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.