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Setting the Scene >
Agora Monthly Digest
The New Generation
Digest No. 12-01-02 (47) AGORA Association
(December 2012, January-February 2013)
IN TODAY'S ISSUE: International level / European Court of Human Rights / Federal level / Publications / Cases. Courts. Victories / Top 10 press materials [Read more]
The New Generation
Digest No. 10-11 (46) AGORA Association (October - November 2012)
IN TODAY’S ISSUE:
International level / European Court of Human Rights / Federal Level
Publications / Development of regional organisations / Cases. Courts. Victories
Top 10 press materials
On 4-6 November, Chairman of the Agora Association and Candidate of Legal Sciences Pavel Chikov attended a conference in Stockholm entitled ‘Strengthening Human Rights Defenders in the North Caucasus’, where he gave a report on the passing of the law on ‘foreign agent’ NGOs and how to defend against groundless claims from the authorities. [Read more]
The New Generation
Digest No. 9 (45) AGORA
Association (September 2012)
IN TODAY’S ISSUE:
International level / Federal level / Publications / Development of regional organisations /
Cases. Courts. Victories / Top 10 press materials
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. [Read more]
The New Generation
Digest No. 6-7-8 (44) AGORA Association (June-July-August 2012)
IN TODAY'S ISSUE
International level / Federal level / Publications / Development of regional organisations /
Cases. Courts. Victories. / Top 10 Press materials
On 18-19 June in Dublin (Ireland), the Agora Association's Legal Analyst and Doctor of Legal Sciences Damir Gainutdinov read a report at the International Conference of the OSCE on the freedom of the internet. Read more in Russian.
On 19-30 August Dmitry Kolbasin, the Head of the Information Department at the Agora Association and the Chief Editor at the Open Inform News Agency (www.openinform.ru) was invited by the Alliance of Independent Regional Publishers (AIRP) to take part in a training session for trainers at the Institute for Advanced Journalist Training in Sweden FOJO, the University of Linnaeus (Kalmar-Stockholm).
Lawyers from the Agora Association sent protests to the European Court of Human Rights regarding the cases «Aleksey Navalny vs. Russia» (on the embezzlement of 5.4 billion roubles) and «The GOLOS Association vs. Russia» (on the prosecution for their map of electoral abuses).
On 5 June in Yekaterinburg the Association's analyst Damir Gainutdinov spoke at the International Open Summit of Regional Publishers (with over 100 participants) with a report entitled "How the mass media, and especially the internet media, can avoid falling foul of the law on extremism". The organiser of the Summit was the Alliance of Independent Regional Publishers (AIRP).
On 9-10 June in Nalchik (Kabardino-Balkaria) the Chairman of the Agora Association, Candidate of Legal Science and Associate Professor Pavel Chikov and Ramil Akhmetgaliev Lawyer and Legal Analyst at the Association lead a seminar for 25 representatives of Non-profit Organisations on the problems of safety at work for non-profit organisations.
On 14-15 June Pavel Chikov and Ramil Akhmetgaliev held a seminar on "Legal defence tactics and strategies for cases involving drugs" for the Association's regional partners and lawyers working with it.
On 16 June Ramil Akhmetgaliev held a seminar for 30 civil activists on safety when carrying out public events.
On 31 August, the head of Human Rights Organisations "Shchit i Mech" Aleksey Glukhov held a seminar as a part of a training programme entitled "Safety for Public Electoral Observers" for activists of the "In defence of Electoral Rights" GOLOS Association.
In August the hashtag #петанк [#petanque] became the most popular user topic on Twitter in Russia after the unlawful detention of the Association's lawyer Ilnura Sharapova and activist Nikolay Pomeshchenko during a game of petanque and the unfounded accusations made against them by police that they had been using drugs. As neither the Police nor an independent examination were able to reveal any traces of any narcotic substances on these young people's persons the administrative violation case against them was closed. Read more in Russian.
