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Agora Digest: September 2012

The New Generation 

Digest No. 9 (45) AGORA
Association (September 2012)


International level / Federal level / Publications / Development of regional organisations  / 
Cases. Courts. Victories / Top 10 press materials

International level 
On 6-7 September at the 2nd Freedom Online Conference in Africa, at the invitation of the Kenyan government, legal analyst for the Agora Association Damir Gainutdinov presented a report on Russia's experience in protecting users of the World Wide Web. 

On 26-27 September in Kiev the Association's lawyer Ilnur Sharapov addressed the conference "HIV and the Law: Regional Consultations on Legal Aid and Rights Monitoring for People Living with HIV". Taking part in the meeting were organisations from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia and Sweden who are involved in protecting the rights of people living with HIV.

On 30 September in Moscow Damir Gainutdinov spoke on the subject “Recriminalising defamation, the new law on protecting children from harmful information and other topics related to freedom of expression in Russia” at the conference "Freedom of Expression and Association: From Theory to Practice." Taking part in the conference were 63 practising lawyers and attorneys from Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Belarus. The conference was organised by the Human Rights House Network (Norway). 

Federal level 
On 22 September Damir Gainutdinov delivered a report “Attack on freedom of expression. The tightening of liability for defamation and restriction of Internet freedom” at the Conference of Human Rights Organisations in Moscow. 

From 22 to 26 September in Nizhny Novgorod (22 September), Moscow (23 September), St. Petersburg (24-25 September) and Perm (26 September) Chairman of the Agora Association, Candidate of Legal Science and Associate Professor Pavel Chikov and Lawyer and Legal Analyst at the Association Ramil Akhmetgaliev held five seminars on “Regulating the activities of NGOs acting as foreign agents. Advice and recommendations to NGOs on protecting their rights and legal interests”. A total of over 400 leaders of non-commercial organisations and civil activists attended the meetings with the lawyers. 

Pavel Chikov prepared an analytical text for Slon.Ru entitled “Engineer of State Reform,” on reforming criminal investigations. 

Pavel Chikov also prepared materials for Forbes.Ru in his capacity as one of their regular columnists: 
Torture at Kazan police station: why did the deal with the judiciary fall through?,
A single investigative committee: the case for
Ejection of USAID: to be continued

Development of regional organisations 
Minister loses job. In September the Kazan Human Rights Centre school costs hotline was wrapped up. Human rights activists received 137 complaints from parents of schoolchildren in Tatarstan. All of them were sent to the public prosecutor’s office for review. In reply to media discussions organised by the human rights advocates the Minister of Education and Science of Tatarstan accused the human rights activists of lying, but failed to present any hard facts in support of his claims. Ten days later he was dismissed from his post. Read more in Russian

In September the Shchit i Mech (Shield and Sword) human rights organisation took part in the public examination of the draft law "On the Human Rights Commissioner for Chuvashia." The human rights activists’ recommendations were taken on board. In particular, the minimum age for candidates was lowered from 35 to 30 years. Also on the recommendation of the human rights proponents the set of people and organisations entitled to put forward candidates for the post of human rights commissioner was widened. Read more in Russian

On 17 September the Shchit i Mech human rights organisation issued a statement demanding the withdrawal of the regional law on demonstrations and to allow the public to express their opinions and put forward proposals. Public response played its part in bringing about the withdrawal of this draft law from the special committee review. Read more in Russian.

On 19 September the head of Shchit i Mech Aleksey Glukhov gave two lectures to Chuvashia police officers. He told the employees of the Department of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs for the city of Cheboksary about the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officers and spoke to representatives from the Central Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Chuvashia on the topic “The issuing of an apology by a police officer as a form of compensation for non-material damage.” Read more in Russian.

On 19 September on the initiative of the executive office of the President of Tatarstan on anti-corruption policy the head of the Kazan Human Rights Centre Igor Sholokhov spoke to an audience of assistant heads of municipal administrations of the republic about the work of the human rights centre in fighting corruption. 

