed at «obtaining results at elections» or in a referendum as forms of «political activity».

The first prize of Boris Nemtsov Fund will be granted to Lev Schlosberg, an ex-deputy of Pskov legislative assembly and the publisher of the newspaper «Pskov province», as reported by Vladimir of the Kara-Murza Jr., the head of the Fund Board of Trustees.

In late May, a next fine was imposed for reposting extremist message in the social network "Vkontakte". This time, in the opinion of the judges, Alexander Khmelev, the 20-year-old gay priest in Mezhdurechensk Association of Christian Eucharistic communities, was considered a propagandist of Nazism. He reposted photos of DNR and LNR militiamen tattooed with swastikas and symbols of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars, the organisation banned in Russia. Now Khmelev must pay 1 thousand rubles.


Respect for the right to freedom of assembly

Activists detained, at least — 17

Attacks — 5

Days of arrest — 5

Fine — 270 000 rub

On the May Day march in St. Petersburg there were about 11 persons detained. As reported by activists, among the detained are LGBT activists who had been carrying flags, as well as Vsevolod Nelaev, a public person and two persons from the feminists column.

On 1 May, after «Monstration» a group of seven people, one of whom showed ID of the Main Department of Internal Affairs of Novosibirsk detained Artem Loskutov and accused him of organizing an uncoordinated procession. Later, he was found guilty under Part 1 of Article 20.2 of the Administrative Code (Violation by the organizer of a public event of the order of organizing or holding a meeting, rally, demonstration, march or picketing) and the court awarded a penalty in the amount of 20,000 rubles.

Immediately after leaving the courthouse Loskutov was detained by police again. Later, on 12 May, the court acquitted the activist.

On 6 May, Dmitrii Vorobyovski, a member of Democratic Union and an active participant in protest actions in Voronezh was taken from home by police and paramedics, beat up and taken forcibly to a psychiatric hospital. He spent several days in the mental hospital. Meanwhile, Amnesty International started an urgent action. The prosecutor's office of Voronezh region appealed to the Investigative Committee to verify the information on Dmitrii Vorobyovski's forced, without a court order, hospitalization in a psychiatric hospital. With the court's decision, Vorobyovski was released on 12 May. He was set free right in the courtroom.

Zamoskvoretskiy District Court of Moscow fined Victor Kapitonov detained on 6 May at Bolotnaya square 150 thousand rubles. Kapitonov was found guilty of a second violation of the established order of carrying out a public event. Another participant of the event was given by the court five days arrest for disobeying the lawful demands of police officers. Altogether not fewer than nine people were detained on Bolotnaya Square on 6 May, 2016. All except Nedopekin and Kapitonov were released the same day.

On 7 May, the opening of «Siberian Athens», the II LGBT festival in Tomsk was disrupted. Two hours before the start, giving the reason for the refusal, the sport centre management referred to the fact that they have no right to hold contests. Trying to find other venues had no success, as all city sports facilities had received information on impermissibility of the event because of its association with LGBT themes.

In mid-May on the governmental purchases webpage appeared information on a tender on designing a new gun for the needs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The caliber of the weapon for use in urban environments must be 5.45 millimeters. The code name of the gun is «Turner-2».

A few days later it became known that the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced a tender for supply of stun grenades which are used to prevent mass disorder and conduct special operations.

On 17 May, the Committee on law and order and security of the Government of St. Petersburg refused plans of activists on holding an LGBT demonstration dedicated to 17 May, International Day of confronting homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.

On 17 May, in Anapa airport Cossacks beat employees of Alexei Navalny's Fund to Fight Corruption (FBK). Six people were injured, including Navalny.

Perm Regional Council of Trade Unions was fined for violations at carrying out the May Day demonstration. Leninsky District Court found the organization guilty of violating the law on procedure of public events and sentenced to a fine of one hundred thousand rubles. The organizers of the demonstration, in particular, were accused of the fact that in one of the columns a man was to see who was dressed as Bart Simpson, with the head and the face closed.

Pyotr Pavlenski's lawyer reported beating of his client by escort. The artist says, he has a crack in a rib and a broken knee. The lawyer said that the reason for the beating was allegedly a verbal conflict.