The Association's legal analyst Damir Gainutdinov, drafted materials for Slon.Ru on the persecution and defence of internet freedoms in Russia entitled:
Pavel Chikov and Damir Gainutdinov wrote articles about non-profit organisations as "foreign agents" for Forbes and Slon.ru entitled:
Development of regional organisations
On 1 June members of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture discussed the situation with the police with human rights defenders from Kazan. Lawyers told foreign experts on the violation of the rights of detainees and arrestees and gave them a list of torture cases perpetrated by the police in Tatarstan. Read more in Russian.
On 5 June community workers from Tatarstan handed proposals to the leadership of the State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate for the improvement of the road safety situation. The participants of a "round table", which included the Head of the State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate Rifkat Minnikhanov passed a resolution entitled: "Safety on the roads: a culture of behaviour". Read more in Russia.
On 5 July, delegates from the European Union discussed human rights with community workers from Tatarstan. At the same time the Ministry of the Interior and the Directorate for the Federal Penitentiary Service of Tatarstan refused to allow diplomats into special inspectorate facilities despite previously reached agreements. Read more in Russian.
On 12 July, the members of the Public Observation Commission for the supervision and observance of human rights in places of compulsory detention in Chuvashia Aleksey Glukhov and Viktoria Maksimova paid a visit to Penal Colony No.6. The aim of the visit was to check reports of acts of attempted mass suicide and wrist slashing by the inmates. Thanks to the high quality work carried out by human rights defenders with the media, awareness of this story was raised to a country wide level, which led to a legal resolution of the conflict. Read more in Russian.
On 8 August, the head of Human Rights Organisations "Shchit i Mech" Aleksey Glukhov read a lecture entitled "The responsibility of the police for the life and health of individuals held under the supervision of police employees" to employees of the Central Office of the Ministry of the Interior of Chuvashia. Read more in Russian.
Cases. Courts. Victories
Defending Non-Governmental Organisations, journalists, bloggers and civil activists (Moscow, Karelia, Samara Oblast and Chuvashia)
In the summer of 2012 the courts of Karelia twice ruled in favour of Maksim Efimov blogger, head of the local youth human rights group and author of the text "Karelia is tired of its priests". On 28 June, the Supreme Court of Karelia found the placing of the civil activist in a psychiatric hospital unlawful. On 1 August, the Petrozavodsk City Court rejected the investigation's second request to confine Maksim Yefimov to an in-patient's ward for a judicial psychological and psychiatric examination. Maksim Efimov's interests were represented by the Agora Association.
On 25 July, the Oktyabrsky Regional Court of Samara dismissed a claim made by the Samara Police in defence of its reputation against the press and a human rights defender regarding an entry she had made in her blog. The statement of claim made by the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior for Samara Oblast was lodged against the editorial board and publisher of the newspaper "Pulse Povolzhya" [Volga Pulse], Saira Dvortsovaya the author of the text entitled "Police detain women and the elderly at demonstration in Samara" and Lyudmilla Kuzmina the Chair of the Samara Organisation "GOLOS. In defence of Voters' Rights". Read more in Russian.
In Chuvashia, the court released internet forums from any liability regarding messages posted by their users. Owners of internet forums will not be punished for the contents of comments left by readers. This decision was pronounced by the judicial board for civil cases of the Supreme Court of Chuvashia on 18 June. Read more in Russian.
The defence for Artyom Savelov who was arrested for events that took place during the "March of the Millions" on 6 May succeeded in winning the right to receive a copy of the materials of the preliminary investigation after an application to the Basmanny Regional Court in Moscow. On the eve of the examination of the appeal the investigators of the investigative team from the Chief Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation chose to grant the lawyer's request, which had previously been refused by their colleague, who has currently been seconded from Moscow to his home region. Read more in Russian.
The Moscow City Court found the exclusion of "Legal Initiative in Russia" (an organisation that provides people with help in taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights) from the register of foreign Non-Commercial Organisations to be unlawful and remanded the case for re-trial. Read more in Russian.
