June 2011 Digest

posted 20 Jul 2011, 02:54 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 Sept 2011, 04:00 ]
New Generation

Digest No. 6 (36), June 2011

Agora Human Rights Association

In This Issue:
International News
National News
Development of Regional Organizations
Cases and Court Hearings
Top 10 Media Reports

International News
On 29 June Ilnur Sharapov, a lawyer from the Agora Human Rights Association, took part in a meeting with Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, on the role of civil society in relation to HIV/AIDS in Russia. Ilnur Sharapov spoke at the meeting on “Issues of Human Rights and Legal Assistance with Regard to HIV in Russia”. He discussed the problem of the weaknesses of Russian legislation on HIV/AIDS, in particular that it is not possible for HIV positive adults to adopt children, and limits placed on freedom of movement. Ilnur Sharapov also pointed to the existence of many regulations that result in discrimination against people living with HIV and that conflict with Russian law.

National News
The Constitutional Court of Russia has permitted civil servants to criticize their bosses and has ruled that criticism must not be restricted if it answers to the public interest. The Court made this ruling in the case, brought by Agora, of former Tolyatti police major Aleksei Mumolin, fired after making a video appeal to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Rashid Nurgaliev. (Read more in Russian)

Ramil Akhmetgaliev, lawyer and legal analyst with Agora, ran a workshop in Arkhangelsk on 21-22 June for more than 30 regional publishers and newspaper editors on “Security When Acting in the Course of Professional Duties.” The event was organized by the Agency of Independent Regional Publishers in Arkhangelsk region. (Read more in Russian).

On 24 June in Chelyabinsk region Ramil Akhmetgaliev ran a seminar on security for 25 local civic activists. On 27 June in Chechnya Pavel Chikov, legal expert and chair of Agora, and Ramil Akhmetgaliev ran a seminar for members of the Mobile Group of Russian human rights organizations. The issues addressed included the security of NGO workers and of civic activists, and the difficulties faced in conducting independent investigations of alleged violations of civic rights.

On 28 June Pavel Chikov and Ramil Akhmetgaliev held a workshop in Grozny, Chechnya, for 25 representatives of Chechen NGOs on the issue of the security of NGOs working in the region, organized by Sintem and the Committee Against Torture. Particular issues addressed included observance of the law, monitoring government bodies, and protection against unfounded accusations.

On 20 June, on the initiative of the women’s network EVA, Dmitry Kolbasin, head of Agora’s information department and editor of the Open Information Agency (http://www.openinform.ru/), held a press conference in Moscow at the RIA-Novosti Press Centre on the topic “Who is responsible for the failure to treat people with HIV?” Agora lawyer Ilnur Sharapov spoke at the event, organized by HIV-activists with the support of SPIDInfosvyaz, about the lack of access to tests essential for the lives of HIV-positive patients.

Agora published an independent report “Threats to Internet freedom in Russia, 2008-2011” that recorded 111 instances of restrictions on free access to the Internet and prosecution of Internet users from January 2008 to May 2011. (Read the Report in English).

Pavel Chikov and Dmitry Kolbasin published a review of May judgments by the European Court of Human Rights against Russia in Novaya gazeta, ‘They paid for the bombing’. (Read more in Russian)

Pavel Chikov published an analytical article in Moskovskie novosti, ‘Re-evaluation is a Lottery in the Police’ on the procedures for re-evaluating police officers. (Read more in Russian).

In an article in Moskovskie novosti, ‘Punishment without Prison’, Pavel Chikov discussed a bill drafted by the Ministry of Justice that would create a special agency for punishments that do not involve deprivation of liberty. (Read more in English).

Development of Regional Organizations
On 18 June in Kazan Agora ran a seminar for lawyers from the Agora Association and partner organizations on “Psychiatry, Psychology and Lie Detectors in the Work of Lawyers”. Speakers at the seminar included Vladimir Mendelevich, professor and head of the Faculty of Medicine and General Psychology at Kazan State University, a member of the Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia and of the Public Chamber of Tatarstan; Vladimir Rubashnyi, psychologist, retired lieutenant colonel in the penitentiary service and member of the Public Oversight Commission of Tatarstan; and Svetlana Nasonova, a polygraph tester.

On 19 June in Kazan Agora ran a seminar for lawyers of the Association on “The Public and Political Significance of the Internet in Russia”. Speakers included Sergei Smirnov, a Gazeta.ru journalist, and Agora lawyers Ramil Akhmetgaliev and Damir Gainutdinov.

Vitaly Cherkasov, director of the Baikal Human Rights Centre, despite resistance from government bodies, secured official recognition as a representative of five prisoners who allegedly were victims of beatings at Penal Colony No. 10 in Krasnokamensk.

In Udmurtia about 30 residents of the villages of Pugachevo, Yuski, Malaya Purga and Yagan requested assistance via a telephone hotline giving legal advice in the aftermath of an explosion at an ammunition storage site in the village of Pugachevo. (Read more in Russian)

Aleksei Glukhov, head of the human rights group Shield and Sword, presented a further course of lectures for staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Chuvashia. The theme of the June lecture, attended by 49 ministry staff, was “The Main Principles Governing Use of Force by Police Officers”.

On 15, 17 and 21 June Igor Sholokhov, head of the Kazan Human Rights Centre, spoke on human rights to a group of staff members, undertaking additional professional training, of the Tatarstan division of the Russian Consumer Rights Inspectorate.

