News of the Day: 14 June 2021

The Guardian: Vladimir Putin has refused to give any guarantee that the opposition leader Alexei Navalny will get out of prison alive, saying his continued detention was not his decision and noting the poor state of medical care in Russian jails. In an extended and testy interview with NBC News before Putin’s Geneva summit with Joe Biden, the Russian president deflected a string of allegations about his government’s role in cyber-attacks on the west. He also fended off questions about his government’s human rights record by making counter-allegations against the US.

The Moscow Times: A Chechen woman who said she fled abuse in her home region for her sexual orientation has reneged on her initial statements in a Chechen state television interview. Chechens who lose favor with the Russian republic’s authorities regularly appear on television to give what human rights activists say are “forced” apologies. Khalimat Taramova, 22, had previously recorded herself saying she fled Chechnya by her own free will to escape “regular beatings and threats” by her family due to her sexual orientation. Rights activists sounded the alarm over her safety after Chechen law enforcement officers raided the women’s shelter in neighboring Dagestan where Taramova was hiding and detained her last Thursday.

RFE/RL: Authorities in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Chechnya are claiming that a woman removed against her will from a shelter for domestic abuse victims was taken by police in order “to prevent her abduction” by local human rights activists. Khalimat Taramova, the daughter of a close associate of Chechnya’s authoritarian leader Ramzan Kadyrov, was forcibly taken by police on June 10 from the shelter in Makhachkala, the capital of Russia’s neighboring region of Daghestan. Authorities promptly returned Taramova to her native Chechnya, where rights activists warn she is at risk of becoming a victim of a so-called “honor killing.”

RFE/RL: Russian protest artist Pavel Krisevich has been sent to pretrial detention over a so-called “suicide” performance in which he fired blanks from a pistol in Moscow’s Red Square. In a June 13 ruling, Moscow’s Taganka district court ordered Krisevich to be held in pretrial detention for up to two months over his protest — which used a modified handgun that could only fire blanks. Krisevich was detained on June 11 on Moscow’s Red Square and charged with hooliganism after he fired two blanks into the air while shouting: “There will be shots before the Kremlin’s curtain.” He then held the gun to his head and fired another blank.

RFE/RL: The parents of a former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Russia for allegedly assaulting two police officers say they hope to see their son released soon. Joey and Paula Reed, the parents of Trevor Reed, made the comments after Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed readiness to discuss a possible prisoner exchange when he meets on June 16 with U.S. President Joe Biden. The couple told CNN in an interview broadcast on June 14 that they hope the upcoming Biden-Putin summit in Geneva will lead to their son’s release.

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