In Moscow, a magistrate's court returned a case regarding the detention of activists for holding a protest at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral back to the police. The young people involved are suspected of violating the procedures for holding a public event. Read more in Russian.
On 27 July, the magistrate of Judicial Sub-District No.7 of the Leninsky Region of Cheboksar terminated administrative proceedings that had been brought against civil activist Dmitry Karuev for carrying out a solo picket due to the lack of any evidence of a legal violation. The authorities were trying to bring Karuev to justice for a protest sign saying: "Chekists are in the Kremlin - Russia is in ...", which they claimed was a criminal violation of the rules governing picketing. Read more in Russian.
In August the "Shchit i Mech" human rights organisation continued to successfully defend the right to freedom of assembly in Chuvashia. On 17 August, the Leninsky Regional Court of Cheboksar found the refusal to allow a picket at the building of the City Administration's Special Reception Centre for Administrative Detainees to be unlawful. On 31 July and 24 August, the same court found the refusals made by local state officials to hold the August "Strategy-31" Protest Meeting to be unlawful. And on 27 August the Cheboksar Administration lost another case against the organisers of protest meetings that were a part of the Russia-wide "White Stream" car rally.
State abuse of power (Moscow, Chuvashia, Tatarstan)
The Ministry of the Interior has punished members of the police who failed to display their badges at the May protest actions. The Main Directorate of the Russian Ministry of the Interior for Moscow acknowledged that police had been in breach of the law "On the Police" during the protest meetings of 6-7 May. Police employees from the Mobile Detachment from the Ministry's Special Assignment Centre were disciplined for failing to display their badges on their chests. Read more in Russian.
After a death by suicide in the "Ryabinka" Police Station in Cheboksar, human rights defenders succeeded in launching a criminal case on the grounds of negligence leading to an individual's death (part 2 article 293 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The suspect is the Senior Duty Officer at the station's operations desk. Read more in Russian.
An official inspection initiated by the humans rights defenders in Chuvashia has led to the resignation of Pavel Perov the Senior Aide of the Prosecutor for the Kalininsky Region of Cheboksar. In July he attempted to illegally to take a detainee "out for a fishing trip" and has now been released from his post and fired from the Prosecutor's Office for violating his oath as a public prosecutor and for committing actions bringing the reputation of the office of prosecutor into disrepute. Read more in Russian.
In Kazan a case of violent behaviour and the destruction of property committed by a Major in the Police has been sent to court. Procedural violations in the criminal case have been remedied, the main figure in the case is a former operative of the Central Apparatus of the Ministry of the Interior of Tatarstan. Read more in Russian.
In Tatarstan a case involving police violence with regards a 54 year old car driver has been sent to court. Police Lieutenant Alfred Salakhutdinov is also accused of making false accusations against the victim. Read more in Russian.
Compensation (Chuvashia, Tatarstan)
On 28 June, a witness at the "For honest elections" protest meeting in Tatarstan was awarded compensation by the court for illegal prosecution. The court ordered the Russian Ministry of Finances to pay 3.5 thousand roubles to the citizen of Kazan involved in the incident. His interests were represented by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. Read more in Russian.
On 5 July, the Moskovsky Regional Court in Cheboksar awarded civil activist Denis Olenov 2,000 roubles in compensation for moral damages caused by his illegal administrative prosecution after holding a solo picket outside the Special Reception for Administrative Detainees. Read more in Russian.
On 11 July, the Vakhitovsky Regional Court in Kazan sustained a claim brought by a victim of torture at the "Dalny" Police Station. Human rights defenders were unpleasantly surprised by the position taken by the prosecutor's office, whose representative asked the court to reject the claim. Read more in Russian.
On 12 July, the Russian Ministry of Finances agreed to pay 65 thousand roubles to the son of a detainee who died in a police station. In addition, an investigation into the case of the death of the man has been initiated at the Tatarstan Regional Department of Internal Affairs. Read more in Russian.
