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

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

Respect for the right to freedom of association

In June, 4 NGOs were entered in the register of «foreign agents»:

  1. Andrey Rylkov Fund for contributing to protection of health and social justice
  2. «ESVERO» Moscow organization for support of social and preventive programs in public health
  3. Regional public organization Integration Center «Migration and Law»
  4. Non-profit organization «Perm Civil Chamber»

Judicial board on administrative cases of the Sakhalin Regional Court recognized as legitimate the order of the Ministry of Justice to include the public organization «Sakhalin Environment Watch» in the register of NGOs – «foreign agents».

On 2 June, in Moscow Tagansky district court there was held a hearing of the appeal complaint of the “Sakharov centre” on the decision to impose a fine for their refusal to be enlisted as “foreign agents”. The appeal of the “Sakharov Center” was refused.

In early June, the environmental organization «Green World» addressed the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) with a complaint to the law «On NGOs», in particular, the provisions concerning organizations – foreign agents. The applicants believe that the status of foreign agent discredits them, and that work on informing population about the nuclear threat can not be considered political activity.

Perm Regional Court recognized legitimacy of bringing to administrative liability a city public organization «Centre for Civic Education and Human Rights». In April 2016 the District Court found the organization guilty of violating the law on «foreign agents» and fined it for 300 thousand rubles. Centre for Civic Education and Human Rights was compulsorily included in the «foreign agents» register in March 2016.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein said that the Russian law on «foreign agents» should be amended. «I continue to call on the authorities to follow the recommendations of human rights mechanisms of the UN and to amend this law in accordance with Russia’s international human rights obligations,» he said in a speech at the 32nd session of the UN on human rights.

Orel Regional Court satisfied the requirements of the regional Ministry of Justice on recognizing the local organization «Jehovah's Witnesses» extremist; it must be liquidated, reports the court press service.

In the office of «Women of the Don» human rights organization a search began. The head of the organization Valentina Cherevatenko may become the first defendant in the Russian Federation in a case of violation of the law «On NGOs». It is not known yet whether the search is related to potential criminal prosecution of Ms. Cherevatenko, but earlier investigators have extended the time period for examining procedures in her concern. The fact that the office of «Women of the Don» was being searched was reported by Natalia Taubina, the head of the Human Rights Fund «Public Verdict». Investigators withdrew the documentation.

Mayakovsky library was searched before the public discussions of «Dialogues» project on 26 June. FSB employees from the service for the protection of constitutional order and the fight against terrorism came with examination. The security forces demanded from the administration information on Nicholai Solodnikov’s employment in the organization, the founder of «Open Library» and «Dialogues» projects. Solodnikov works for the library as the Deputy Director of Public Relations. FSB officers withdrew some of the equipment and documents.

For the first time a criminal case under article of the fraudulent evasion of following requirements of the law on foreign agents (Art. 330.1 of the Criminal Code, up to two years' imprisonment) is initiated. It is said in the decision on instituting criminal proceedings against Valentina Cherevatenko, the chairwoman of the «Women of the Don» union, that the «Women of the Don» union was forcibly included in the register of foreign agents in June 2014 (it was the first NGO to be forcibly included therein) and Cherevatenko, «with a criminal intent», in order to avoid obeying the law, had registered in 2013 the «Women of the Don» fund. The fund was engaged with political activity in 2014-2015 (it carried out educational seminars and engaged in development of capacity of public figures) and received foreign funding of about 3 million rubles from German Heinrich Böll Foundation. Cherevatenko, although knowing that the organization was performing functions of an agent, «deliberately» did not submit an application for including in the register, says the decision.

The Presidential Council on development of civil society and human rights urged the Ministry of Justice to reconsider the refusal to exclude from the register of foreign agents the Interregional Public Foundation for Civil Society Development «Golos-Ural».

On 27 June, Temur Kobalia, the founder of NGO TV and the ex-head of the Volgograd  «Youth centre for consulting and training» sent two complaints to the European Court of Human Rights. Kobalia is going to appeal the decision of the court, that fined him on presentation of Roskomnadzor 100 thousand rubles, and fined the non-profit organization he heads 300 thousand.


Respect for the right to freedom of assembly

Activists detained, at least — 25

Administrative cases — 19

Attacks — 7

Restriction or deprivation of freedom — 15.4 years of imprisonment

Fine — 60 000 рублей

Criminal cases — 2

The action «Threat» by artist Pyotr Pavlenskiy was nominated for the award of the FSB for the artwork on security agencies. The application for that was sent by Maria Baronova, a coordinator of the human rights project of «Open Russia».

The Russian government asks the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to refuse the convicted oppositionist Sergei Udaltsov in his appeal against the sentence of the Moscow City Court and the wrongful arrest. This was told by the lawyer Dmitriy Agranovskiy.

On 1 June, 2016 Russia's Supreme Court refused to reconsider the verdict against Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov unjustly sentenced to 20 years in colony on charges of organizing terrorist attacks in the Crimea.

