News of the Day: 27 September 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Monday reported 22,236 new coronavirus cases and 779 deaths. 

RFE/RL: A bill allowing Russia’s regional leaders to serve more than two consecutive terms in office has been proposed by a group of lawmakers in the State Duma, parliament’s lower chamber.

Human Rights in Ukraine: At least ten Crimean Tatar political prisoners, including human rights defender Emir-Usein Kuku, have been placed on so-called prophylactic registers, as inclined to ‘extremism’; to ‘attacks on prison staff’ and even to ‘escape attempts’.  Although Kuku was told that the prison administration had no complaints about him personally, and was just obeying an order, such moves are very likely to be used as a pretext for imposing even more repressive measures against the political prisoners.  The men’s lawyers believe that such registers are pressure on the Crimean Tatars who refuse to  admit to the preposterous charges used against them and to collaborate with the prison administration.

RFE/RL: A migrant rights defender who has been held at an immigration detention center at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport since September 25 says she might be jailed and even killed while in custody if she is deported back to her native Uzbekistan. Valentina Chupik, who runs the migrant center Sunrise of the World in Moscow, told Current Time on September 27 that officers from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) informed her that she has been deprived of her refugee status since September 17 and banned from entering Russia for 30 years.

OMCT: The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has been informed about the arbitrary detention, illegal removal of refugee status, and risk of imminent deportation to Uzbekistan of Valentina Chupik, migrants’ rights defender and the head of the human rights organisation ‘Tong Jahoni’, a center providing free legal assistance to migrant individuals in Russia.

RFE/RL: Security officials say they have apprehended five “members of a neo-Nazi group” suspected of plotting a series of terrorist acts against law enforcement in Russia’s mostly Muslim-populated Bashkortostan region. The Federal Security Service (FSB) said on September 27 that the five suspects were residents of Bashkortostan’s capital, Ufa, and were allegedly preparing terrorist acts using explosive materials and handmade explosive devices.

OMCT: Increased police brutality has been a defining feature of the Covid-19 pandemic throughout the world, from Colombia to the Philippines, from Mexico and Belarus to Russia to Algeria or Myanmar. To enforce curfews or disperse protests, police and sometimes the army have used violent methods and dangerous weapons. This has at times reached the threshold of torture, as this briefing shows.

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