On 23 July, the Moskovsky Regional Court in Cheboksar awarded compensation for moral damages to three civil activists. They were awarded 7 thousand roubles from the Russian Treasury for their unwarranted arrest at the "Russia Forever" protest meeting, detention at the police station, administrative prosecution and negative publicity in the media. They were provided with legal aid from the moment that they were arrested by the "Shchit i Mech" human rights organisation. Read more in Russian.
On 23 July, the Supreme Court of Chuvashia sustained the ruling of the Moskovsky Regional Court of Cheboksar that 100 thousand roubles should be paid by the Russian Ministry of Finance in favour of Vasily Yakimov. This amount was compensation for the moral damages caused by his 273 days of incarceration during investigations, which ended up with an acquittal sentence. Read more in Russia.
The Supreme Court of Tatarstan ruled that the mother of a deceased soldier should receive 250 thousand roubles from his military unit in compensation. The court thus increased the compensation amount from 100 to 250 thousand roubles. The interests of the mother of the deceased were represented by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. Read more in Russian.
Family (Moscow, Tatarstan)
The Supreme Court of Tatarstan upheld a guilty sentence against a teacher for battering a young boy. During the trial it was revealed that the 11 year old victim had been made disabled. The interests of the young boy were represented by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. Read more in Russian.
The Presidium of the Moscow City Court ordered the Directorate of the Russian Federal Migration Service for Moscow to issue a temporary residence permit to the city for an HIV positive Ukrainian citizen with her family. Furthermore, the 8 judges presided over by the head of the Moscow City Court Olga Egorova overturned rulings made by the two previous Courts of instance and found the decision of the Russian Federal Migration Service for Moscow to refuse the girl this permit to be unlawful. Read more in Russian.
TOP 10 Press materials
1. RFI Russian Service (France). 28.08. Pavel Chikov on the sentence passed on Taisiya Osipova and his candidacy for the President's Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights
2. Moscow News 5.08. Petanque is dangerous for your health.
3. Kommersant 02.08. The opposition uses tired methods.
4. Moskovsky Komsomolets 01.08. Club found in prison cell is adjudged to be a souvenir.
5. Dozhd Television Channel 26.07. «Crooks and thieves» is not slander but a judgement based opinion according to conclusions made by linguists.
6. Noviye Izvestiya 26.07. We lost him
7. Kommersant 23.07. The Police are punished to the full extent
8. Novaya Gazeta 04.07. Pen pushers
9. Dozhd Television Channel 29.06. There was no large scale disorder at Bolotnaya Square on 6 May
10. Kommersant 25.06. The investigation goes out from the Prospect onto the Square.
© The AGORA International human rights Association, May 2012 email@example.com
ICQ: 284-050-201. Skype: agora-club. Twitter: @pchikov; @dkolbasin. Facebook: News from Agora Human Rights Association
The New Generation
Digest No.5 (43) AGORA Association (May 2012)
IN TODAY'S ISSUE
International level / Federal level / Publications / Development of regional organisations
Cases. Courts. Victories. / The Dalny Police Station / Top 10 Press materials
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.
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. [Read more]
The New Generation
Digest No. 2-3-4 (42)
Agora Human Rights Association
(February to April 2012)
IN THIS ISSUE
International News National News Publications Regional organisations. Cases. Courts. Victories. Top 10 publications in the mass media
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. [Read more]
Digest No. 11 (41)
Agora Human Rights Association
In this issue: National News / Publications / Agora’s Regional Partners / Cases and Court Hearings / Top 10 Media Reports
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. [Read more]
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.
Digest No. 9 (39), October 2011
Agora Human Rights Association
In this issue: International News / National News / Publications / Development of Regional Organizations /
Legal Cases and Court Hearings / Top 10 Media Reports
Federal Tax Inspectorate No. 14 for Tatarstan has transferred the sum of 987,984.24 roubles to Agora Human Rights Association. In March 2010 the Tax Inspectorate illegally recovered this sum from Agora supposedly as profit tax on donations received. In July 2011 the Supreme Commercial Court of Russia issued a final ruling in the case brought by Agora: Russian non-profits need not pay profit tax on donations received from foreign donors.
