Digest No 5 (35) of the Agora Human Rights Association
In this issue:
Development of Regional organisations
Cases and Court Hearings
Top 10 media reports
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg has examined the complaint of a convicted prisoner in Russia suffering from a heart condition. The Court asked the Russian Federation to respond to its questions concerning the case of Andrei Gorbunov from Izhevsk (Udmurtia). The government is obliged to provide answers to the Court within three months. Defence lawyer Rustem Valiullin, a partner of Agora and the Prikamsk centre for human rights, is acting for Gorbunov. Read more
The ECtHR has registered a complaint by a manual worker who was beaten up by the head of a district police department in Tatarstan. On the anniversary of the offence committed by Ramzil Salakhov, head of the Tukaevsky district police department, his victim told rights activists that the Court in Strasbourg had singled out his case and would discuss it separately. Read more
A complaint by 44-year-old Vladimir Khrapov, who lives in Chuvashia, that Articles 3 and 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Basic Freedoms were violated in his treatment by the police, has been registered by the ECtHR. As he reported in his appeal to the Court, the police used unlawful force against him, detaining him without legal grounds, and then took him to the police station. No records were kept by the police of these actions to justify such limits on his freedom of movement. Read more
On 3 May Pavel Chikov, legal specialist and chairman of Agora, gave a paper in Bangkok (Thailand) to the international “Treatment 2.0 Community Mobilisation” conference. His subject was “Defending the right to treatment of HIV-positive individuals in Eastern Europe and Central Asia”.
During the international One World film festival in Brussels, organised by People in Need (Agora’s partner in the Czech Republic), Pavel Chikov took part in discussion of films about the deceased lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, the murdered journalist Anastasia Baburova, and organised crime in Russia.
On 19-20 May Agora lawyer Ilnur Sharapov spoke in Kishinev (Moldova) about discrimination against HIV-positive individuals, at work or when seeking employment, and when being deported as foreign citizens. He was addressing a session of the Global Commission on HIV/AIDS issues in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Igor Sholokhov, director of the Kazan human rights centre, took part in an international conference on 12 May in Moscow, convened to discuss “The future of the Helsinki movement – a rebirth in the role of the OSCE in the sphere of human rights”. The event was organised by the Moscow Helsinki Group to mark its 35th anniversary.
On 18 May defence lawyer Rustem Valiullin took part in a round-table discussion in Moscow, where he delivered a paper on “Issues arising from classifying literature as extremist”. The meeting was organised by the Council for Islamic Education, the Moscow Islamic University and the Foundation for Islamic Culture, Learning and Education.
Ilnur Sharapov and Dmitry Kolbasin held seminars attended by a total of 39 HIV-positive individuals in Norilsk (22 May) and Tomsk (29 May) on defending the right to information and legal defence of people who are HIV-positive. Sharapov is a lawyer with Agora; Kolbasin heads Agora’s information department and is chief editor of www.openinform.ru. The seminars were supported by the AIDS Infoshare regional organisation, as part of the Globus project.
On 15 May Ramil Akhmetgaliev, legal analyst at Agora, and Dmitry Kolbasin held a safety seminar in Moscow for 30 activists of the Golos association “for the defence of voters’ rights”. A day earlier Akhmetgaliev held a seminar in St Petersburg (“Safety while engaged in professional activities”) for 24 representatives of the LGBT community and activists defending the sexual rights of citizens.
On 13 May Novaya gazeta published a survey by Pavel Chikov and Dmitry Kolbasin of decisions against the Russian Federation by the European Court of Human Rights in April 2011 entitled “Fifteen million roubles for pensions, accommodation and TB”.
In May Vitaly Cherkasov, director of the Transbaikal human rights centre, was made a member of the Public Commission for Human Rights in Places of Detention in the Transbaikal Region.
Igor Sholokhov gave a report on 18 May in Kaliningrad on the experiences of the Tatarstan Public Commission and Kazan human rights centre in monitoring human rights in places of detention. He was speaking at a conference entitled “Right to Life – developing ways of monitoring and averting human rights abuses in places of detention, drawing on the experience of defending the rights to life and health of HIV-positive prisoners”.
Rights activists and journalists in Chuvashia secured a reply from Mikhail Mikhailovsky about his assertion that “Chuvash is the main language here, Russian takes second place”. Mikhailovsky, speaker of the State Council and leader of United Russia in the republic, said all he meant was that almost 67% of the population of the republic today know the Chuvash language. “In no sense was it suggested that the leading official language of the State is today Chuvash. We have two official languages, Chuvash and Russian,” Mikhailovsky was forced to explain. This followed a number of publications in both the local and the national media and an appeal to the FSB by Alexei Glukhov, requiring that organisation to investigate the speaker’s words. Glukhov is director of the Shield and Sword human rights organisation in Chuvashia. Read more
Specialists from the Prikamsk human rights centre have joined a working group on not-for-profit organisations in Izhevsk (Udmurtia). Its purpose is to enable the implementation of new legislation about socially-oriented NGOs. Read more
CASES & COURT HEARINGS
In defence of NGOs, journalists and activists (Moscow, St Petersburg)
Preliminary hearings were held on 23 May at the Khamovnichesky district court in Moscow into the lawsuit brought by Vasily Yakimenko, director of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, against journalists Oleg Kashin and Alexander Morozov and the Novye Izvestia daily newspaper. In court Kommersant journalist Oleg Kashin requested that Vladislav Surkov, the first deputy head of the presidential administration, be called as a witness. Read more.
On 13 May hearings began at magistrate’s court No 345 in Moscow’s Khoroshovsky district into the criminal case against well-known musical critic Artem Troitsky. Former police officer Nikolai Khovansky accuses him of criminal insult (Article 130, Section 2 of the Russian Criminal Code). Read more.
