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Agora Digest: January 2012

New Generation

Digest No. 11 (41)

Agora Human Rights Association

(January 2012)

In this issue: National News / Publications / Agora’s Regional Partners / Cases and Court Hearings / Top 10 Media Reports

National News
On 31 January Damir Gainutdinov, a legal expert with Agora, spoke on “A Review of Judicial and Enforcement Practice in Media Cases” at the annual assembly of the Alliance of Independent Regional Publishers in Moscow.

On 18 January Ramil Akhmetgaliev, barrister and legal analyst with Agora, conducted a webinar at the request of the Alliance of Independent Regional Publishers for 10 journalists on the issue of privacy law and personal data.

Agora published a report on the persecution of civic activists in Russia in 2011. (Text of the report)

In its traditional annual review, dedicated to the memory of the lawyer Stanislav Markelov, Agora listed the most significant victories and disappointments for human rights defenders in 2011.

Pavel Chikov, chair of Agora, published an article in entitled ‘Minus the First Decade,’ on the need for radical personnel change in all state institutions that have discredited themselves over the past ten years.

Pavel Chikov and Damir Gainutdinov jointly published a report on Internet freedom, analyzing the persecution of Internet users in 2011 in Russia, in Novaya gazeta, ‘Threats to Internet Freedom in Russia in 2011: An Independent Survey’.

Agora developed recommendations for protestors on how to behave during ‘preventive discussions’ at the Centres for Combating Extremism, and how to conduct agitation.

Agora’s Regional Partners
In January Kazan Human Rights Centre successfully attracted public attention to the issue of the unlawful collection of funds by schools, especially on the issue of school textbooks. The Public Prosecutor confirmed the information of Kazan Human Rights Centre about the illegality of school regulations that obliged parents themselves to buy textbooks for their children. Also on the initiative of the human rights defenders, the Public Prosecutor’s Office conducted a review and ruled that insufficient school textbooks had been provided to schools. As a result, 160 million roubles were additionally allotted for the purchase of school textbooks in Tatarstan. At the same time, the ministry of education stated that it was unlawful for schools to begin a new educational programme without textbooks.

On 25 January Aleksei Glukhov started a new human rights lecture course for staff of the central office of the ministry of internal affairs in Chuvashia. The topic of the first lecture was ‘New Challenges for the Police Resulting from Changes in Financing the Ministry of Internal Affairs.’ (Read more in Russian.)

Cases and Court Hearings
Defending NGOs, journalists and civic activists (St. Petersburg, Chelyabinsk region)
St. Petersburg’s Dzerzhinsky district court rejected a petition by the investigation to place Natalya Sokol in pre-trial detention. Natalya Sokol, an activist with the Voina art group charged with insulting police officers and using force against them, had given birth to a daughter just before the start of judicial proceedings against her. (Read more in Russian).

In January Chelyabinsk region Investigative Committee dropped charges against the blogger Andrei Ermolenko, suspected of ‘inciting hatred and degrading the dignity of a group of persons belonging to a distinct social group’, for lack of evidence after experts found that civil servants and deputies of legislative assemblies did not constitute social groups. (Read more in Russian).

In St. Petersburg criminal charges were dropped against activists of the Voina art group Leonid Nikolaev and Oleg Vorotnikov for lack of evidence for the second time in recent months. Nikolaev and Vorotnikov had been charged with hooliganism motivated by hatred against a particular social group. (Read more in Russian).

Violations by Government Bodies (Chelyabinsk region, Tatarstan)
The Supreme Court of Russia dismissed appeals against the sentences passed on 18 former prison officers in Chelyabinsk region in relation to the deaths of four prisoners and the beating of eight others at Kopeisk penal colony. The Supreme Court slightly reduced the sentenced against some of those convicted. (Read more in Russian).

In Tatarstan hospital personnel were found to have been responsible for the birth of a boy with brain damage. The insurance company discovered serious violations in the actions of medical personnel of the maternity ward at Chistopolsky district hospital that assisted with the birth. The victim’s interests were represented by Kazan Human Rights Centre. (Read more in Russian).

Damages (Tatarstan, Chuvashia)
The mother of a child with disabilities has won more than 600,000 roubles from a Perinatal Centre. The Supreme Court of Tatarstan dismissed an appeal against a judgment by the town court of Naberezhnye Chelny and ruled that the medical institution must pay damages in relation to the birth of a boy with serious disabilities. The interests of the boy’s mother were represented by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. (Read more in Russian).

Cheboksar’s Moscow district court ruled that the ministry of finance of Russia must pay 50,000 roubles to a resident of Chuvashia in damages for three year’s unlawful imprisonment. (Read more in Russian).

Top 10 Media Reports
1. Dozhd TV Channel. 31.01. Centre E Goes Visiting Protest Organizers.

2. Radio Liberty. 27.01. In Tiumen Looking for OMON Riot Police who Beat Dozens…

3. Moskovsky komsomolets. 26.01. Taking a Civic Stand Becomes More Dangerous.

4. Moskovskie novosti. 26.01. Human Rights Defenders Counted Number of Civic Activists Intimidated by Law Enforcement.

5. Novye izvestiya. 25.01. A School Tax.

6. Russian News Agency. 21.01. Rights Defender Detained in Nizhny Novgorod.

7. TV-Centre TV Channel. 20.01. Teaching Force.

8. Echo of Moscow. 20.01. Today Moscow’s Savelovskaya Court will Continue Hearing Suit Brought by Head of Youth Agency Vasily Yakemenko.

9. Nezavisimaya gazeta. 18.01. Charges Dropped against Blogger from South Urals, Andrei Ermolenko.

10. Kommersant FM. 10.01. “The Evidence of the Prosecution is Very Dubious”.

Rights in Russia,
10 Feb 2012, 01:34