The European Court of Human Rights has communicated an application by journalist and photo-correspondent Yury Ivashchenko who was subjected to an arbitrary search in August 2009 on returning to Russia from Abkhazia. During the search the customs officials examined and copied Yury Ivashchenko’s personal photos and letters. [Read more in Russian].
Agora staff in Kazan met with Michael Posner, US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and Denis Keefe, charge d'affaires at the British Embassy in Moscow.
On 24-25 October in Vienna (Austria) Agora chair Pavel Chikov spoke on the quality of medical aid in Russian prisons and police detention centres at a conference on Developing a Health Monitoring Tool for Places of Pre-trial Detention, organized by the Open Society Institute. The conference was attended by experts on monitoring the health and quality of medical aid in conditions of detention in Eastern Europe.
On 15-21 October in Struge (Macedonia) Agora lawyer Damir Gainutdinov gave a presentation about the work of Agora in protecting Internet freedom at an international conference Merging Parallel Societies: Toolkit To Unite, organized by UNITED for Intercultural Action (European Network against Nationalism, Racism, Fascism and in Support of Migrants and Refugees).
Moscow Helsinki Group presented a report The Role of Civil Society Representatives in Raising the Independence and Effectiveness of the Judicial System in the Russian Federation, written with the participation of Agora chair Pavel Chikov and the leaders and lawyers of Agora’s partner organizations in Moscow, Chuvashia and Tatarstan. [Read more in Russian] [Text of the Report].
On 17 October at a meeting in the State Duma, the International Labour Organization presented a report on discrimination of people with HIV at work. The lead author of the report was Agora lawyer Irina Khrunova.
On 15 October in Moscow Aleksei Glukhov, head of Agora’s partner organization Shield and Sword (Chuvashia) conducted a workshop for 40 civic activists on “Security and Elections” in the framework of a federal seminar by the Golos Association for Voters’ Rights.
Pavel Chikov and Dmitry Kolbasin published a review of the latest decisions by the European Court of human rights on Russian cases in Novaya gazeta — [“Even Cameroun Is Fed Up with Them”].
Development of Regional Organizations
Aleksei Glukhov gave a last lecture for 2011 to staff of the central administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Chuvashia on ‘Freedom of Speech and Expression of Opinion in the Work of a Police Officer.’ [Read more in Russian].
Igor Sholokhov, director of Kazan Human Rights Centre, gave a talk on ‘The Role of NGOs in Combating Corruption’ to the Public Consultation Council of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Agency for Tatarstan, the Public Council of the Federal Penitentiary System for Tatarstan, and the ‘round table’ of the Administration of the President of Tatarstan.
Legal Cases and Court Hearings
Defence of non-profits, journalists and civic activists (Moscow, Kaluga region)
Former police officer Nikolai Khovansky withdrew his earlier statement and refused to continue his suit against music critic Artemy Troitsky, whom he had earlier accused of insulting him, at the magistrate’s court of Moscow Court District No. 350 (Begovoi district). At the same time, the magistrate’s court ruled Nikolai Khovansky must pay the state 35,000 roubles in costs. [Read more in Russian].
Kaluga region’s Zhukovsky district court quashed its own in absentia ruling that had found the picture by artist Aleksandr Savko Sermon on the Mount, from the series ‘The Journey of Mickey Mouse in the History of Art’, to be extremist. [Read more in Russian].
Violations by government (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan)
The Qualification College of Judges, at the official request of Aleksandr Bastrykin, head of the National Investigative Committee, agreed to charges being brought against Valeriya Sasa, a former judge of Shchelkovsky town court in Moscow region. Valeriya Sasa had been responsible for a traffic accident in which a number of people were killed. [Read more in Russian].
St. Petersburg’s Krasnogvardeisky district court found Dmitry Kuzovkin, deputy head of the 5th Operations Service of the State Drugs Control of Russia for St. Petersburg, guilty of extorting money from Aleksandr Tsekhanovich, former director general of Humanitarian Action, a charitable foundation for medical and social programmes. [Read more in Russian].
