Weekly Update week-ending 3 April 2020

Read our selection of the past week’s news: Rights in Russia week-ending 3 April 2020

Listen to our latest podcast [in Russian]; our guest this week is Lev Ponomarev, head of For Human Rights, one of Russia’s leading human rights groups: Simon & Sergei: Human rights in Russia – with Lev Ponomarev
– You can also find these podcasts on iTunes and Spotify

‘The Moscow Helsinki Group calls on Russian authorities to take urgent measures to counteract the high probability of an outbreak of COVID-19 in detention facilities.’ 
– Dmitry Makarov, co-chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group, voices the organisation’s call for steps to reduce crowding in places of detention in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic. Translated by Mark Nuckols.

‘During these challenging days and weeks, when whole countries are stuck in lockdown, it’s worth pointing out those who are now most vulnerable.  That’s prisoners in remand centres and prison colonies.’– Team 29 in its weekly report highlights the dangers of facing Covid-19 in overcrowded places of detention. Translated by Lindsay Munford 

‘Anastasia Vasilieva, the leader of a doctors’ union, has been called in for interrogation by the Investigative Committee for supposedly spreading disinformation about coronavirus.’ – Among the issues reported this week by OVD-Info are prosecutions of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the problems facing a  group of doctors who ran into trouble with the law after raising funds to provide PPE equipment for hospitals. Translated by Judith Fagelson. 

‘All the young men will go to the recruiting office where, if there is infection, they can catch the virus, and if 150,000 people are sent to the army, the remaining 900,000 will return home.’
– Sergei Krivenko considers the problems of conscription during the pandemic. Translated by Anna Bowles ‘It is an odd fact that we are referred to as the electorate when it comes to elections, but “participants in the ballot” in the case of this vote.’ – Arkady Liubarev analyses the planned vote on constitutional amendments. Translated by Nina dePalma and Joanne Reynolds

‘Anita Soboleva points out that because of the risks related to the procedure of revising the Constitution the authorities decided to introduce the amendments into the third Chapter because it is easier to change.’– Anita Soboleva critically examines the proposed constitutional amendments. Translated by Simon Cosgrove, Marian Schwartz, Nathalie Wilson and Nicky Brown. 

‘We have no doubt whatsoever that these changes violate the notional integrity and consistency of the Constitution […].’ – From a petition to the Council of Europe calling on that body to provide a legal assessment of the proposed constitutional amendments as a matter of urgency. Translated by Suzanne Eade Roberts and Marian Schwartz. 

‘Maybe the prosecutor’s office is playing some kind of ping-pong game, tossing our statements back and forth between the police and the Investigative Committee, so neither can investigate this crime?’
– Journalist Elena Milashina describes her efforts to find out how far the official investigation into the February attack on her and lawyer Marina Dubrovina in Chechnya has progressed. Translated by Suzanne Eade Roberts, Alice Lee and Nina dePalma.  

‘Yukos has not existed for two decades, but the Yukos affair remains very much alive.’ 
– Vera Vasilieva considers the latest ruling in the Yukos case at The Hague and related matters. Translated by  Nathalie Corbett and Mercedes Malcomson

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