News of the Day: 7 December 2020

Caucasian Knot: The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has accepted the complaint lodged by the Human Rights Centre (HRC) “Memorial” and Alexander Cherkasov about the fines imposed after an inspection by the Ingush FSB Department, human rights defenders report. The “Caucasian Knot” has reported that on April 27, Alexander Cherkasov, the chairman of the Board of the HRC “Memorial”, used raised donations to pay three fines of 100,000 roubles eachimposed after the inspection by the Ingush FSB Department for the absence of a “foreign agent label” in publications. On the same day, the HRC “Memorial” promised to lodge to the ECtHR a complaint about the decisions on fines imposed by Russian courts. The HRC “Memorial” and Alexander Cherkasov appealed with a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights. In their complaint, the human rights defenders claim that the fines paid over the past year under the Law “On foreign agents” violate the rights guaranteed by Article 10 (freedom of expression), Article 11 (freedom of assembly), Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination), and Article 18 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the press service for the HRC “Memorial” reports.

Civil Rights Defenders: Civil Rights Defenders expresses grave concern over proposed package of draft laws to Russian legislation regulating association. The amendments could mean a death sentence for unregistered initiatives and independent non-governmental organisations. In November 2020, the Russian government proposed amendments to broaden its notorious 2012 ‘foreign agents’ legislation, which concerns domestic organisations and branches of foreign NGOs operating in Russia. The amendments will 1) increase the burden on organisations as well as the government’s control over their operations; 2) increase the risk for individual activists; and 3) contravene Russia’s constitution and its international obligations to ensure freedom of association.

RFE/RL: A Chechen teenager who was shot dead by French police in October after he beheaded a teacher near Paris has been buried in his family’s village in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Chechnya. Some 200 men, all residents of the village of Shalazhi, were allowed by local authorities to attend the December 6 burial of the 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov, whose body was brought to Chechnya via Turkey a day earlier. Video posted on the Telegram channel Baza showed men chanting Islamic prayers and calling out, “There is no God, but God, and Mohammad is his messenger!” and “God is great!” while bringing Anzorov’s body to the grave for burial. Several dozen police officers were deployed at the site to keep order and make sure people from other areas did not attend the ceremony.

RFE/RL: The Moscow Gulag History Museum and the Memory Foundation have applied to the government of the Magadan region to develop the remains of the Dneprovsky labor camp into an open-air historical complex aimed at preserving the memory of the prisoners who labored and died there under Stalin.

Human Rights in Ukraine: The Russian FSB burst into the home of former political prisoner Kazim Ametov early on 4 December and turned the place upside down, before leaving “without anything of importance for their criminal case”.  The search came less than a month after the 63-year-old activist of the Crimean Tatar movement and his lawyer filed a lawsuit against Russia’s penitentiary service and police over the torture-like conditions he was held prisoner in for over two years.  10 individuals turned up at around 7 a.m on Friday morning., including two ‘official witnesses’ whom the FSB had clearly (and in breach of regulations) brought with them.

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