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Agora Digest: May 2012

The New Generation

Digest No.5 (43) AGORA Association (May 2012)

International level / Federal level / Publications / Development of regional organisations 

Cases. Courts. Victories. / The Dalny Police Station / Top 10 Press materials

International level
On 24-25 May, Agora Association Chairman Pavel Chikov and lawyer and legal analyst Ramil Akhmetgaliev addressed an international conference in Moscow entitled "Strategic business conduct: defending the interests of society" organised by the American Bar Association.

Federal level
On 4 May, Dmitry Kolbasin the Head of Agora's Public Relations Department and Chief Editor of the Open News Agency gave a lecture entitled "Increased interest in directed agendas in the Russian media" to over 20 leaders and activists from non-governmental organisations as a part of a seminar organised by the "Open Society Institute" entitled "Advocacy and professional communication for human rights organisations".

On 5 May, Damir Gainutdinov the Association's legal analyst and Candidate of Legal Sciences held a seminar dedicated to the protection and defence of civil activists on the internet for 15 members of "the School for Bloggers" in Kirov.

Pavel Chikov wrote a piece for Forbes magazine entitled "Rashid Nurgaliev's legacy", covering the eight years of Nurgaliev's leadership at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Pavel Chikov prepared materials for Slon.Ru entitled "Unprecedented even for the Basmanny Court" on the decision taken by Olga Solopova the chair of  Basmanny Court, Moscow, to dismantle the protest camp at Chistiye Prudi.

Damir Gainutdinov and Pavel Chikov published a piece in Gazeta.Ru entitled "Freedom of conscience versus the freedom of expression", covering the criminal prosecution of activists for criticising the Russian Orthodox Church.

Pavel Chikov prepared materials for Forbes magazine entitled "The 'Organisation of Mass Disorder' is becoming an all-purpose accusation".

Pavel Chikov wrote a piece on the new Minister of the Interior for Slon.Ru entitled "Kolokoltsev instead of Nurgaliev: the Ministry of the Interior as a body for political stability".

Development of regional organisations
In Kazan on 17 May, Pavel Chikov and Igor Sholokhov the chair of the Kazan Human Rights Centre held a meeting on the problem of police torture with Pavel Nikolaev the Head of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia on Tatarstan. Read more in Russian.

Aleksei Glukhov the Head of the Shield & Sword Human Rights Organisation prepared expert reports on the draft laws put forward by the Ministry of the Interior of Chuvashia (on the re-use of second hand transport vehicles and on the procedure for re-locating arrested vehicles). Glukhov was invited to speak on the second of these draft laws at the relevant committee in the State Council of Chuvashia. As a result, the position held by human rights activists was reflected in an amendment to the draft law. Read more in Russian.

On 16 May, the head of Human Rights Organisations Shield & Sword Aleksei Glukhov gave a lecture entitled "The creation of public response as an effective way of influencing the actions of the police" to members of the Central Office of the Ministry of the Interior of Chuvashia. These human rights lectures are being held on a regular basis within the framework of an official order given by the Minister of Internal Affairs of Chuvashia. Read more in Russian.

On 18 May, Igor Sholokhov took part in an extraordinary session of the Public Committee of the Directorate of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service for Tatarstan, specifically dedicated to the prevention of morphine based drug addiction in the region. Read more in Russian.

Cases. Courts. Victories
Defending Non-Governmental Organisations, Journalists, Bloggers and Civic Activists (Moscow, Karelia, Chelyabinsk and Voronezh Regions)
The Investigative Committee has refused to bring a case on extremism for the publication of a newspaper. The journalists and distributors of the student newspaper "Perekhod" in Voronezh will not be criminally indicted for inciting hatred or enmity and the creation of an extremist organisation for the materials published in the paper. Read more in Russian.

Sergei Lezhnikov a Prosecutor from Chelyabinsk made an official apology on behalf of the state to blogger Andrei Ermolenko for an unsound criminal indictment for his whistle blowing texts on law enforcement officers and administration officials entitled "No to political impotence" and "We declare war on you!". Read more in Russian.

Independent psychiatrists from Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan found Karelian blogger Maksim Efimov to be in sound mental health and were highly critical of the decision to confine him to a psychiatric hospital. Previously, the Petrozavodsk City Court granted the investigation's request to confine Maksim Efimov, the author of the article "Karelia is tired of priests" and chair of the Karelian Youth Human Rights Group, to an in-patient's ward for a judicial psychological and psychiatric examination. Read more in Russia.

After scandals in the media, blogosphere and social networks Gazprombank withdrew its lawsuits against journalists and activists and blogger Svetlana Robenkova who was the first person to report a road traffic accident involving the car of one of the bank's top managers. Read more in Russian.

A court acquitted a witness of a protest against abuse of power by police in Kazan. The magistrate could find no evidence that the 22 year old woman had committed an unlawful act. The woman was defended by a lawyer from the Kazan Human Rights Centre. Read more in Russian.