On 19 May, at a hearing before the Constitutional Court of the case of former police officer Alexei Mumolin seven spokesmen for State bodies discussed the ban on state employees criticizing their superiors. Speaking for the government Mikhail Barshchevsky described public praise of a superior as an offence for which officials could be dismissed. Read more.
Violations in law enforcement, the army, and the courts
(Chelyabinsk, Ulyanovsk and Tatarstan Regions)
On 27 May the Chelyabinsk Regional Court convicted officers the Federal Penitentiary Service (FPS) of responsibility for the death of four prisoners and the beating of four more at Penal Colony No. 1 in Kopeisk. Eighteen defendants were found guilty. Vladimir Zhidkov, ex-head of the Chelyabinsk Region FPS, was given a suspended sentence of five years’ imprisonment. Read more.
The Kazan forensic laboratory has concluded that Valery Sas, ex-judge of Shelkovsky town court in the Moscow Region, drove his vehicle into oncoming traffic, which led in the ensuing accident to the deaths of two people. Read more.
Commercial organisations will no longer be permitted to operate in the premises of traffic police stations in Kazan. The Kazan Human Rights Centre has won a decision to halt the activities of the TsAPO company which was charging a fee to issue drivers with official notification of traffic accidents while operating from the offices of state organizations. Read more.
An officer has been sentenced to four years in prison inciting the suicide of a private. The Volga District Military Court dismissed an appeal by former warrant officer Anatoly Fedotov against his sentence. The Kazan Human Rights Centre represented the interests of the mother of the deceased. Read more.
A request by a police major for the prosecution of a Kazan human rights defender has been refused. The Investigative Committee did not find any criminal offence in the actions of the defendant and his representative. Read more.
Thanks to human rights defenders, the city prosecutor’s office has issued a lawsuit against the Kazan City Police Department. Prompted by the Kazan Human Rights Centre, The prosecutor’s office inspected the department’s facilities and demanded that serious violations of the law in the operation of the police detention centre be removed. Read more.
Compensation (Tatarstan, Chuvashia, Udmurtia, Transbaikal)
Relatives of an adolescent who drowned have won 170,000 roubles in compensation from Kazan life savers. The Tatarstan Supreme Court turned down an appeal by the Kazan Life Saver’s Society which must now pay compensation to the relatives of 16-year-old Marsel Khairullin. The Khairullin family were represented by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. Read more.
The daughter of a man who died in a police station has been awarded 50,000 roubles in compensation. A court in Tatarstan court ruled that the RF Ministry of Finance must pay compensation to the daughter of Vakil Aitov, who was found dead in a cell for those detained for administrative violations at the Alkeevsky District Police Station. Kazan Human Rights Centre represented the Aitov family in court. Read more.
The RF Ministry of Finance agreed to pay 30,000 roubles to a man formerly charged with murder. The decision by Kazan’s Vakhitovsky district court has entered into force, obliging the Russian treasury to pay compensation to 54-year-old Vasil Vasikov. Kazan Human Rights Centre represented the interests of Mr Vasikov. Read more.
A Kazan kindergarten has paid 25,000 roubles for injury to a child. The father of the boy, who underwent an operation after an accident at Kindergarten No. 221, told the Kazan Human Rights Centre that he had received the sum awarded him. Read more.
The Leninsky district court in Cheboksary (Mari El) ruled on 13 May that the city’s finance department should pay 47,500 roubles to Igor Koltsov in compensation for a beating he received at a Police Detoxification Centre. Earlier the victim of this physical abuse secured the conviction of an officer at the Centre. Legal assistance was given to Mr Koltsov by the Shield and Sword human rights organization. Read more.
The Pervomaisky district court in Izhevsk (Udmurtia) awarded Evgeny Mironov, who served as a military conscript in the republic, 1,000 roubles in compensation for unlawful prosecution. Mironov was charged with intentional self-harm to avoid military service. Read more.
In Chita (Transbaikal) a court ruling that the RF Ministry of Finance should pay 100,000 roubles in damages to Alexander Permyakov, a resident of the Transbaikal Region, has come into force. In the summer of 2009 he was beaten unconscious by police officers, working on contract for a private security service. The officers in question have already been punished. Read more.
HIV Positive cases
The Pervomaisky district court in Izhevsk (Udmurtia) has ruled that a resident of the city who is HIV positive should be reinstated at his former place of work. The trial lasted almost six months. During this period the plaintiff was, in effect, on an enforced leave of absence from work. He should now be compensated for this by his employer. Read more.
Top 10 Media Publications
1. ‘Victims of former Tsarytsyno Police Station head try to find out about his income,’ Moskovskie novosti, 31 May.
2. ‘Not for conscience’s sake, but out of fear,’ Novye izvestiya, 30 May.
3. ‘Prison officers get a lighter sentence,’ Kommersant, 28 May
4. ‘Court confirms right of HIV-positive people to a job,’ Rossiya National State TV and Radio Corporation, 25 May
5. ‘Multiplied sufferings,’ Moskovskie novosti, 24 May
6. ‘“You have two children, come twice a month and wash the floors,”’ TV Tsentr, 23 May
7. ‘Your opinion will cost you your job,’ Rossiiskaya gazeta, 20 May
8. ‘Case of a girl’s dismembered body reaches the European Court,’ TV Tsentr, 16 May
9. ‘Tatarstan court says daughter of man who died in police station must receive compensation,’ Mayak radio station, 12 May
10. ‘Children deprived of the right to a holiday,’ Gudok, 03 May
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