Weekly Update week-ending 21 February 2020

Read our summary of the week’s news: Week-ending 21 February 2020

Listen to our latest podcast [in Russian]; our guest this week is Yury Dzhibladze, director of the Moscow-based Centre for Development of Democracy and Human Rights: Simon & Sergei: Human rights in Russia week-ending 21 February 2020
– You can also find these podcasts on iTunes and Spotify

“Lawyers for the defendants in the Network case have already declared their intention to appeal the sentence. Predictions are a thankless task, but it is clear that in the given instance a great deal depends on whether or not the public is able to present a convincing demand for a fair trial.”– Ivan Pavlov on the Network case. Translated by Marian Schwartz 

“Russia’s unjust courts, alongside the Federal Security Service (FSB) both fabricated the whole thing.”– Boris Altshuler on the Network case. Translated by James Lofthouse.

“The charges, and subsequently the verdict, were built on confessions the court should have rejected, not least because they were obtained by torture.”   
– Aleksandr Cherkasov, chair of the board of Memorial Human Rights Centre, considers the verdicts in the Network case. Translated by Simon Cosgrove

“We saw the head of the Council on Human Rights tell Putin directly that people were afraid to investigate torture, because the one doing the torturing is the FSB.”– Lev Ponomarev, head of the human rights group For Human Rights, on the alleged use of torture in the Network case. Translated by Mark Nuckols.  

“There is sheer madness in Meshchansky district court right now. Judge Izotova doesn’t even try to pretend that the defendant or counsel has any right to an adversarial trial. Attorneys don’t even have time to finish a phrase before Izotova denies their requests and demands without any consideration. “- Mikhail Zelenskiy on the trial of Andrei Barshai. Translated by Mark Nuckols. “Calling judicial activity a conveyor belt where case after case is considered and the majority end with a guilty verdict, Genri Reznik emphasized that it is in jury trials where the presumption of innocence really works, “when unproven guilt is equivalent to proven innocence.”  – Genri Reznik argues for the extension of the use of jury trials in Russia. Translated by Anna Bowles 

“Even when employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are held accountable for their abuse of authority, it all takes place within closed proceedings, and punishments for such violations are negligible” – Valery Borshchev on the manner in which police officers are held to account. Translated by Alice Lee.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses are continuing to face harassment. Prison wardens in Orenburg beat five Jehovah’s Witnesses inmates. At the same time, in Birobidzhan eight new criminal cases were launched against suspected members of the local religious community. And in Chita, a believer who says he was tortured has been released.”  – OVD-Info reports on the continuing persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. Translated by Judith Fagelson

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