Anarchist Vladislav Sokolik was arrested the morning of 18 May at his place in Novosibirsk. In the morning unknown persons knocked on his door and detained him without showing any identity documents.

The investigation sent Maksim Panfilov living in Astrakhan to a forensic psychiatric examination. He is  accused under «Bolotnaya case» of the riots on 6 May, 2012 on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow.

In Vologda there was a murder attempt conducted against Evgenii Domozhirov, a member of Progress Party, the head of its local branch, the father of five children. Unknown persons fired several shots from a traumatic weapons on Novgorodskaya street as he was taking his child to kindergarten.

Artist Pyotr Pavlenski was found guilty of vandalism on the case of his art action «Freedom». Magistrate court of the trial plot number 199 of St. Petersburg at a visiting session in Moscow sentenced the actionist to 1 year and 4 months of restraint of liberty. Thereafter Pavlenski was released from punishment due to expiration.

On 20 May, the Moscow City Court rejected Maxim Panfilov's lawyers' appeal against detention of the activist within «Bolotnaya case».

On 24 May, it became known that on 17 May the European Court of Human Rights communicated the complaint in connection with the demonstration at Tschistiye Prudy («Clean Ponds», a place in Moscow) on 5 December, 2011. During the demonstration, the protesters demanded fair elections; it was with this demonstration that protests of 2011 - 2012 began with.

On 26 May, Leninsky district court of Omsk made a decision concerning Alexander Razhin, a student of Omsk Railways University. He was found guilty of «inciting hatred or hostility, or humiliation of a person or group of persons on the basis of attitude to religion» (p. 1 art. 282 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced to 120 hours of community service.

The investigation started crimibnal proceedings under article 282 of the Criminal Code (incitement of hatred and hostility, humiliation of human dignity). The defendant in a 36-year-old Artem Chebotarev. According to investigators, on 7 February, 2016 he posted some information in the social network "VKontakte" aimed at raising hatred and enmity, as well as humiliation to a social group.

In Kurgan, the mother of the 16-year-old Gleb A., who had picketed with ??? mouth, put him into a mental hospital.

Violation of human rights in the Republic of Crimea

On 12 May, Roskomnadzor began blocking the Internet media «Krym.Realii», a project of «Radio Svoboda» («Freedom»), the Crimean prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya reports.

«Based on materials collected by the Prosecutor's Office of Crimea, Roskomnadzor is conducting procedures for blocking access to this project», — she said.

On 18 May in Bakhchisarai, police arrested participants of the autorally dedicated to the Day of memory of victims of deportation of the Crimean Tatars. Drivers were detained on their way from Simferopol in framework of «Operation Anaconda».

On 19 May, Crimean Tatar Elvis Asanov as a protest against attempts to judge him by the court as a a Russian citizen and the subsequent transfer to a prison in Russia cut his throat right in the court.

In Mezhdurechensk (Kemerovo Region) on 24 May, a 19-year-old Aleksandr Khmelev was accused of public demonstration of extremist symbols. As reported by information-analytical centre «Sova», presumably extremism was seen in the image of Tarak-tamga, the national symbol of Crimean Tatars put in their flag.


Political emigration

Nationalist Dmitri Kuznetsov supporting independence of Karelia was granted a residence permit in Spain for a period of 5 years. This was reported by blogger Maxim Efimov who published an interview with Kuznetsov.

On 9 May, an activist of «National-Bolsheviks platform» Alexander Shelkovenkov asked for political asylum in Ukraine. He appealed for asylum right at the border crossing.

Lithuanian authorities have given refugee status to Irina Kalmykova accused Russia of repeated violation of the rules on pickets. Irina Kalmykova became one of the first who were charged under Article 212.1 of the Criminal Code (repeated violation of the established order of oganizing or holding a meeting, rally, demonstration, march or pickets) introduced in the Criminal Code in the summer of 2014.

The oppositionist Dmitrii Nekrasov whose departure from Russia became known on 26 May, explained his decision by the fact that, in his words, it was planned to institute a case against him for « financing extremism and terrorism».

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