Following an appeal by Agora to the Supreme Qualification College of Judges that Mikhail Tarasenko be suspended as chair of the Supreme Court of Bashkortostan, Mikhail Tarasenko officially removed his candidacy from elections to the State Duma of Russia. [Read more in Russian].
An investigation has been reopened into the death of a fifth-year high school student that resulted when football goalposts fell on him. The National Investigative Committee quashed a decision to close the investigation into the death of 11-year-old Zhenya Terekhin. The victim’s family is represented by a lawyer from Kazan Human Rights Centre. [Read more in Russian].
The Kazan Prosecutor’s Office has established that ambulances called by members of the public regularly arrive late. On the initiative of human rights defenders, the chief medical officer in charge of the ambulance service has been ordered to stop further violations of the law. [Read more in Russian].
A former private soldier, whose liver was seriously damaged after he was beaten by his commanding officer, has been given 200,000 roubles in compensation. The Ministry of Finance of Russia paid former private Eduard Ivanov compensation for the physical assault by his unit commander. The victim is represented by Kazan Human Rights Centre. [Read more in Russian].
A private soldier run over by an armoured vehicle in Tskhinvali has been awarded 200,000 roubles. The Supreme Court of Tatarstan increased the sum of compensation for 20-year-old Danis Zakirov by a factor of 2.5. He was represented by Kazan Human Rights Centre. [Read more in Russian].
A 64-year-old woman has been awarded damages as a result of an incident in which she was injured when snow fell from the roof of Kazan City Hall. The municipal body responsible for snow clearance paid 27,500 roubles to the victim. She was represented in court by Kazan Human Rights Centre. [Read more in Russian].
Top 10 Media Reports
1. Vedomosti. 31.10. Ministry of Justice Has Been Too Quick.
2. NTV. 30.10. Court Returns the “Case of the Wet Prosecutor” to the Police.
3. Rossiiskaya gazeta. 28.10. Judge Sasa Can Be Charged for Involvement in Car Accident in Ulyanovsk.
4. Moskovskie novosti. 20.10. Artemy Troitsky Won’t Need to Apologise for Sharp Reply to Traffic Cop.
5. Moskovskii komsomolets. 19.10. Troitsky’s Monologue about Corrupt Police Has Been Recognized as Acceptable.
6. Echo of Moscow Radio Station. 18.10. European Court of Human Rights Rules Russia Must Pay €66,000.
7. Moskovskii komsomolets. 18.10. Refute It!
8. Novye izvestiya. 18.10. More Dangerous Than Robbers.
9. Vedomosti. 18.10. Punished for a Hyperlink.
10. Kommersant. 11.10. Ministry of Justice Suffers For Faith.
Digest No. 8 (38)
Agora Human Rights Association (September 2011)
Topics in this issue:
Development of Regional Organizations
Top 10 materials in the media
The Russian government presented a memorandum to the European Court of Human Rights on the case of Raduzhny Dom, a Tiumen-based NGO Tiumen that campaigns for the rights of sexual minorities. In the memorandum, Georgy Matiushkin, deputy minister of justice and the representative of Russia at the European Court, responded to the questions of the Strasbourg judges in the case of gay activist Aleksandr Zhdanov and the organization he leads. (Read more in Russian).
On 23-24 September in St Petersburg, Damir Gainutdinov, legal analyst with Agora, read a paper on legal aspects of media election coverage at an international seminar “Coverage of Social and Political Issues in Print and Electronic Media” organized by the Alliance of Independent Regional Publishers and the Swedish media institute FOJO. From 24 September until 15 October Irina Khrunova, a lawyer with Agora, has been an intern with the leading Bulgarian lawyer and expert on the European Court of Human Rights, Yonko Grozev, in Sofia to develop Agora’s work in taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights.
