News of the Day: 31 August 2021

Amnesty International: In a judgment issued today, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that Russian authorities have failed to properly investigate the murder of Natalia Estemirova, a prominent human rights defender who was abducted and killed in Chechnya in 2009.

HRW: Today, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on the case of Natalia Estemirova, star Chechen human rights defender murdered in July 2009. It found that Russia had violated their obligations to protect her right to life by “fail[ing] to investigate effectively [her] abduction and killing.”

RFE/RL: The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that while it had insufficient evidence to conclude there was Russian state involvement in the 2009 abduction and murder of human rights activist Natalya Estemirova, Russian authorities failed to properly investigate the killing.

The Moscow Times: Europe’s top human rights court said it has found no evidence of Russian state involvement in the 2009 murder of human rights activist Natalia Estemirova but ruled that authorities failed to properly investigate the case.

HRW: The Russian LGBT Network has reported that in May 2021, Chechen-speaking men abducted Ibragim Selimkhanov in Moscow and forcibly returned him to Chechnya’s capital Grozny, where authorities interrogated him about gay people in the region. This is the latest chapter in Chechnya’s relentless assault on sexual and gender minorities.

The Guardian: The BBC’s Moscow correspondent has used her final dispatch before her expulsion from Russia by the Kremlin to warn that the country was “moving in reverse” when it came to free speech and press freedoms.

RFE/RL: A noted young mathematician from Russia’s Tatarstan who was sentenced to six years in prison on hooliganism charges that he and his supporters have rejected, says he would not be surprised if he is turned down for early release on parole for resisting attempts by prison officials to “correct” his pleas of innocence.

RFE/RL: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says the Russian state is “tightening its grip” on the Internet, “drastically” restricting freedom of the press and of expression ahead of next month’s parliamentary elections.

RSF: A few weeks before parliamentary elections in Russia on 19 September, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is publishing a country report showing how massively the state leadership under President Vladimir Putin has restricted freedom of the press and freedom of expression in recent months.

The Moscow Times: A Russian sushi restaurant has stood up to racist attacks by a far-right hate group after another sushi chain was forced to take down its ad featuring a black model.

The Moscow Times: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday ordered law enforcement officers and army staff receive $200, as he seeks support for his unpopular United Russia party ahead of parliamentary elections next month.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Four men have gone on trial in Russia on charges linked with a terrorist attack that never happened in occupied Crimea. Virtually nothing is known about the men and the charges, however certain details, especially the alleged link with “radical Ukrainian formations” fighting in Donbas, arouse scepticism.  The only terrorist attack in Crimea since Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea was a mass shooting in Kerch which Russia stopped calling ‘terrorist’ as soon as it became clear that no link with Ukraine could be established. There have, however, been a huge number of ‘trials’ for terrorism, most without any recognizable crime, and the others where it is claimed, without any convincing evidence, that there were plans which Russia’s FSB thwarted.

The Guardian: Alone among Soviet dissidents of the Leonid Brezhnev years, Sergei Kovalev, who has died aged 91, went on to play a major role in the eras of Mikhail GorbachevBoris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, only to find that his outspoken support for human rights put him once again in opposition to the Russian government.

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