Agora Digest: June, July, August, 2012

posted 3 Oct 2012, 00:45 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Oct 2012, 01:08 ]
The New Generation

Digest No. 6-7-8 (44) AGORA Association (June-July-August 2012)

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

International level 
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 ( 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). 

Federal level
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 entitled: 
Pavel Chikov also prepared materials for Forbes magazine 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 
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