In September Agora, jointly with the blogger Aleksei Navalny and his RosPil project, ran a pilot campaign to check the self-evidently unfulfillable conditions set in an 85 million rouble tender by the Ministry of Health and Social Development. Aleksei Navalny sent a complaint about violations of the law by the Ministry, headed by Tatyana Golikova, to the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service; Agora sent a complaint to the Prosecutor General’s Office. Navalny also posted in his blog a detailed piece entitled RosPil on HIV, that brought 460 comments.
Pavel Chikov was a member of the jury judging a national competition to find the best civil society success in Russia, entitled “Everything is Possible”, initiated by Perm Civic Chamber.
On 26 September in Moscow Agora lawyer and legal analyst, Ramil Akhmetgaliev addressed a conference on “Prophylaxis of Socially-Significant Diseases Among Young People: Best Practice”, providing a review of the legal framework in Russia. The conference was organized by the FOCUS-MEDIA Foundation for Social Development and Health Protection, and the dance4life (Russia) network that brings together a number of organizations.
On 24-25 September in Moscow Dmitry Kolbasin, who heads Agora’s information department and is chief editor of the Open Information Agency (www.openinform.ru), co-led a workshop at the Humanist Research & Training Centre entitled “Contemporary Internet Technologies and the Basics of Working with Video” in the framework of the program “Public Relations and human Rights Work.”
On 12 September in St. Petersburg Pavel Chikov and Agora lawyer Ramil Akhmetgaliev ran a seminar for 25 NGO activists on the latest developments in the taxation of donations in Russia, organized by the Human Rights Resource Centre.
On 7 September Agora lawyer Ramil Akhmetgaliev ran a webinar for the Alliance of Independent Regional Publishers, in which 51 publishing companies from all regions of Russia are members, on the security of journalists in covering elections and public events.
Pavel Chikov published in Gazeta.ru an article, Barrel of Power, about how the Putin epoch may come to an end through extraordinary events. According to Gazeta.ru editors, the article became news website’s most discussed publication over three days.
Pavel Chikov and Dmitry Kolbasin published an article in Moskovskie novosti, Tightening the Virtual Screws, about the punitive measures of the Russian authorities against Internet users and the excessive number of initiatives of various government bodies relating to control of the Internet.
Agora legal expert Damir Gainutdinov wrote an article for Slon.Ru entitled China, Uzbekistan, Russia – Together or Against the Internet about the efforts by various states to limit the freedom of the World Wide Web.
Development of Regional Organizations
In September, Agora partner organization Kazan Human Rights Centre celebrated its ten-year anniversary. An interview with Pavel Chikov, the first director of the Centre, and with its current leader, Igor Sholokhov, can be read here in Russian.
On 8 September Igor Sholokhov, director of the Kazan Human Rights Centre, was one of the main speakers at a press conference organized by the office of the President of Tatarstan on the illegal practice of ‘obligatory payments’ at schools. On 19 September Igor Sholokhov spoke on this issue at a round table at the press centre of Komsomolskaya Pravda in Tatarstan. On 29 September the human rights defender read a paper about the practice of ‘obligatory payments’ in educational establishments at a round table at the press centre of the 116.ru Internet portal, attended by a department head from the Prosecutor’s Office of Tatarstan and by two deputy ministers from the Tatarstan Ministry of Education and Science.
On 14 September Aleksei Glukhov, head of the human rights organization Shield & Sword, read a lecture on “Basic Human Rights and Freedoms” to 39 staff members of the central administrative staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Chuvashia.
Defending NGOs, journalists and civic activists (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl, Chelyabinsk, Moscow region)
The Supreme Commercial Court of Russia ruled that the defence in the courts of NGOs that have become “the object of prosecution by the government” is oriented towards the “defence of constitutional rights of citizens” and directed towards the “public good”. Almost two months after the Supreme Commercial Court’s precedent-setting decision for Russian NGOs on the taxation of donations from abroad, the Court published its ruling on its official website. (Read more in Russian).
In St. Petersburg the prosecution of Leonid Nikolaev, an activist with the performance art group Voina, on charges of hooliganism motivated by hatred in relation to one or other social group has been stopped on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence of a crime. (Read more in Russian).
