Digest No. 10 (40)
Agora Human Rights Association
(November – December 2011)
In today’s Issue: International News / National News / Publications / Cases and Court Hearings / Top 10 Media Reports
On 22-23 November Irina Khrunova, Agora lawyer and legal analyst, presented a report at a UN-sponsored international conference on drugs and crime. The UN organizing body expressed its gratitude for the valuable input in the implementation of the project designed to broaden access to prophylactic programmes and improve care for HIV-related infections among drug users and in prisons.
On 10-17 December 2011 Dmitry Kolbasin, chief editor of the Open Information News Agency and head of Agora’s information department, was a member of a delegation of Russian judges, journalists and human rights defenders visiting New York and Washington to discuss the issues of transparency and monitoring of the courts. (Read more in Russian)
On 9 November and 7 December, Ramil Akhmetgailev, a lawyer and member of Agora’s legal team, ran a webinar on “Participation of Journalists in the Election Process” and “Computer Security”, organized by the Alliance of Independent Regional Publishers, an association that brings together 51 publishers from all over Russia.
On 24 December in Izhevsk Dmitry Kolbasin ran a training workshop on “Public Interest as the Basis for Civil Society” for 27 representatives of NGOs in Udmurtiya. (Read more in Russian)
On 11 December in Moscow Pavel Chikov ran a seminar on public relations for 43 lawyers and NGO activists at the request of the Russian Human Rights Research Centre.
On 18-19 November in Moscow Pavel Chikov and Dmitry Kolbasin ran hour-long discussions with Russian human rights defenders on litigation and public relations work, at the request of the programme ‘I have the right’ (‘Ya vprave’).
Agora lawyers and advocates working with Agora – Ramil Akhmetgaliev, Svetlana Sidorkina and Dmitry Dinze – provided legal support for participants in the rallies held in Moscow and St. Petersburg on 5-7, 10 and 24 December. Agora’s regional partners provided similar support in Kazan, Cheboksary and Chita on 10 and 24 December.
A handbook entitled Human Rights Organizations: Methods of Work, edited and co-authored by Pavel Chikov, has been published by the programme ‘Ya vprave’. (Read more in Russian. Text of the Handbook.)
In December Agora Human Rights Association presented a non-governmental report Cyber-Attacks as an Instrument of Political Struggle’. (Text of the Report.)
Agora lawyer Irina Khrunova authored a report on violations in Russia of the rights of HIV positive people in 2010-2011, analyzing statistics gathered by human rights defenders from the national data base and describing the most frequent violations of patients’ rights. (Text of the Report.)
Pavel Chikov and Dmitry Kolbasin jointly wrote a review of judgments by the European Court of Human Rights in cases against Russia, entitled '16 Million for a Mess’, published in Novaya gazeta.
Pavel Chikov wrote an article for the journal Slon, ‘Golos as a hostage of Russian-US Diplomacy’ and a column entitled ‘Judicially Optimistic’.
Cases and Court Hearings
Defence of NGOs, Journalists and Civic Activists
St. Petersburg city court quashed an order issued by Dzerzhinsky district court for the arrest of Natalya Sokol, an activist with the Voina art group who is 8 months pregnant. (Read more in Russian.)
The Supreme Court of Altai acquitted Sergei Mikhailov, publisher of the newspaper Listok, who had been charged with inciting hatred through criticizing the governor and government, slander and insulting a representative of government. (Read more in Russian.)
Angarsk city court found all 20 defendants guilty in relation to the high profile case of the attack on an ecological camp in July 2007, during which antifascist activist Ilya Borodaenko was killed. Four of those convicted were sentenced to terms in prison – from 8 years in a general regime penal colony to 8 years 10 months in a strict regime penal colony. The other 16 were given suspended sentences. (Read more in Russian.)
The St. Petersburg division of the Investigative Committee of Russia has closed the investigation into 24-year-old anti-fascist, Aleksandr Tsvetkov, who had been charged with blowing up a railway inspection car on the section of track between Bronevaya and Ligovo on the grounds he was not involved in the crime. (Read more in Russian)
Violations by the authorities and compensation
In November Galina Kosobokova, the mother of Sergei Monin, killed in a temporary detention cell under the control of the North-West Transport Police Department, was awarded RR500,000 in compensation for moral harm as a result of the death of her son through the fault of the police. (Read more in Russian)
A classroom teacher in Kazan has been convicted of beating her students. A magistrate’s court found the teacher Rezeda Shigapova guilty of hitting her pupils and calling them ‘Downs’ [a reference to Down’s syndrome- trans], ‘idiots’ and ‘fools’. A lawyer from the Kazan Human Rights Centre represented the victims in the case. (Read more in Russian)
In Tatarstan 536 high school employees have been disciplined for collecting money and other violations of the law. An investigation by prosecutors was initiated following an appeal by human rights defenders to the prosecutor’s office regarding parents’ complaints about the collection of money in schools. (Read more in Russian)
A former police academy student has paid a singer RR95,000 in compensation for beating him. A magistrate’s court closed the criminal investigation into the beating of Aleksei Kiselev after the sides reached an out of court settlement. The victim in the case was represented by Kazan Human Rights Centre. (Read more in Russian)
The daughter of a man who died in a police station has been awarded RR50,000. The Russian Ministry of Finance implemented the court decision and paid the compensation to Geliusya Sharapova whose father died in a cell for those detained on administrative charges in Alkeevsk district police station in Tatarstan. (Read more in Russian)
A court ruled that a perinatal clinic pay more than RR600,000 to the mother of a child who suffered disabilities as a result of doctors’ errors. The court ruled that the 22-year-old mother be paid compensation for moral harm, for the costs of treatment and for the purchase of medicine for her son. She was represented in court by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. (Read more in Russian)
Human rights defenders secured a court decision releasing a 30-year-old woman from a psychiatric hospital. Now the activists intend to bring an application to the European Court of Human Rights in relation to the unjustified holding of the patient in a closed institution for a prolonged period of time. (Read more in Russian)
The Supreme Court of Tatarstan has ruled in favour of an appeal by a mother of six children who had demanded that officials give her a right to housing. The interests of the applicant were represented by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. (Read more in Russian)
The Supreme Court of Komi has ruled that local penal colony No. 25 violated the law when it failed to provide an HIV positive inmate with the necessary antiretroviral treatment. Under the court’s ruling the penal colony is obliged in the course of one month to take action to “ensure the provision of medical support in a timely manner and the supply of the requisite drugs”. (Read more in Russian)
Top 10 Media Reports
1. Moskovskie novosti. 23.12. Those Arrested at December Rallies Apply to Strasbourg.
2. Novye izvestiya. 23.12. Protest with Conveniences.
3. Vedomosti. 22.12. Linguist Finds No slander or Insult in What Gelman Wrote About Yakemenko.
4. BBC Russian Service. 21.12. Kaluga Court Finds Picture with Micky Mouse Extremist.
5. Kommersant. 20.12. Doctors Call for Distinction Between ‘Narcotics’ and ‘Psychotics’.
6. The New Times. 12.12. Instructions for Relatives of People Arrested.
7. Echo of Moscow Radio Station. 8.12. Victim of Major Evsiukov Denied Compensation.
8. Dozh TV Station. 3.12. Golos to Sue NTV.
9. Fifth Channel. 8.11. Kazan Teacher Sentenced for Insulting and Beating Pupils.
10. Gagarin Park. 03.11. The Smell of Prison is the Worst.