In Alushta on 4 June, the police disrupted a meeting of local residents protesting against building up the urban waterfront. The action at 10:00 on the waterfront of Alushta was attended by about fifty people. The participants demanded to stop building up the urban waterfront with market stalls and amusement parks.

City Court of Kotlas in Arkhangelsk Region sentenced Sergei Mokhnatkin, a human rights activist, to 11 months in prison on charges of insulting a public official. The new sentence will be added to the 4.5 years that the activist must be imprisoned under the sentence of the Tver court that found him guilty of using violence to a policeman during the «Strategy-31» action in 2013.

A group of American TV journalists and the main editor of «BlogSochi» website were detained on 3 June by FSB officers in the village of «Vesyoloye – Psou.» The team came to shoot a story about the empty homes built for the 2014 Olympics.

On 6 June 2016, lawyers of the Committee Against Torture filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in interests of Oleg Silverstov. The human rights defenders believe that the Russian authorities violated two articles of the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to Silverstov: «The prohibition of torture» and «The right to liberty and security of person». Oleg Silverstov asked the human rights activists for legal aid in 2012. According to him, at the street rally «For Fair Elections» on 10 March 2012 employees of the special battalion of the patrol regiment of the Department of Russian Interior Ministry police in Nizhny Novgorod (hereinafter – BSN) knocked him down to the ground, started strangling him, squeezing his throat with the hand. As Silverstov tried to escape, he was hit in the left forearm. Then a few employees of BSN and OMON (riot police) dragged him to the bus, and next to the bus physical force was used to him again, he was knocked down to the ground and struck with a foot in the chest. Fearing for their health, Silverstov crawled under the bus, but law enforcement officers took him out and hit several times to the head; Silverstov lost consciousness from beatings and regained consciousness already in the BSN bus.

On 5 June, Asmik Novikova, the head of research programs of the «Public Verdict» fund and Ksenia Gagai, a documentary filmmaker and a volunteer of the fund were detained by an armed group of policemen and taken to the building of «Centre E» in Cherkessk. The detention took place after the «orientation» of the Investigative Committee on Novikova and Gagai’s extremist look. To the questioning of the detainees came the chief and the deputy chief of «Centre E», an employee of Criminal Investigation, an investigator of the Investigative Committee. Novikova and Gagai had arrived in Cherkessk for filming a documentary about Ruslan Rahayev. Later they were released.

The Presidium of the Russian Supreme Court cancelled several court decisions on prolongation of the detention term for a figurant of «Bolotnaya case» Leonid Kovyazin, journalist and filmmaker from Kirov who had been pardoned, reports RAPSI referring to the lawyer Dmitriy Agranovskiy. The corresponding appeal determinations are also cancelled.

Artist Pyotr Pavlenskiy was found guilty and sentenced to a fine of 500 thousand rubles in the case of arson of the door of the FSB building in Lubyanka. The verdict was announced on 8 June by Meshchansky Court of Moscow.

The State Duma deprived Ilya Ponomarev of deputy powers for the systematic failure to perform his duties, including absenteeism at plenary sessions for 30 or more calendar days. This decision was supported by 413 votes, with 3 votes against and none abstained. The initiative to revoke Ponomarev’s mandate was brought by the fraction of «Fair Russia» he had only formally membered.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has received the first complaint on criminal persecution under Art. 212.1 of the Criminal Code (repeated violation of the rules of demonstrations). The applicant Vladimir Ionov left Russia the day before the announcement of the verdict in his case, when he learned that activist Ildar Dadin became th first person to be sentenced to a real term under the same article. In Ionov’s opinion, this article violates his right to peaceful protest and is contrary to the Convention on Human Rights.

Next to the US Embassy, ​​where on 13 June people come with flowers and candles after the shooting of the gay club in Orlando, two persons were detained with a poster saying Love Wins. «We were detained as we were trying to put the poster next to the flowers. When the police officer came, I said that I have a right to stay in a single picket, but we were put in the car and given no explanations. I do not know, is it rightful at all?» – said one of the detainees Islam Abdullabekov, an RBC employee.

In St. Petersburg, on 11 June, unknown beat up Egor Alekseev, an administrator of a popular oppositional social network public «Criminal authority». The attack occurred in the morning. The unidentified persons came up to Alekseev from behind. He did not remember signs of the attackers. The activist said that the attack happened in a crowded place, but the attackers were not afraid to be identified. Alekseev’s got his nose broken, concussion of the brain, and a jaw injury. The activist registered the beatings and applied to the police, but he has no hope for investigation into the attack.

Administrative reports were made on five participants of the action «For Russia without dictatorship» detained in Rostov-on-Don. On 13 June about twenty people gathered in the city's Hyde Park — on the ground in front of the Don State library, one of the places specially arranged for people’s gatherings. Carrying out public events here does not require approval from the authorities, if the number of participants does not exceed one hundred.

