Rights in Russia week-ending 10 January 2020

Russia: Escalating Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses Arrests, Prison, Harassment for Peaceful Religious Practice (Moscow) Law enforcement authorities across Russia have dramatically escalated the nationwide persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the past 12 months, Human Rights Watch said today. One year after President Vladimir Putin said that the crackdown against them should be “looked into,” the numbers of house raids and people under criminal investigation have more than doubled, and 32 Jehovah’s Witnesses worshipers are behind bars for peacefully practicing their faith. Human Rights Watch, 9 January 2020

Russian Orthodox Leader Rails Against ‘Foreign’ Domestic Violence LawRussian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has accused lawmakers who seek to re-criminalize domestic abuse of “borrowing” the draft law, as well as the concept of domestic violence, from abroad. Russia scrapped criminal punishments for first-time domestic abuse offenses in 2017.  The Moscow Times, 7 January 2020

Moscow House Arrest Of American Investor Calvey Extended Into Mid-February
A Russian court has extended the house arrest of U.S. investor Michael Calvey and his partner, French national Philippe Delpal, until February 13. […] The court also prolonged the house arrest of two Russian citizens […]. Calvey and several other executives and employees of the Russian-based private-equity group Baring Vostok were detained in Moscow in February last year and charged with financial fraud. […] The arrests stunned many Western investors and drew complaints from high-level Russian business leaders and government officials, who questioned the motivation of the courts and prosecutors. RFE/RL, 9 January 2020

Russian Conscript Blames Fatal Shooting Spree on Army Hazing ‘Hell’
A Russian conscript who shot dead eight fellow soldiers at his army base last year said on Thursday he had been left with no other course of action after conscripts turned his life into a living “hell.” The Moscow Times, 9 January 2019

Russian Court Rules to Demolish Controversial Landfill
A Russian court has ruled to demolish the landfill at the heart of a year-long battle over Moscow’s waste, marking a major victory for regional activists who actively opposed its construction, news outlets reported Thursday. Local authorities in northern Russia’s Arkhangelsk region sued the company constructing the landfill at the Shiyes train station in February 2019 following months of sustained protestsThe Moscow Times, 9 January 2019

Human rights center Memorial again fined $5,000 under foreign agent law
The Tverskoy District Court of Moscow on Friday fined Memorial human rights center 300,000 rubles (about $5,000) for violation of the foreign agent law, RAPSI was told in the court’s press service. The NGO was penalized for the absence of a “foreign agent” marking on social media platforms. Problems with the Russian communications agency Roskomnadzor have been caused by a publication on the VKontakte page of the organization. In October, the court fined Memorial 300,000 rubles for failure to label its publications on the Facebook page of the NGO’s representative office in the Republic of Ingushetia. RAPSI, 10 January 2020

Uzbek citizen gets 5.5 years in Russian prison for online justification of terrorism The Second West District Military Court has sentenced Uzbek citizen Shermukhammad Shamsiddinov to 5.5 years in prison for public justification of terrorism on the Internet, the website of Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office informs. The court has also banned him from creating and running websites for 3 years. RAPSI, 10 January 2020

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