Cases and Court Hearings
Protecting NGOs, journalists and civic activists (Moscow city, Moscow region, Tyumen region, Novosibirsk region)
Khimki town court acquitted civic activist Aleksei Gaskarov who had been charged with hooliganism in connection with the disorders at Khimki Town Hall. (Read more in Russian)

Vasily Yakemenko, head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, lost a court case against Kommersant journalist Oleg Kashin. Moscow’s Khamovnichesky district court dismissed Yakemenko’s defamation suit against Kashin. (Read more in Russian)

Tyumen region Investigative Committee closed a criminal investigation into Vladimir Efimov, editor of Vechernyaya Tyumen, for incitement to hatred. The Investigative Committee also declined to open a criminal investigation into another Tyumen journalist, Rustam Fakhretdinov. (Read more in Russian)

A Justice of the Peace in Novosibirsk began hearing the criminal case against Artem Loskutov, organizer of youth events called “Monster Shows”. Loskutov is charged with insulting police officers (Article 319 of the Criminal Code of Russia). (Read more in Russian)

Yury Shevchuk, leader of the music band DDT, gave evidence in court in Moscow’s Khoroshovsky district in defence of the well-known music critic Artemy Troitsky, charged with insulting police officer Nikolai Khovansky. Khovansky, together with his colleague Nikolai Kirichkov, had been the first to arrive at the scene of a high-profile traffic accident on Leninsky Prospect. (Read more in Russian)

Elena Kostiuchenko, a Novaya gazeta journalist beaten during police action to disperse the Moscow Gay Pride, has been recognized as a victim of a criminal assault and an investigation is underway. (Read more in Russian)

Human rights violations by state bodies and compensation (St. Petersburg, Udmurtiya, Chuvashia, Tatarstan, Samara region)
St Petersburg’s Krasnogvardeisky district court has begun hearing the criminal case against Dmitry Kuzovkin, deputy head of the 5th Operations Unit of the Federal Drug Agency for St. Petersburg. (Read more in Russian)

The Supreme Court of Udmurtia ruled that Konstantin Konovalov, resident of Sarapul, be paid 250,000 roubles’ compensation for torture by police. (Read more in Russian)

St Petersburg’s Petrograd district court ruled that the mother of Sergei Monin, killed in a police cell in North-West Transport Police Department, be paid 500,000 roubles as compensation for moral damages. (Read more in Russian)

Following a ruling by Samara regional court, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation has paid Sergei Kurt-Adzhiev, former editor of Novaya gazeta v Samare, 450,000 roubles’ compensation for unlawful criminal prosecution on charges of using unlicensed software. (Read more in Russian)

A civil cases judicial panel of the Supreme Court of Chuvashia upheld the decision by Cheboksar’s Leninsky district court to order payment of 47,500 roubles’ compensation for torture in a drying-out centre. The interests of the defendant were represented by the human rights group Shield and Sword. (Read more in Russian)

A soldier who lost his spleen will receive 200,000 roubles in compensation. The Supreme Court of Tatarstan dismissed an appeal by representatives of the federal Ministry of Finance. The soldier has been represented by Kazan Human Rights Centre. (Read more in Russian)

The daughter of a Tatarstan resident who died in a police station has been awarded 50,000 roubles in compensation. The Supreme Court of Tatarstan upheld the decision to award compensation to the daughter of a man who died in the Alkeevsky district police station. (Read more in Russian)

A Kazan resident has been awarded a thousand roubles for each day of unlawful detention in a police cell. The court ordered the federal Ministry of Finance to pay 23-year-old Raushan Antonov two thousand roubles. Antonov was represented by the Kazan Human Rights Centre. (Read more in Russian)

An HIV positive Izhevsk resident has been awarded compensation for wrongful dismissal when he was obliged to take time off work. The firm that unlawfully dismissed the HIV positive employee has not appealed against the decision by Pervomaisky district court and has restored the man to his former employment. Moreover, the employer executed the court’s decision almost immediately and paid the full sum indicated by the court to the employee for the time he was obliged to take time off work and compensation for moral damages. The Izhevsk resident was represented in court by Prikamsk Human Rights Centre. (Read more in Russian)

Social issues
After human rights defenders intervened, officials have given a war veteran who took part in the Battle of Stalingrad and is an invalid of the ‘first group’, a subsidy to acquire an apartment. (Read more in Russian)

Top Ten Media Reports

1. Kommersant. 25.06. ‘Antifa activists end campaign in court’. (Read more in Russian)
2. Moskovskie novosti. 21.06. ‘Internet freedom is becoming punishable’. (Read more in Russian)
3. Novye izvestiya. 15.06. ‘A machine checks and listens. Lie detectors to be introduced at ATMs.’ (Read more in Russian)
4. Forbes. 14.06. ‘Victor Danilkin wanted to release Khodorkovsky in 2013.’ (Read more in Russian)
5. Moskovsky komsomolets. 14.06. ‘Vasilieva shown Khodorkovsky’s “real” sentence.’ (Read more in Russian)
6. BBCRussian. 09.06. ‘Unknown persons attack Moscow parking lot.’ (Read more in Russian)
7. RSN. 08.06. ‘“Monster Show” organizer says not guilty of insulting police.’ (Read more in Russian)
8. Moskovskie novosti. 08.06. ‘UN supports freedom of expression on the Internet.’ (Read more in Russian)
9. Trud. 03.06. ‘Beat officers should be accountable to the public.’ (Read more in Russian)
10. Radio Liberty. 03.06. ‘Re-evaluation of police officers completely secret.’ (Read more in Russian

© Agora Human Rights Association, June 2011, agora-club@yandex.ru ,
ICQ: 284-050-201. Skype: agora-club. Тел.: (843) 537-89-00, 537-89-01.