Site Archive‎ > ‎Monthly Digest‎ > ‎

Agora Digest: February - April 2012

The New Generation

Digest No. 2-3-4 (42)

Agora Human Rights Association

(February to April 2012)

International News   National News   Publications   Regional organisations.   Cases. Courts. Victories.   Top 10 publications in the mass media

International News
On 18 April, the Chair of the Agora Association, Candidate of Legal Sciences and Associate Professor Pavel Chikov read a lecture on "The persecution of creativity in Russia - A legal analysis" in Berlin in the German office of Amnesty International with a description of the cases against Pussy Riot, the Voina Art Group and the artists Aleksandr Savko and Artyom Loskutov. The lecture was organised by Amnesty and the Freie Universität Berlin.

On 21-28 April, Pavel Chikov and a group of Russian human rights workers took part in an educational trip to Washington (USA) on the theme of protecting Prisoners' rights. During the visit the participants visited a pre-trial detention centre in Fairfax County, Virginia State, a District Court in Columbia, the US Ministry of Justice and the State Department.

On 26 April, Pavel Chikov read a report entitled "The Influence of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on Russian criminal justice" at the Kennan Institute in Washington.

National News
On the initiative of Russian human rights organisations working on the problem of police torture, the Investigative Committee created a special sub-department for the investigation of unlawful acts by the employees of law enforcement agencies. More details in Russian

In one month the federal police violence "hot line" 8-800-777-01-01, which was opened by the Association had 109 people from 33 regions of Russia lodge complaints against the police. More details in Russian

During the protests in Russia in February and March, the Association set up and supports the Federal "Hot line's" round the clock work for the legal protection of protestors. The lawyers advise the victims on the unlawful actions of the law enforcement agencies. For more details in Russian follow link

After the death of 52-year-old Sergei Nazarov in the Dalny police department, other victims of police brutality have approached the AGORA Association and the Kazan Human Rights Centre. Education, human rights workers and the reports of police torture in the mass media have assisted in criminal cases being brought in a whole series of incidents. Currently human rights workers are representing the interests of 5 victims at Dalny (arrested by the former head of the Dalny Police Department and his subordinates). A thorough investigation by the Central Office of the Investigative Committee of Russia of complaints that had been "rejected" led to the initiation of criminal cases for assault and battery by the police at Dalny and other police departments. Human rights workers are also working on these cases. The negative reaction of the mass media and society at the goings on in the Ministry of the Interior sealed the fate of Asgat Safarov, head of Tatarstan's Ministry of the Interior for a period of 14 years, when the President of Russia signed a decree dismissing him.

On 22 April, Damir Gainutdinov the Association's legal analyst and Candidate of Legal Sciences held a seminar entitled "The legal aspects of human rights. Freedom of assembly. Freedom of the Internet" for 23 students and volunteers from non-profit organisations as a part of the "Voskresnaya School of Human Rights" project.

On 29 March Damir Gainutdinov spke at a round table in Moscow on "Contemporary media technology in human rights activities" organised by the American Association of Lawyers.

On 15 March in Nizhny Novgorod Pavel Chikov and lawyer Dmitry Dinze spoke at a press conference given by the Inter-regional Committee against Torture and Agora Association on "Persecution of civil activists. The role played by the ‘E’ Centre and the Prosecutor's Office". More details in Russian. Video.

On 29 February, in Tyumen, lawyer and Agora Association legal analyst Ramil Akhmetgaliev spoke at a press conference entitled "Law enforcement brutality in Tyumen", called to draw attention to the persecution of civil activists, journalists and representatives of LGBT organisations in the region.

In April, the Association presented the report The Russian Internet - at the Service of the State. Text of the report.

The Association's legal analysts Damir Gainutdinov, Ramil Akhmetgaliev and Pavel Chikov drafted materials for entitled Medvedev's results. Freedom of Association and Freedom of Expression.

Pavel Chikov published a text in Forbes magazine entitled: "How to cure the Ministry of the Interior? A plan for the next few years.

Dmitry Kolbasin and Pavel Chikov wrote materials for entitled "Not a day goes by without torture" dealing with evidence of police violence, which were established after the death of Sergey Nazarov in the Dalny police station in Kazan.

Pavel Chikov drafted an overview of "A long history of enmity between the Kazan police and human rights workers" for

Pavel Chikov published an article in Forbes magazine entitled: "How to fight police torture. Five emergency measures".

Dmitry Kolbasin published an analytical review in Slon.Ru entitled “A Мartyrology 2009–2012".

Pavel Chikov wrote an article for Slon.Ru entitled "Police torture in Kazan: pretending this was the first time" dedicated to special measures and strategic changes needed to reduce the incidence of torture in the Russian police.

Pavel Chikov published an article in Forbes magazine entitled "The Financial Intelligence Services to Keep Non-Profits under Supervision", which dealt with evidence that Rosfinmonitoring will monitor every single operation carried out by non-profits and their employees.

Pavel Chikov wrote an article for Slon.Ru entitled "A criminal chronicle of police murders and torture" on the reluctance of the authorities to introduce systemic changes during the reform of the Russian Ministry of the Interior.

