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Russian Federation

    April 04, 2018

    The Russian authorities have abjectly failed to take effective action in response to the violent persecution of gay men in Chechnya, Amnesty International said one year after a series of homophobic crimes in the southern republic were exposed.

    A report by the Novaya Gazeta newspaper revealed a horrifying “gay purge” in Chechnya in which dozens of men were abducted, tortured and killed. However, to date, not one person has to be held to account for these crimes.

    “A year ago, this shocking news from Chechnya was ridiculed and dismissed by the Russian government. Since then we have witnessed a shocking display of denial, evasion and inaction by the authorities, who have repeatedly refused to launch an official investigation into the reported heinous crimes and ignored credible evidence provided by Novaya Gazeta and others,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    March 08, 2018

    Russia urgently needs legislation to protect against all forms of gender-based violence, along with an end to the government-endorsed culture of stigmatization of women and girls who report it, said Amnesty International as it led a protest marking International Women’s Day in the country.

    The picket outside the State Duma in Moscow comes the day after sexual harassment allegations against a senior MP were met with mockery in parliament.

    The Speaker of the State Duma yesterday told three female journalists to “find another job” after they accused the MP of sexual harassment, including groping them during interviews. Under current Russian law, such behaviour is not a crime.

    “Last year Russian lawmakers passed a law to decriminalize some forms of domestic violence; now they are marking International Women’s Day by showing solidarity with an alleged perpetrator of sexual harassment,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    February 15, 2018

    The journalist, asylum seeker and Amnesty International activist Ali Feruz has been released on February 2 following a court decision in Moscow that determined that he was able to leave Russia for a third country.  Ali is currently on his way to Germany.

    On 15 February 2018, Ali Feruz was released and arrived in Germany a few hours later. The release came after the Supreme Court’s decision on 25 January to uphold the activist’s appeal and overturn the 2017 decision to deport him to Uzbekistan. Ali Feruz had been detained since August 2017 for supposedly violating the terms of his stay in Russia.

    On the morning of 15 February, Novaya Gazeta journalist and Amnesty International activist, Ali Feruz (born Khudoberdi Nurmatov) was taken to Sheremetyevo airport, in Moscow, under police escort, where he boarded a plane at 11:20am to Frankfurt, Germany. On 20 February, it was reported that he received a refugee status.

    January 11, 2018
    Oyub Titiev Chechnya - via Memorial Human Rights Center.

    Photo: via Memorial Human Rights Center.

    Download PDF of Update 1 dated March 13, to UA 5/18 Russian Federation

     

    UPDATE of March 13: The detention of Oyub Titiev has been extended to at least May 9. 

     

    On 9 January, police arbitrarily arrested Chechen human rights defender Oyub Titiev. He was held incommunicado for several hours and remains in detention falsely accused of drug possession. If tried and convicted he could face up to 10 years in prison. He is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.

    December 22, 2017

    Discrimination, homophobia and Russia’s crusade against non-traditional sexual relationships have helped fuel a worrying rise in hostility towards LGBTI human rights groups in parts of the former Soviet Union said Amnesty International, in a new report today.

    ‘Less equal: LGBTI human rights defenders in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan’ explores the increasingly discriminatory environment that LGBTI rights groups in four former Soviet states have faced in recent years, including within the human rights community itself. In all four countries attitudes have hardened against LGBTI people, in part as a consequence of the repressive rhetoric and practices emanating from Moscow.

    November 14, 2017

    The Russian authorities will tighten their stranglehold on press freedom in the country today by introducing a bill that designates foreign-funded news organizations as “foreign agents” and imposes onerous obligations to declare full details of their funding, finances and staffing, said Amnesty International.

    The move is likely to effect the Russian services of major international media outlets such as the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, as well as the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta. All political parties represented in the State Duma, the Russian Parliament’s lower chamber, have expressed their support of the bill and are expected to pass it unanimously as early as Wednesday.

    “This legislation strikes a serious blow to what was already a fairly desperate situation for press freedom in Russia. Over the last couple of years, the Kremlin has been tirelessly building a media echo chamber that shuts out critical voices, both inside Russia and from abroad,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    October 24, 2017

    Prisoners in Russia endure inhumane conditions, often for weeks on end, as they are transported thousands of miles in cramped, windowless trains to corrective colonies in distant parts of the country, according to a new report published by Amnesty International today.

    Prisoner transportation in Russia: Travelling into the unknown documents the cruel and degrading conditions that both male and female prisoners continue to endure under practices inherited from the Soviet past.

    “Convicted prisoners are packed into tiny spaces on trains with no ventilation, no natural light, little water, and infrequent access to toilets. At the end of journeys that can last well over a month, they finally arrive at their destination, thousands of miles away from their families,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    “It’s time the Russian authorities finally rid themselves of the legacy of the GULAG. They must end these practices and ensure that prisoners are transported in conditions which comply with international law and standards.”