Moscow region court upheld the acquittal of Aleksei Gaskarov, anti-fascist and a journalist with the Collective Action Institute, who had been prosecuted in connection with an attack on Khimki town hall. (Read more in Russian).
The decision by Moscow’s Khamovniki district court to dismiss the suit brought by Vasily Yakemenko, head of the Russian Agency for Youth Affairs, against journalists Oleg Kashin, Aleksandr Morozov and the newspaper Novye izvestiya, entered into force. (Read more in Russian).
Chelyabinsk region military conscription commission withdrew its defamation suit against Chelyabinsk human rights defenders Aleksei Tabalov and Valeriya Prikhodkina. (Read more in Russian).
A Yaroslavl Justice of the Peace sitting in the Kirov district court No. 2 closed the criminal case brought against Novaya gazeta journalist Elena Kostiuchenko on grounds of lack of evidence. She had been charged with violating the established procedures for conducting an assembly, rally, demonstration, march or picket. (Read more in Russian).
Baikal region court upheld a ruling by Chita’s Chernov district court that the refusal by the head of penal colony No. 3 to allow former cell mate of businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky Aleksandr Kuchma access to materials of the investigation into an injury to his arm during his time in the penal colony was unlawful. (Read more in Russian).
Violations by government and compensation
The Investigative Committee of Russia has ruled that the National People’s Front, set up by Vladimir Putin, is not a non-governmental organization. (Read more in Russian).
Charges have been brought in relation to an assault on a new conscript in an Altai military unit. According to investigators, the actions of a junior sergeant and a private resulted in the fall from the fourth floor of a building of a 21-year-old conscript from Tatarstan. The interests of the victim are represented by Kazan Human Rights Centre. (Read more in Russian).
In Kazan the case of the Judge Soldatov who killed a pedestrian while driving has been sent to court. The former judge has pleaded guilty and declared his readiness to pay damages for moral harm. He has petitioned the court to deal with his prosecution as a special case. (Read more in Russian).
The Tatarstan Ministry of Education confirmed instances of ‘obligatory payments’ in the best school of the Republic. Materials about the violations at the Kazan high school have been sent to the Prosecutor’s Office. The Prosecutor’s Office is considering whether to bring charges against the school principal. (Read more in Russian).
A Tatarstan resident won 2,500 roubles’ compensation for the unlawful actions of police officers. The Ministry of Finance of Russia is obliged to pay compensation to a young man detained on suspicion of stealing mobile phones. Kazan Human Rights Centre represented the claimant in court. (Read more in Russian).
Alena Dudal, who was injured by gunshots fired by the former head of the Tsaritsyno police department, police major Denis Evsiukov, has lodged a claim with Moscow’s Tver district court demanding that the Ministry of Finance of Russia pay one million roubles in damages. (Read more in Russian).
Moscow’s Tver district court and Moscow region’s Vidnoye town court have mislaid the case materials relating to a traffic accident in which the wife of Rashid Nurgaliev, Minister of the Interior of Russia, was involved. (Read more in Russian).
Top Ten Media Publications
1. Novaya gazeta. 29.09. Obviously a case with the brakes on.
2. BBC Russian Service. 29.09. One of Evsiukov's victims demands compensation.
3. Rossiiskaya gazeta. 29.09. Woman injured by major Evsiukov demands one million roubles from Ministry of Finance.
4. Dozhd TV Station. 28.09. New law against gays: the problem is getting worse.
5. Trud. 26.09. Case against the member of the Orthodox Brotherhood who assaulted a journalist is closed.
6. Moskovskie novosti. 16.09. Ministry of Justice Refines Rules on Getting Permission to Conduct Surveillance of Judges.
7. Novye izvestiya. 07.09. A Prophylactic Kickback?
8. Dozhd TV Station. 06.09. Aleksei Navalny vs the Ministry of Health.
9. Vedomosti. 06.09. Front above the Law.
10. Kommersant. 03.09. The Public sues a Heavyweight.
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