Week-ending 31 July 2020
On Friday, 31 July, Meduza reported that investigators launched a criminal case against Moscow City Duma deputy Yulia Galyamina for “repeated violations of the rules on conducting public events” under Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code, often referred to as “Dadin’s article” after activist Ildar Dadin, the first person to be convicted under this article following its introduction in 2014. According to Meduza, the Investigative Committee noted that on 15 July Galiamina published slogans online, calling for participation in rallies that did not have official permission against recent changes to the Russian constitution, and said that she has faced multiple administrative charges for “violating the rules on conducting public events” in the past 180 days.
Amnesty International pointed out that the charges against Yulia Galiamina over her involvement in peaceful protests could result in her being jailed and banned from running for office for up to five years. Oleg Kozlovsky, Amnesty International’s Russia Researcher, said in response to the charges against Yulia Galiamina: “The charges against Yulia Galiamina are a travesty and amount to using the justice system to criminalize peaceful protests. They have charged her under a draconian law which expressly contradicts Russia’s international human rights obligations and are seeking to bar her from participating in elections. This persecution of a well-known opposition politician simply for exercising her human rights is appalling and reprehensible. By silencing a major dissenting voice and threatening to ban her political activities, the Russian authorities have revealed their true motivations for cracking down on protests. In May 2020, the Russian parliament unexpectedly and quietly increased the penalties under Article 212.1 for repeatedly violating the public gatherings law. This is a tool for crushing opposition and criticism, and Yulia Galiamina could face years in prison if convicted. We demand that the Russian authorities repeal Article 212.1 and stop using repressive laws to stifle dissent and intimidate political opponents. All charges against Yulia Galiamina must be immediately dropped. Everyone prosecuted solely for participating in public gatherings should have access to justice and effective remedies including adequate compensation. The authorities must allow everyone to freely exercise their human rights including the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”