    October 18, 2017

    The Russian authorities must abolish their absurd “homosexual propaganda law” and end persecution of human rights activists, said Amnesty International after a female activist was heavily fined for posting links to LGBTI-related stories on social media.

    Evdokia Romanova was today found guilty of the administrative offence of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors using the Internet” and fined 50,000 roubles (USD $870) by a court in Samara. The accusations against her related to links she shared on Facebook in 2015 and 2016, including a Guardian story on Ireland’s same sex marriage referendum and a Buzzfeed article about an LGBTI exhibition in St Petersburg.

    “The absurd accusations against Evdokia Romanova are a sad illustration of the desperate circumstances currently faced by activists working on LGBTI issues in Russia. Even the simple freedom to share an online story with friends is now limited by legislation that is blatantly discriminatory and homophobic,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    October 03, 2017

    The sentencing of opposition leaders Aleksei Navalny and Leonid Volkov to 20 days in administrative detention is yet further evidence of the Russian authorities’ relentless stranglehold on civil society, said Amnesty International. The organization is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of both men.

    “The arrest of Aleksei Navalny and Leonid Volkov comes as no surprise. It is a blatant attempt by the Russian authorities to suppress and suffocate any dissenting voices and intimidate people trying to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    “Peaceful protest is a right, not a crime nor a privilege which the authorities can bestow on a whim to people in Russia. The activists’ imprisonment embodies the everyday harassment of civil society across the country, including many of Navalny’s supporters. Over the last few months, scores of activists across Russia have been subjected to arbitrary detention, over-the-top fines, beatings and intimidation.”

    September 06, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the initiative of the Canadian government, and non-governmental partners Rainbow Railroad and Russian LGBT Network, which has brought dozens of gay men from the semi-autonomous Russian republic of Chechnya to Canada as government-assisted refugees. This unique government and civil society partnership comes in response to a coordinated campaign against men in Chechnya who are believed to be gay.

    In early April, the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that over a hundred of men believed to be gay had been recently abducted, sent to undisclosed detention centres, tortured and otherwise ill-treated, and forced to disclose other LGBTI individuals known to them. Chechen officials have also supported ``honour killings`` of gay men by their families. Amnesty International documented the practice of extrajudicial executions of gay men in Chechnya and elsewhere in the region earlier this year.

    September 05, 2017

    Photo Credit: via Amnesty Germany

    The criminal case against prominent Russian human rights defender Valentina Cherevatenko for “violation of ‘foreign agents’ law” was closed on June 19 due to an “absence of the elements of the crime”. She was not informed of the decision and only learnt of it by accident over a month later.

    Valentina was the first Russian activist to face criminal prosecution under the "foreign agents" law. Therefore, news of the case against her being dropped is also a victory for Russian civil society as a whole, bringing hope that there may be space for positive change.

    August 10, 2017

    Russia must immediately release a 76-year-old man with Parkinson’s disease who has been detained for holding a placard in support of persecuted Crimean Tatars, Amnesty International said today.

    Server Karametov, a Crimean Tatar, was last night sentenced to 10 days’ “administrative detention” for picketing in support of prisoner of conscience Akhtem Choygoz and other victims of politically motivated prosecution outside the Supreme Court of Crimea operating under control of the de-facto authorities in the occupied region’s capital Simferopol.

    “Arresting a frail senior citizen and throwing him behind bars for holding a placard is the latest grotesque example of the Russian authorities’ incessant crackdown on peaceful activism by the Crimean Tatar community,” said Oksana Pokalchuk, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ukraine.

    “This case epitomizes the ongoing, brutal persecution of Crimean Tatar activists. Server Karametov should be released immediately and unconditionally.”

    August 09, 2017
      In response to Moscow City Court’s decision to suspend the deportation to Uzbekistan of openly gay journalist Khudoberdi Nurmatov (better known by his journalist alias Ali Feruz) but to keep him in detention while his case is reviewed by the European Court of Human Rights, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, Denis Krivosheev, said:   “The suspension of Ali Feruz’s deportation to Uzbekistan - where he faces a real risk of persecution and torture and homosexuality is a crime - is a positive step. However, his continued detention despite his claims he has been beaten is disgraceful. He has committed absolutely no crime and it could take months or even years before a final decision by the European Court of Human Rights.”   “Ali Feruz complained that security officials beat him during transfer to the detention centre and showed bruises during today’s court hearing. The judge decided to ignore these shocking allegations.”

    August 01, 2017

    By Joshua Franco, Technology and Human Rights Researcher at Amnesty International. Follow Joshua on Twitter @joshyrama.

    You have probably heard of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), right? They’re those things you use to stream movies online in other countries that are annoyingly blocked in yours. If VPNs were banned, how would you watch the latest robot apocalypse blockbuster online without having to wait a whole year?

    Now imagine that the online content banned in your country isn’t movies, but rather major social media platforms, or the main sources of information about your religion, or your sexual orientation. Imagine you use a VPN to access this information, and now that tool is being taken away.

    This is what’s about to happen in Russia. It’s already happening in China.

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