News of the Day: 23 November 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Tuesday confirmed 33,996 Covid-19 infections and 1,243 deaths.

The Moscow Times: A Siberian region of Russia has become the first in the country to impose self-isolation rules for residents who haven’t yet been vaccinated against Covid-19.

RFE/RL: The Moscow City Court has given prosecutors more time to address defense questions at a pretrial hearing into a move to shut down the Memorial Human Rights Center, one of Russia’s oldest human rights organizations. According to Memorial, the court opened the preliminary hearing on November 23 but quickly adjourned the proceedings until November 29 after prosecutors were unable to answer all of the questions put to them by a defense team led by lawyer Ilya Novikov.

The Moscow Times: A Russian Jehovah’s witness has been acquitted of extremism for the first time since the country banned the religious group in 2017, the organization said Monday. A court in the Far East capital of Vladivostok issued the not-guilty verdict less than a month after Russia’s Supreme Court ruled that joint prayers among members of banned religious organizations “do not contain elements of extremism.”

Amnesty International: On 17 November a court upheld on appeal the pretrial detention of activist Lilia Chanysheva, and she was transferred out of her hometown of Ufa on 21 November. She will be held in Moscow, almost 1,500 km away. Lilia Chanysheva has been detained since 9 November on politically motivated charges of “establishing or leading an extremist association”, for her role as former regional coordinator of “Navalny’s headquarters”. She faces up to 10 years in prison. Lilia Chanysheva has committed no crime and must be released immediately.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Viktoria Ivleva, a tireless defender of Russia’s Ukrainian political prisoners, has been fined a huge 150 thousand rouble fine after being held in detention for two days.  She and civic activist Yury Samodurov were among 12 people detained on 20 November while holding legal single-person pickets on Pushkin Square in support of the International Memorial Society and Memorial Human Rights Centre which the regime is seeking to dissolve.  Both were held in custody for two days until the court hearing on 22 November.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Dzhemil Gafarov suffers from a condition that should have prevented Russia from ever imprisoning him.  Instead the 59-year-old Crimean Tatar remains imprisoned in the appalling conditions of a Russian SIZO [remand prison] with no medical examinations or treatment. The procedure required for Gafarov to retain his disability status is also not being carried out, and the SIZO medical unit claim that they have no documents confirming this status.  All of this is very likely deliberate. Put most brutally, the lack of documentation will make it easier to fake the cause if Gafarov dies. 

RFE/RL: A court in Moscow has extended the pretrial detention of the chief executive of a leading Russian cybersecurity company who was arrested in September on charges of state treason. The Lefortovo district court on November 23 ruled that Ilya Sachkov must stay in pretrial detention until at least February 28, 2022. Sachkov is the founder of Group-IB, a company known for its work in tracking down hackers and fighting theft and cyberfraud.

Meduza: In November, Russia’s prosecutor general filed a lawsuit to liquidate Memorial International — Russia’s oldest and most authoritative human rights organization. Memorial was accused of violating Russia’s legislation on “foreign agents” by failing to include the required labels on its materials. Almost all of Memorial’s alleged violations were reported to Roskomnadzor, Russia’s federal censorship agency, by the FSB’s Ingushetia office. Meduza explains why that particular office has played such an important role in this story, and whether its complaints against Memorial are at all justified.

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