News of the Day: 28 May 2021

RFE/RL: A Russian court has sentenced five former police officers to several years in prison for the 2019 arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov on trumped-up drug charges. The Moscow City Court on May 28 handed down prison terms ranging between five years and 12 years after finding the men guilty of the charges following a closed-door trial. They were also ordered to pay Golunov 1 million rubles ($13,600) each in compensation. The 38-year-old Golunov, who works for the Latvia-based information outlet Meduza, was arrested in June 2019 in Moscow for allegedly attempting to sell illegal drugs.

Amnesty International: Amnesty International is gravely concerned about the criminal prosecution and conviction of Nikolay Platoshkin, an academic, popular videoblogger and a leader of “For the New Socialism” political movement. Having studied available information, Amnesty International has concluded that the case against Nikolay Platoshkin has been fabricated and that he is being prosecuted on politically motivated charges to punish him solely for exercising his rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and prevent him from participating in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The organization is further concerned that Nikolay Platoshkin’s right to a fair trial has been violated.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Zekirya Muratov was arrested two months after he refused to collaborate with an FSB officer, by providing false testimony against fellow Crimean Tatars.  The FSB man, former Ukrainian turncoat Aleksander Kompaneitsev left, telling Muratov that he would get him imprisoned “whatever”. It was a threat to be taken seriously, not least because Kompaneitsev has already played a similar role in the arrests and imprisonment of six Amnesty International prisoners of conscience, including human rights activist Emir-Usein Kuku.  63-year-old Muratov, who has already been imprisoned for almost a year, is in very bad health, and would be unlikely to survive the long sentence he is facing for his integrity.

Human Rights in Ukraine: The European Court of Human Rights has halted Russia’s planned deportation of Sokhiba Burkhanova, who has been in Russian custody since the FSB killed her refugee husband, Nabi Rakhimov in occupied Crimea on 11 May.  This is the only good news, since Russia is refusing to return Rakhimov’s body to the family, essentially confirming the suspicion that the FSB tortured him to death and then staged a ‘shootout’.  

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