State abuse of power (Ulyanovsk, Penza, Tyumen, Zaibaikalsky and Altai Regions)
The Investigative Committee of Russia for Ulyanovsk Region has brought charges against Valery Sas, a former judge at the Shchelkovsky City Court, Moscow Region. He is accused of drink driving, which led to the deaths of two people (Article 264, Section 6, of the Russian Criminal Code). Read more in Russian.

A trial has been restarted in Penza against 4 policemen for raping a detainee with a truncheon and condom. The trial that has been ongoing at the Leninsky Regional Court for over a year pertaining to officers from Special Investigations Unit No. 2 of the Region's Internal Affairs Directorate, who are charged with three incidents of torturing detainees, has been re-started due to the judge being promoted. Read more in Russian.

On 17 May, the Zaibaikalsky Regional Court affirmed a conviction against six former policemen who had earlier been found guilty of torturing detainees, including torture of a sexual nature. All the defendants had partially admitted their guilt. Five of them were sentenced to substantial prison terms ranging from 3 to 6 years in accordance with the relevant penalty. Read more in Russian.

In the Altai Region two members of the armed forces were convicted of assaulting and beating a new recruit. Private Nikolai Morozov received numerous blows and fell from the 4th floor of a barracks building. Read more in Russian.

A criminal case concerning mass beatings carried out by Omon riot police against the inhabitants of Zavodoukovsk has been remanded for further investigation by the Investigative Committee of Tyumen Region. Legal analysts from the Agora Association had been declaring the need for such a decision since December 2011. Read more in Russian.

The Dalny Police Station
The Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for Tatarstan has reported the initiation and resumption of 48 criminal cases of torture by the police in the Republic after the events that took place at the Dalny Police Station. Over 50 officers will be tried in these cases. It has been decided that the incidents at the Dalny Police Station itself will be merged into one criminal case with the period of the investigation being extended to the middle of August.

Compensation (Chuvashia, Tatarstan)
On 15 May, the Moskovsky Regional Court in Cheboksar ruled that 100,000 roubles be paid by the Russian Ministry of Finance to Vasily Yakimov in compensation for moral damages for being held for 273 days in a remand prison. The case ended with an acquittal. Read more in Russian

The sister of a private soldier who died in Kazan has won 50,000 roubles in court. The Supreme Court of Tatarstan upheld the ruling of the court of primary jurisdiction. The interests of the claimant were represented by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. Read more in Russian

A psychiatric hospital in Kazan is to pay 15,000 roubles to a former patient. The hospital was obliged to pay compensation for unsatisfactory confinement conditions. Read more in Russian.

The son of a detainee who died in a police station in Tatarstan has won 65,000 roubles compensation in court. The court ruled that the compensation be paid by the Russian Ministry of Finances. The interests of the claimant were represented by human rights defenders. Read more in Russian.

Doctors (Tatarstan)
The Tatarstan Ministry of Health has acknowledged mistakes made by surgeons that led to the death of a 48-year-old man. The Deputy Chief Doctor, the head of the Surgery Department, and surgeons at the Bugulminskaya Central Regional Hospital have all been disciplined. Read more in Russian.

Children (Tatarstan)
A Kazan school teacher was sentenced to 2 years for assault and battery. The court pronounced a guilty verdict against Faina Gabdullina, a primary school teacher at Gymnasium No. 155. The interests of the victim were represented by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. Read more in Russian

In Tatarstan the mother of six girls has finally been given an apartment after a period of 12 years. Officials from the Naberezhny Chelny Executive Committee carried out the woman's demands without waiting to hear the outcome of the judicial proceedings. The woman was helped by human rights defenders. Read more in Russian.

A criminal case was brought with regards the death of an 11-year-old girl in a Kazan summer camp. According to the investigation, an unidentified person was in breach of their instructions regarding their duties and the camp's own rules and regulations. The interests of the victim are being represented by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. Read more in Russian.

TOP 10 Press materials
1. Dozhd Television Channel. 30.05, Even more people arrested for disorder offences at Bolotnaya Square
2. Vedomosti. 30.05. Stay at home.
3. Moscow News. 29.05. An accidental death of a prisoner in the Ministry of the Interior's System
4. Noviye Izvestiya. 28.05. Kommersant failed to keep a secret.
5. Kommersant. 28.05. Tatarstan human rights workers approve anti-torture investigation.
6. BBC Russian Service. 23.05. Opposition protestors are in no rush to return to "Occupy Abai"
7. RSN 22.05. Samara resident who died after police custody could have been suffocated.
8. Kommersant. 22.05. Police are told not to hide their badges in their pockets.
9. Moscow News. 22.05. Blogger is accused of inciting hatred against senior executives.
10. NTV. 13.05. Blogger who wrote about priests is sent to psychiatric hospital.

© The AGORA International human rights Association, May 2012 
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