Pavel Chikov published an article in Forbes Magazine entitled "Censorship and obscenity on the Internet" about the fact that the authorities and domain name registration organisations are attempting to introduce censorship on the Internet under the pretext of fighting anti-social behaviour.

Pavel Chikov wrote a piece for Forbes entitled "Why Mikhail Sukhodolsky was sacked" covering the resignation of the Head of the Petersburg Police.

In February, Agora drafted detailed recommendations for legal entities in Russia entitled: "If you are investigated for helping protestors". Read the text of the recommendations here

In February, Agora presented a non-governmental report devoted to the lack of freedom on the Internet in Russia. 500 incidences of the limitation of Internet freedom were established in 2011. Text of the report. English version. List of violations.

Regional organisations
In April, according to the results of a campaign entitled "Stop extortion in schools and nurseries" carried out by the Baikal Human Rights Centre, 7 notifications were issued by the region's prosecutor's office against the head of Chita's Education Department for violations of the law on free education.

On 12-13 April, the Chuvash Human Rights Organisation Shield & Sword and the non-profit Individual & the Law (Mari El) held training sessions on "Human Rights in the Ministry of the Interior" for future police officers from the Training Centre of the Ministry of the Interior of Chuvashia.

In April, the head of the Human Rights Organisations Shield & Sword Aleksey Glukhov read a lecture entitled "The responsibility of the state for the actions/inaction of the police" to members of the Central Office of the Ministry of the Interior of Chuvashia. In March Glukhov led a course entitled "Observing the rights of persons who have had administrative proceedings brought against them". In February, Glukhov read a lecture on the freedom of assembly and the right to peaceful protest.

The Ministry of the Interior of Tatarstan and the Kazan Human Rights Centre agreed to collaborate together. On 23 March, Asgat Safarov the Minister of the Interior for Tatarstan met with the head of the Kazan Human Rights Centre Igor Sholokhov and discussed collaboration issues, notably the problems of police torture. More details in Russian

On 30 March the Chairman of the Kazan Human Rights Centre Igor Sholokhov and the Chairman of Agora Pavel Chikov discussed the possibility of working with the Prosecutor of Tatarstan Kafil Amirov. More details in Russian.

In February 188 complaints against extortion at medical institutions were sent to the Prosecutor of Tatarstan. This is the precise number of people living in the Republic who rang Kazan Human Rights Centre's "hot line" over a period of ten days with complaints about being charged for services in medical institutions. More details in Russian. On 22 February, Igor Sholokhov spoke at the Kazan Kremlin about the "hot line" results at a working meeting organised by the office of the President of Tatarstan at which this problem was discussed.

Cases. Courts. Victories
Defending Non-governmental Organisations, journalists, bloggers and civil activists (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tatarstan, Tyumen and Smolensk Regions)

Tverskoi district court in Moscow ordered the Russian Ministry of Finances to pay 50 thousand roubles to anti-fascist campaigner Aleksei Gaskarov who was acquitted of an attack against the Administration of Khimki. More details in Russian.

The Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Region Arbitration Court overturned a ruling of the Federal Tax Service on the recovery of around 4.5 million roubles of profit tax from the St. Petersburg-based Strategy Humanitarian and Political Science Centre. More details in Russian

The Magistrate for Court District No.9, of the Sovietsky District of Kazan ruled that punishment should be waived for local blogger Yury Egorov. who had previously been provisionally sentenced to 6 months under a criminal case for libel against Rashit Vagizov the former Human Rights Ombudsman in Tatarstan and to have his computer destroyed as "an instrument of crime". More details in Russian.

In February, the Smolensk Oblast Court examined the cassation appeal of Taisiya Osipova an activist with The Other Russia, who had earlier been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. The regional court dismissed the decision of the court of first instance and remanded the case for a retrial with a different bench of judges. More details in Russian.

In Tyumen a criminal case was terminated against Vladimir Efimov the Chief Editor of the Vechernyaya Tyumen newspaper, who was charged with inciting hatred and enmity against a social group - namely "police officers" using the mass media and his own official position. More details in Russian.

Defending protests (Moscow, Voronezh Region, Tatarstan, Chuvashia)
At Agora’s initiative, in Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan lawyers Ramil Akhmetgaliev and Svetlana Loktionova won the release of correspondents of the Grazhdansky Golos newspaper who had been detained during the Russian Presidential elections. More details in Russian

The Magistrate for Court District No.370 for Moscow’s Tverskoi District dismissed an administrative case against the journalist Pavel Nikulin for the lack of an illegal offence. Nikulin had been detained during a protest at Lubyanka Square on 5 March of this year. More details in Russian.

The Leninsky district court in Voronezh dismissed a case against Nina Belyaeva, the 22 year old organiser of a protest "for honest elections", for the lack of an illegal offence. She was charged with calling for people to vote against Putin on the Vkontakte social networking site. More details in Russian.

