Read our selection of the past week’s news: Rights in Russia week-ending 17 April 2020
Listen to our latest Russian-language podcast; our guest this week is Sergei Poduzov, co-chair of the human rights group Chelovek i Zakon, based in Yoshkar-Ola and Kaliningrad, an organisation that for many years has specialised in promoting human rights in places of detention and in law enforcement: Simon & Sergei: Human rights in Russia – with Sergei Poduzov– You can find these podcasts on Podcasts.com, SoundCloud, iTunes and Spotify.
“The courts have reduced the sentence given to Nikita Chirtsov, a defendant in the Moscow Case, but the remand centre in Kursk is refusing to release him until they receive a written decree from the court by post.”– OVD-Info in its Weekly Bulletin provides an update on the Moscow case. Translated by Judith Fagelson
“Memorial Human Rights Centre has recognised 24 Jehovah’s Witnesses as political prisoners, of whom 15 have been remanded in custody and nine are under house arrest. We have found a further 106 Jehovah’s Witnesses to be victims of politically-motivated criminal prosecutions […].”– Memorial Human Rights Centre on the increasing prosecutions of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. Republished by kind permission.
“Human rights defenders, including representatives of the Moscow Helsinki Group, demanded that the federal authorities investigate the circumstances of the riot in Prison Colony No. 15, punish those responsible and prevent such things from happening in the future.” – Moscow Helsinki Group reports on a riot in Prison Colony No. 15 in Irkutsk region. Translated by Mercedes Malcomson and James Lofthouse
“Russian lawyers and human rights activists who advise victims of domestic violence and represent them in court have appealed to the Russian government to take urgent measures to protect against domestic violence, which has increased during the period of self-isolation.” – Moscow Helsinki Group reports on a call to the government by activists to combat domestic abuse. Translated by Anna Bowles“
“Today, you and I can choose how and with whom we save ourselves from a deadly disease transmitted via a virus – of course, within the framework of the recommendations and rules established by the authorities and medical experts. However, nearly 100,000 people do not have this choice.”– Valery Borshchev and other leading human rights defenders and public figures call for an amnesty for prisoners during the pandemic. Translated by Marian Schwartz
“If the amnesty intended for the 75th anniversary of Victory (the deputies S. Ivanov and S. Shargunov have presented proposals) is implemented earlier and on a larger scale, it will be the first case in the era of late Putin that the state met the wishes of human rights defenders.” – Writer Dmitry Bykov joins calls for an amnesty for prisoners, at least for those in high-risk age groups, during the Coronavirus. Translated by John Tokolish
“We also demand that a thorough and independent investigation be conducted into the attack on Elena Milashina in Grozny and call for an objective assessment of the actions of the Chechen leadership with regard to the journalists of Novaya gazeta.” – Moscow PEN Centre addis its voice to that of the Union of Journalists and Media Workers, calling for the attack on Elena Milashina and statements by Ramzan Kadyrov to be investigated. Translated by Simon Cosgrove
“This is a very important question – who are the beneficiaries of the violations of our digital rights? When various restrictive laws are introduced in Russia, all too often behind them can be seen the interests of various state corporations that make money from these technological decisions.”-In an interview with Novaya gazeta, Artem Kozliuk, head of the NGO Roskomsvoboda, looks at the measures introduced by the Russian government on digital freedom. Translated by Suzanne Eade Roberts, Nathalie Wilson, Simon Cosgrove and Nina dePalma
“We ask you, acting within the bounds of your authority, to review the information about this case objectively, to intervene to ensure that legality is observed in that a decision to remand a suspect in custody falls into the category of exceptional measures.” – Human rights defenders have called for the release of Aleksandr Shestun from detention and moved to house arrest. Translated by Mary McAuley
“The pandemic has placed us in an absolutely new situation. Neither society nor the state knows yet what to do. The Russian authorities have behaved in their usual way and, just in case, they have let rip the usual repressive machinery.” – Team 29’s Natasha Korchenkova looks at how the Russian authorities are reacting to the Coronavirus pandemic. Translated by Simon Cosgrove