RFE/RL: Another Jehovah’s Witness has been handed a lengthy prison term in Siberia amid an ongoing crackdown on the religious group, which has been banned in Russia since 2017. The press service of the regional prosecutor’s office in the Krasnoyarsk region said on June 17 that the Zheleznodorozhny district court had found a 48-year-old local resident guilty of organizing the activities of a banned extremist group and sentenced him to six years in prison.
RFE/RL: A Moscow court has sentenced a member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot to 15 days in jail on the charge of disobeying police orders. The court issued the ruling against Veronika Nikulshina on June 17 after she refused to go to a police station for questioning. Police told the court they intended to question Nikulshina about whether she was planning any activities to disrupt Euro 2020 soccer events in St. Petersburg.
Meduza: On June 17, investigators in St. Petersburg detained local legislator Maxim Reznik on drug charges. According to the investigation, the opposition deputy allegedly purchased several grams of marijuana for personal use. If found guilty of drug possession, he will face up to three years in prison. Investigators pressed charges against Reznik in connection with a criminal case against a relative of his, who was allegedly pressured to testify against him. What’s more, investigators arrested Reznik the day after the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly announced the date for September’s elections to the city parliament. Reznik announced plans to run for re-election back in May.
RFE/RL: Jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, responding to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s accusations against him following a June 16 summit with U.S. President Joe Biden, has called the Russian leader “a liar who can’t stop lying.” Putin told reporters after the summit in Geneva that Navalny had deliberately ignored requirements to report to the Russian judiciary in August 2020 when he was airlifted to Germany in a coma after he was poisoned with a Soviet-style nerve agent in Siberia. Navalny wrote on Instagram on June 17 that Putin must have “a psychiatric pathology caused by being in power for a long time, having limitless amounts of money.”
Human Rights Watch: At his post-summit news conference on Wednesday President Putin defended Russia’s repressive laws that punish dissent. With most eyes on Geneva, the Duma made one of those laws a lot harsher. It amended the criminal code to open the floodgates to criminal prosecutions of activists allegedly linked to blacklisted “undesirable” foreign organizations.
RFE/RL: The Russian parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma, has approved in the third and final reading a bill that would require foreign information technology (IT) companies to set up local units or face penalties including a possible ban, as Moscow continues to tighten its control over the flow of information on the Internet. The bill, approved by lawmakers on June 17, would require foreign IT companies with a daily audience of at least 500,000 people to set up full-fledged branches in Russia that would be “responsible for violations of Russian legislation.”
RFE/RL: A Russian court has ordered an LGBT activist to receive outpatient treatment from a psychiatric clinic over a social-media post he made regarding an explosion at the headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in the northern city of Arkhangelsk. The Second Western District Military Court in St. Petersburg also fined the activist, Aleksandr Merkulov, 200,000 rubles (about $2,770) on June 17.
RFE/RL: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has welcomed a decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to accept, on a priority basis, the legal case that the Moscow bureau of the broadcaster brought to it last month against the Russian government. RFE/RL said in a statement on June 17 that the decision, taken by the Strasbourg-based court a day earlier, has now also been formally communicated to the government of Russia. The ECHR’s decision to grant “priority” status — which it reserves for the most important, serious, and urgent cases — within a month of its filing means that the case will likely proceed more quickly than ordinary cases.
Front Line Defenders: On 10 June 2021, unknown men together with police officers raided a women’s shelter for gender-based violence survivors in Makhachkala in order to forcibly return Сhechen woman Khalimat Taramova, who had been staying at the shelter, to her family in the Chechen Republic. Women human rights defenders Svetlana Anokhina and Maysarat Kilyaskhanova, who were present at the time of the raid, were reportedly beaten and detained together with 3 other women. The women were subsequently released and Khalimat Taramova was forcibly returned to her family in the Chechen Republic. […] Maysarat Kilyaskhanova is a woman human rights defender, volunteer of the initiative group “Marem”, illustrator and cartoonist.
Front Line Defenders: On 10 June 2021, unknown men together with police officers raided a women’s shelter for gender-based violence survivors in Makhachkala in order to forcibly return Сhechen woman Khalimat Taramova, who had been staying at the shelter, to her family in the Chechen Republic. Women human rights defenders Svetlana Anokhina and Maysarat Kilyaskhanova, who were present at the time of the raid, were reportedly beaten and detained together with 3 other women. The women were subsequently released and Khalimat Taramova was forcibly returned to her family in the Chechen Republic. […] Svetlana Anokhina is a prominent woman human rights defender, journalist, and outspoken advocate for women’s rights from Dagestan. She is the editor-in-chief of Daptar, the only online media outlet in the North Caucasus that focuses on women’s rights. In 2020, along with other female activists, she founded the volunteer initiative group “Marem” that aims to help women from Dagestan and other North Caucasus republics who face the threat of domestic violence or death. “Marem” helps them to organize evacuations, find temporary accommodation, and provides legal and psychological support to victims.
CPJ: Russian authorities should drop all court proceedings against journalist Yury Dud and ensure that he can work freely and safely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On June 10, the Zyuzinsky District Court in Moscow accepted a lawsuit filed against Dud, who runs the YouTube channel vDud, for allegedly publishing propaganda about drugs in his video interviews, according to news reports and the court’s website. By accepting the suit, authorities formally opened court proceedings against Dud for allegedly committing a misdemeanor under Russia’s administrative code, according to those reports.