On 14 June, Aleksander Bragin, the leader of the Ulyanovsk branch of PARNAS was attacked by unknown persons. This was reported on the website of the Party of People's Freedom. Aleksander Bragin was taken by ambulance to the central city hospital.

In Tyumen, the measure of restraint for Aleksei Kungurov, a blogger-Stalinists and a member of «Committee on 25 January» created by Strelkov and Limonov, was changed from recognizance to arrest in jail. According to the publication, arresting of Kungurov was forced by the regional FSB. As the blogger's wife says, the court hearing was to take place on 19 August, and the arrest will continue until autumn. She noted that because of the ongoing football championship, nobody came to the hearing on the measure of restraint.

57-year-old native of Stavropol Anatoly Leonin detained on 27 March was pardoned. Leonin was detained in premises of Moscow on 24 March, where he lived in a servants’ house. Shortly before that he addressed the police with a statement about his mobile phone being stolen, and thus the investigation established his whereabouts.

On 15 June, Aleksandr Veselov, the chairman of Environmentalists’ Union of Bashkortostan was attacked in the center of Ufa. The attack occurred near the office. The activist has got a broken lip and a broken nose. Veselov sees the reason for the attack in his civil engagement against deployment of solid waste landfill in the region.

Novomoskovsk City Court rejected the petition for parole for Aleksei Gaskarov convicted of participation in alleged mass disorders on 6 May, 2012 on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow.

Leninski district court of Novosibirsk sentenced a 24-year-old Kirill Korzhavin and a 20-year-old Vladislav Shipovalov accused of coloring a number of city facilities in the colours of the Ukrainian flag, to two and a half and two years in a general-regime colony respectively. Two more defendants in the case — Sergey Belov and the federal judge’s son Nazar Kollektsionov who was underage at the time of the actions — got a year and a half of imprisonment.

Tverskoy District Court of Moscow fined activist Victor Kapitonov for violations at the picketing against reassignment of Yuri Chaika as Attorney General (Part 5 of Article 20.2 of the Administrative Code). Anastasia Dzyurko, a spokeswoman for the court clarified that Kapitonov was fined 20 thousand rubles.

St.-Petersburg police opened a criminal case into the threats against Yulia Chernobrodova, an oppositional activist criticizing the authorities in social networks, whose car was burned in May by unknown persons. A criminal case is instituted on grounds of crime under Part. 1 Art. 119 of the Criminal Code (threat of murder or grievous bodily harm).

In Moscow on 20 June Semen Lashkin, cellist and vocalist of the Radio Kamerger band was detained. For playing music on the street he is charged under article 20.2.2 of the Administrative Code (organization of mass simultaneous meeting and (or) moving citizens in public places, which caused a violation of public order).

Russian State Duma adopted in the second and third reading the so-called «anti-terrorism package» of bills developed by a State Duma deputy Irina Yarovaya and Federation Council member Viktor Ozerov. The adopted amendments significantly tighten a number of laws. An article on non-informing was introduced into the Criminal Code: for «failing to report a crime» one can be imprisoned for a period of time up to one year. This rule applies to such crimes as terrorism, seizure of power and attempt of murder of a statesman.

Journalist Daniil Aleksandrov, who was preparing a reportage on deaths of the children in the Siamozero on request of «Meduza», was accused of working «without a license». On 30 June, he was detained in Karelia at the exit of the administration Essoylskoye rural settlement where he had spoken with the head of the village.


Violation of human rights in the Republic of Crimea

On 10 June Mikhail Belousov, a judge of the Kiev District Court of Simferopol found a Ukrainian Andrei Kolomiets guilty of attempt of murder of a «Berkut» employee during the events on the Maidan in Kiev in 2014 and in storing drugs. Kolomiets was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment in a penal colony — the Prosecutor had earlier insisted on exactly this punishment.

After the annexation of Crimea there has been an increase of violence in Russia against those who disagree with the authorities, reports the Centre for Economic and Political Reforms (CEPR). According to these data, in the last 4 years there can be traced several waves of attacks on oppositional activists. They correlate directly with the ideological campaigns of the authorities and electoral periods.


Political emigration

Участник гражданского движения «Единство равных» Александр Хорршр покинул Россию. «В настоящее время Александр Хорршр, находящийся под подпиской „о невыезде и должном поведении“, покинул пределы России и направляется в Финляндию, чтобы запросить там политическое убежище».

Member of «The Unity of the Equal» civil movement Aleksander Khorrshr left Russia. «At the moment, Aleksander Khorrshr under “recognizance and proper behavior» left Russia and is headed to Finland to ask for political asylum there.»

Alekei Vetrov, a civil political activist, says which difficulties he faced in the Ukraine and in what conditions he is in the country now. Interview.

Konstantin Golava, a councilman of «Avers», Samara public LGBT movement, and the head of the public human rights movement «Alternative to призыв в армию» was officially granted asylum in Sweden. He wrote that on his Facebook page.

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