The Magistrate for Court District No.6 of the Moskovsky Region of Cheboksar acquitted The Other Russia activist Dmitry Karuev and Solidarity Movement representative Ilya Alekseev, deeming the charges of the dissemination of propaganda brought against them unproven. The Magistrate for Court District No.7 of Cheboksar dismissed administrative proceedings against activist Denis Olenov in connection with protests "for honest elections" for the absence of any illegal offence in his actions. The interests of the activists were represented by the organisation Shield & Sword.

Administrative cases against an eye witness at a meeting "for honest elections" in Kazan were dismissed. A Kazan district court sustained the appeal brought by a 23-year-old man against the decision of a magistrate who found him guilty under two articles of the Administrative Code. The interests of the victim were represented by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. More details in Russian.

State brutality (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sverdlovsk Region, Zabaikalsky Region, Tatarstan)
As a result of the work carried out by lawyers working on the Federal police violence "hot line" 8-800-777-01-01 opened by the Agora in Sverdlovsk region, two criminal cases were brought on charges of police torture and the Alapaevskaya City Prosecutor's Office deemed a third incident to constitute gross philandering on the part of an investigator at the Investigative Committee.

In February, in response to Agora, the Moscow Prosecutor's Office admitted that police officers had breached the law by detaining activists at protests on 5 December on Chistoprudny Boulevard and on 6 December at Triumfalnaya Square and presented a submission to the heads of the State Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior for Moscow. More details in Russian.

In February, in the Moskovsky district court of St. Petersburg a probe was opened into the merits of opening a criminal case into the death of Denis Vyrzhikovsky in police detention. In the dock were 6 police officers, including the head of the Department for Combating Crimes against Property of the Moskovsky District Police Department. More details in Russian.

According to the results of public investigations carried out by the Zabaikalsky Human Rights Centre, the Investigative Committee brought extraordinary criminal cases against 4 police officers from the Mogochinsky Region Police Department, amongst whom are the acting and former deputy head of the regional police department. They are suspected of committing 6 counts of physical battery against 7 people living in Mogochi. More details in Russian.

Compensation (Tatarstan)
The sister of a private who shot himself in Kazan won 50,000 roubles in court. The private was the victim of a warrant officer who beat him up during his national service at an ammunition factory. The interests of the claimant were represented by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. More details in Russian.

The former deputy head of a children's camp is to pay 50,000 roubles for the death of a young girl. The court ordered Gulnara Merkulova to pay compensation for the death of an 11-year-old girl staying at the Zarechye Children's Health Camp. More details in Russian.

A civic activist won 200 roubles from the Directorate of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Tatarstan in court expenses. The Supreme Court of Tatarstan dismissed the cassation appeal of the regional Directorate of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Tatarstan, which had refused to pay the amount to the activist. More details in Russian.

The mother of a former patient won 15,000 roubles in court from a psychiatric hospital in Kazan. The court ordered the Bechter Clinical Psychiatric Hospital to pay cash compensation for confinement conditions that are degrading to human dignity. More details in Russian

The Ministry of Defence paid 41,000 roubles to a private who was injured. After the intervention of human rights workers the Ministry of Defence settled with the private who suffered the injury during his national service. More details in Russian.

Medical care (Tatarstan)
A criminal case was brought regarding the death of a 59-year-old patient after an operation to have a tooth pulled. The President of Tatarstan was forced to react to the death of this man with a number of personnel decisions. An independent investigation was organised by lawyers at the Kazan Human Rights Centre. More details in Russian.

A criminal case was brought regarding the death of a 3-year-old girl after an operation. Specialists in Kazan discovered various violations in the actions carried out by medical personnel at the Republic's Children's Clinical Hospital. The interests of the victim were represented by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. More details in Russian.

A criminal case was brought regarding the death of a man in hospital in Tatarstan. According to the investigation, the 35-year-old patient died as a result of the improper performance of their professional duties by medical workers. The interests of the victim are being represented by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. More details in Russian

Education (Tatarstan)
In Tatarstan an order of the Ministry of Education that obliged the parents of school children to buy text books was amended. Kazan human rights workers succeeded in forcing the Ministry to ratify a new Provision on the procedure for providing schools with text books. More details in Russian

TOP 10 Press materials
1. Liberation (France). 24.04. Torture - a normal state of affairs in the Kazan police
2. Kommersant 10.04, General Safarov is kicked out of Kazan
3. Ogonek 02.04, The Kazan phenomenon
4. New York Times. 28.03. Brutality Jolts Russia Into Action on Police.
5. Agence France-Presse, AFP. 26.03. Deadly rape shines spolight on Russian police abuse.
6. Russkii Reporter 20.03 The Dalny Police Station
7. НTV. 17.03. Professiya - Reporter. The killing police station.
8. НTV. 17.03. Мaximum. How the champagne bottle became a symbol of police excesses.
9. РEN TV. 17.03. “The Week” with Marianna Maksimovskaya Police brutality.
10. Channel One. 16.03. Let Them Talk. Fatal champagne spray.

© Agora Human Rights Association, May 2012 ,
ICQ: 284-050-201. Skype: agora-club. Twitter: @pchikov; @dkolbasin. Facebook: Новости Ассоциации АГОРА