Igor Averkiev: How compulsory self-isolation is being challenged in Russia

27 April 2020

Igor Averkiev, executive director, expert of the Perm Civic Chamber

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group [original source: Internet-journal “7×7”

In many Russian regions, people are trying to lodge complaints in court against the authorities’ unlawful introduction of compulsory self-isolation—in reality, it is already a spontaneous civic movement.  These “people’s plaintiffs” do not dispute the necessity of introducing restrictive measures during an epidemic; rather, they are disputing the introduction of an untruthful, unconstitutional policy of compulsory self-isolation.  Recently this movement came to Perm: the lawyer Evgenyi Batishchev has filed such a lawsuit against the governor of Perm.

The group “Stop Corona Overreach– Perm”

A resident of Perm has filed a lawsuit against the governor of the Perm Region.  He demands that the decree on compulsory self-isolation be declared unlawful.

The 36-year-old Perm resident Evgeny Batishchev filed an administrative lawsuit against the acting Perm Region governor Dmitry Makhonin in Perm Regional Court.  He demands that the decree be rescinded under which the region’s policy of “increased readiness” was introduced.

The media report that he believes the policy to be unlawful since it contradicts the constitution of the Russian Federation. Batishchev’s goal is to get an answer from the authorities on what exactly а “self-isolation” policy is, and why citizens need to observe it if there is no adequate legal basis for it. The Perm resident sent inquiries to the Justice Ministry, the Prosecutor’s Office, and directly to the governor.  The first two wrote dismissive replies saying that everything was legal, but without any detailed clarification.  No answer was received from the regional head.

59.RU quotes Evgeny Batishchev as saying, “The Prosecutor’s Office cited the fact that the governor’s decree was issued based on the order of the chief medical officer. There it was said that, in order to combat the spread of infection, he prescribed the introduction of certain requirements —mandatory quarantine for those arriving from high-risk countries and preparedness of hospitals for treating the infected. The order covers those who are in the high-risk group.  That these people are forbidden to move around is completely correct and legal, since it is based on the order of the medical officer.  But the medical officer did not say one word about regular citizens.  Everyone forgets about this. I do not know what exactly self-isolation rules are.  There are no such regulations found in any laws.  If it is compulsory isolation, then call it that.  If it is simply a recommendation, then OK.  I would like the introduction of the current measures to be based on the law and not on some rules that were hurriedly scribbled down.  I see many grounds for declaring the decree unlawful.” 

Legal proceedings have begun for Batishchev’s lawsuit. The court inquiry, however, has been scheduled for the beginning of June. By that time, the policy being disputed will most likely have been rescinded.  At Perm Regional Court, they note that the Court is obligated to hold an inquiry on administrative cases no later than two months after a lawsuit is filed. 

The policy of compulsory self-isolation is being disputed in the following places in Russia:

— St. Petersburg: a class action lawsuit by 21 residents;
— Moscow: a lawsuit was filed by the lawyer Mansur Gilmanov and the activist Dmitry Kisiyev;
— Tatarstan: a lawsuit was filed by the civic activist Rushan Kabirov and the lawyer Andrei Petrushkin;
— Komi: a lawsuit in Syktykvar was filed by Viktor Vorobyov;
— Irkutsk Region: a lawsuit was filed by a resident, Valery Teterin (it will come to court on April 28);
— Ivanovo Region: the lawyer Oskar Cherdzhiev intends to file a lawsuit;
— Bryansk Region: local residents Yaroslav Bocharov and Voldemar Zhilinsky filed a lawsuit;
— Perm Region: the lawyer Evgeny Batishchev.

Translated by John Tokolish

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