Cases. Courts. Victories 
Protection of NGOs, journalists, bloggers and social activists (Moscow, Chuvashia) 
Orthodox activist convicted of assaulting Pussy Riot supporter. Aleksandr Orlov was found guilty of assault and sentenced to three months correctional labour. Read more in Russian

A police officer who smashed up a journalist’s camera on 6 May has received a severe reprimand. Disciplinary action was taken against a female police officer who broke the camera lens of arrested journalist Jenny Kurpen while she was being held in a police van following the March of Millions in May. Read more in Russian

The Moscow City Court has ruled that the Russian Finance Ministry should pay 50,000 roubles to the anti-fascist Aleksey Gaskarov, who was acquitted of attacking the Khimki administration. Read more in Russian

In September, with the help of Chuvashia human rights activists, two organisers of the White Stream protest rally in Cheboksary, accused of public order offences in the organisation or holding of a public event, were acquitted in court. Both cases were dismissed for lack of supporting evidence. Read more in Russian

Human rights proponent Aleksei Glukhov successfully defended opposition activist Denis Olenov in the Cheboksary Magistrates’ Court. Olenov was accused of obstructing a police officer in drawing up a protocol and of attempting to escape (article 19.3 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation). Read more in Russian

State abuse of power (Ulyanovsk Region, Chuvashia, Tatarstan)
In Tatarstan the criminal investigation has been completed into the use of violence against people detained at Dalny police station. The victims and their representatives and the head of the Kazan Human Rights Centre have begun studying the materials of the criminal case, which comes to over 60 volumes. Read more in Russian

In Kazan a highway patrol inspector has been sentenced to four years for beating up a motorist and giving false information. Read more in Russian

The Ulyanovsk Region Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation has completed its investigation into the criminal case of ex-judge of the Shchelkovsky City Court (Moscow Region) Valery Sas. He is accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol, resulting in the deaths of two people. Read more in Russian

Chuvashia human rights activists have received a reply from the Russian Interior Ministry in connnection with the emergency situation regarding individuals who were taken to Police Station No. 5 and the Ryabinka Regional Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the city of Cheboksary: disciplinary charges have been brought against 8 employees, including 4 senior officers. Read more in Russian

An officer with the Federal Penitentiary Service of Tatarstan has apologised to human rights activists for disclosing confidential medical information. A preliminary investigation is being carried out into the lieutenant of the internal service. Read more in Russian

The deputy head of a Kazan penal colongy has been reprimanded for putting a prisoner into the psychiatric ward. At the initiative of human rights activists the head of the hospital for prisoners in prison colony IK-2 has been punished for improper performance of official duties. Read more in Russian

Compensation (Transbaikal Region, Tatarstan)
In Kazan the father of an enlisted army private who killed himself has sued his military unit for 250,000 roubles. The court granted Nikolai Berbin’s motion in full. His son shot himself with an automatic rifle after being beaten up by a warrant officer. Read more in Russian

In the Transbaikal Region Krasnokamensk resident Natalya Ushakova was awarded 60,000 roubles from the Russian Finance Ministry in compensation for moral damages as a result of an illegal search of her flat. The interests of Ushakova were represented by the Transbaikal Human Rights Centre. Read more in Russian

In Kazan a woman who lived in a building that had been declared unsafe has been moved to a three-room flat. Human rights activists also helped her to claim compensation from the executive committee for the failure of officials to take action. Read more in Russian

TOP 10 Press materials 
1. Moskovskiye Novosti. 26.09. Petanque as a path to democracy
2. Novye Izvestiya. 25.09. Police refuse to investigate case of torn Pussy Riot t-shirt 
3. Izvestiya. 25.09. Interior Ministry reforms converted into a roadmap
4. Dozhd Television Channel. 24.09. Interior Ministry will not punish attack on Pussy Riot supporters 
5. Kommersant. 24.09. Committing treason has become easier
6. Dozhd Television Channel. 21.09. How United Russia may have helped USAID
7. Russkiy Reporter. 20.09. They packed their bags and left
8. Channel Five. 12.09. How free is education? The General Prosecutor looks into complaints about shortages of textbooks across the country
9. Kommersant. 10.09. March of Millions heads to Strasbourg
10. Echo of Moscow. 03.09. Razvorot (U-Turn) talk show on police problems

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