Podcast No. 90. Simon & Sergei – with Sergei Babinets

This week our guest on the podcast is Sergei Babinets. Sergei Babinets is a lawyer and head of the Orenburg branch of the Committee against Torture, whose head office is in Nizhny Novgorod.

The issues discussed in the podcast include: How someone who had intended to work in the prosecutor’s office went to work for a human rights organisation; how the work of the Committee Against Torture varies in terms of city and region (Moscow, Grozny, Orenburg); work as a journalist (with Ekho Moskvy in Orenburg); the risks that face human rights defenders in Russia today; risks of working for the Committee Against Torture in different cities and regions; recent revelations of torture in Saratov region penal colonies; the state as a positive and reliable partner in the work against torture; the future of the human rights movement in Russia.

This podcast is in Russian. You can listen to it in full here:

You can also listen to the podcast on Podcasts.comSoundCloud,  Spotify,  iTunes and Anchor

The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.

Given the length of the podcast, we have also divided it into two parts that you can listen to separately.

Part One: How Sergei Babinets came to work for a human rights organisation; the different attitudes to torture in various Russian regions; Sergei Babinet’s work as a journalist:

Part Two: The risks faced by human rights defenders; recent revelations about torture in prisons in Saratov region; state bodies as partners in combating torture; the future of human rights in Russia:

Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: He dreamed since childhood of protecting people from criminals, following in the footsteps of his soldier-grandfather and his father, who worked in the police force for 25 years. After receiving a law degree, he decided to work in the prosecutor’s office, which oversees all law enforcement bodies. Four years as an assistant prosecutor and attempts to join the prosecutor’s office as a full-time employee led him to realise that the prosecutor’s office didn’t really seem to want him. The search for a job where Sergei Babinets could realize his dream led him to the Committee against Torture. Many years ago, I met Sergei in Moscow. He had just started working in the Moscow office of the famous Committee against Torture and he called on us at Amnesty International. Since then, I have kept in touch with Sergei, who after Moscow worked in many cities: Nizhny Novgorod, Grozny and Orenburg. The possibilities to combat torture and protect victims of torture varies from region to region. While in the North Caucasus the office where Sergei worked was set on fire, if in Nizhny Novgorod the group’s exhibition was banned, if in Moscow ‘Basmanny Justice’ simply does not want to pay any attention to human rights activists, in Orenburg the Committee Against Torture can hold events on any topic – here there is no interest in opposing human rights defenders. Sergei Babinets successfully combines his human rights activities with his work at Ekho Moskvy radio in Orenburg: he is good at this work too, and therefore it’s very interesting to listen to him in our latest podcast.

Simon Cosgrove adds:  A summary of some of the week’s events in Russia relevant to human rights can be found on our website here.

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