News of the Day: 29 November 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Monday confirmed 33,860 Covid-19 infections and 1,209 deaths.

RFE/RL: A Russian man who disguised himself as a medical worker so he could treat his COVID-19-stricken grandmother and reveal the bleak picture of how coronavirus patients were being treated in a hospital in the Siberian city of Tomsk has fled the country fearing for his safety. Sergei Samborsky told The Insider investigative group on November 28 that he is currently in Georgia after leaving Russia.

RFE/RL: Prosecutors have asked a Moscow court to sentence an ultraconservative, coronavirus-denying Russian priest who was stripped of his religious rank to four years in prison on charges of vigilantism, violating the right to religious freedom, and encouraging suicide. Prosecutors leveled the charges at the trial of Father Sergiy (Nikolai Romanov) during a hearing on November 29 at the Izmailovo district court.

FIDH: The Observatory has been informed about the arbitrary detention and release of Mr. Edem Semedlyaev, a Crimean Tatar human rights lawyer who has been engaged in the defence of Crimean Tatar activists and other activists and journalists in Crimea prosecuted in politically motivated cases.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Dilyaver Memetov, one of the coordinators of the important civic initiative Crimean Solidarity, was jailed for 12 days on 27 November, after a Russian-controlled ‘court’ made essentially no pretence of considering the charges against him.  It seems clear that the young man’s imprisonment was intended from the moment on 26 November that a Russian-controlled police officer ran up and seized him outside a court involved in the political trial of seven Crimean Tatar civic journalists and activists.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Rustem Useinov, a 66-year-old veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement, did not see his home and garden razed to the ground by Russian occupiers on 24 November, but only because he had become dangerously unwell and been taken to hospital.  Neither the fact that the 66-year-old was suffering from pneumonia (and had, reportedly, only been discharged from hospital the previous day), nor the approaching winter prevented the occupiers from wantonly destroying the home he had built and lived in for over two decades.   Russia has demonstrated over and over again that those who oppose its invasion and annexation of Crimea can expect harassment and persecution, and the demolition of Useinov’s home was almost certainly in reprisal for his refusal to look away when other Crimean Tatars are imprisoned on fabricated charges.

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