30 April 2021
Today our colleague Ivan Pavlov, the head of Team 29, was detained. A search is being conducted in the organisation’s offices. The reason is a criminal prosecution concerning disclosure of material relating to a preliminary investigation.
Team 29 has been working on freedom of information cases for many years and we have no doubt that Ivan Pavlov perfectly well understands what information can be disclosed and what cannot. The searches conducted of Ivan Pavlov’s apartment and Team 29’s offices the day after the court hearing in the case of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF) leave no room for doubt. The political motivation for these cases is evident. Formally, the reason for the searches and interrogations was another politically-motivated prosecution – that of former Kommersant journalist Ivan Safronov who stands accused of treason. But whether it was the ACF or Safronov that was the real cause does not greatly matter. In any case, this represents a new round of repressive actions against civil society.
When the ACF organised protests, they were banned.
When the ACF collected donations, it was accused of fraud.
Now the ACF is accused of extremism, it is not even allowed to defend itself properly.
In recent months we have seen repeatedly that the authorities are hindering the work of lawyers in various ways. They are not allowed to visit those detained at police stations, they are pushed out of apartments where searches are being carried out, they are sometimes even assaulted, detained and jailed as the organisers of protests. And the materials of the case against the ACF have been classified so the lawyers have had to go to great lengths to get access to them.
It’s a one-sided game and it’s clearly not being played fairly.
OVD-Info expresses its solidarity with Ivan Pavlov and demands that the law enforcement authorities drop the charges against him. We also express our support for all those persecuted for exercising their rights, in particular those defended by our colleagues from Team 29.
Translated by Simon Cosgrove