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Russian Federation

    October 17, 2018

    Responding to this morning’s arbitrary detention by Russian police of Aleksandr Golovach, a lawyer for the Anti-Corruption Foundation, on spurious charges of breaking a repressive law on public gatherings months ago, the Director of Amnesty International’s Russia office Natalia Zviagina said:

    “The detention of Aleksandr Golovach is the latest example of the Russian authorities’ ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders and activists and illustrates how they will resort to any excuse to target those who dare to criticise them.

    “This case reveals that Russia’s repressive law on public assemblies is not only being used as a tool of wiping protests from the streets; it can also be a reason to arbitrarily arrest and detain anyone at any time.

    “The police have used the draconian law as a false pretext under which to detain Golovach.

    “For as long as Aleksandr Golovach is deprived of his rights to liberty, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly solely in connection with his anti-corruption activism, he is a prisoner of conscience. He must be freed immediately and unconditionally.”

    October 15, 2018

    An Amnesty International researcher sent to observe demonstrations in the Ingushetian capital Magas was abducted, beaten and subjected to terrifying mock executions by men claiming to be members of the security services.

    Oleg Kozlovsky, a Russian national working as a researcher for Amnesty International, arrived in Magas on 5 October to monitor ongoing peaceful protests against the border agreement recently signed by the leaders of Ingushetia and Chechnya.

    On the night of 6 October, Oleg was lured into a car by a man claiming to be a representative of protest organizers. He was driven to a location outside the city where he was stripped, threatened, beaten and abused in an ordeal that lasted two hours.

    “They held a gun to my head and told me they were going to kill me. The men identified themselves as being officers of the local Center for Combating Extremism, a special police unit. They demanded to know the names of my contacts in Ingushetia and threatened to kill my wife and children if I reported what happened,” said Oleg Kozlovsky.

    September 14, 2018
    DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE

    There’s a brave man in prison in Rostov-on-Don, a Russian city of one million people. His name is Emir-Usein Kuku. 

    Early in 2016, a security officer (sort of like a police officer) told Emir-Usein’s son, “Your father did a bad thing and will rot in jail for 10 years.” 

    Amnesty International disagrees that Emir-Usein did anything bad. Amnesty International believes he is a prisoner of conscience who should not spend even one more day in prison. (A prisoner of conscience is someone who is jailed only for their views.)

    So what got Emir-Usein in trouble? 

    One thing he did was to speak up for the rights of an Indigenous group called the Crimean Tatars. 

    He also argued that people have a right to speak their minds and not be taken from their homes by the government, possibly never to return. 
    Once when security officers asked him to work with them to spy on other people, he refused. 

    Now the government is punishing him for not liking the way they rule the Russian Federation.

    July 23, 2018

    Russian authorities must act immediately to protect Irina Biryukova, a lawyer who has fled the country after releasing a video showing her client Yevgeny Makarov being brutally beaten in a Russian prison, Amnesty International said today.

    On 20 July, Irina Biryukova made public a video showing 18 officials attacking  Yevgeny Makarov in IK-1 penal colony in the Yaroslavl region of central Russia. According to Biryukova, her source inside the prison informed her that wardens were now plotting revenge against her, threatening her with physical harm.

    “Irina Biryukova’s brave decision to expose the appalling abuse within IK-1 penal colony is the latest example of her dedication to protecting others from torture and other ill-treatment. It is alarming that her act of courage has forced her to flee the country in fear,” said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

    July 16, 2018

    Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump must use their upcoming summit in Helsinki to tackle the world’s most urgent human rights issues and restore their nations’ credibility as responsible international players, Amnesty International said ahead of the meeting between the Russian and US presidents in Finland’s capital on Monday.

    The organization calls on the two leaders to put the international refugee situation and the war in Syria at the top of their agenda during the summit, as well as violations taking place in their own countries.

    “Presidents Putin and Trump have been toxic for human rights. Their respective policies have resulted in broken families, children being held in cages, continuing atrocities in a prolonged war in Syria and the torture and killing of LGBTI people in Chechnya, to name just a few of the horrors that have unfolded under their watch,” said Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Research.

    June 27, 2018

    Responding to the resolution by the Plenum of the Russian Supreme Court to provide guidance to lower courts hearing cases related to public assemblies, published today, Amnesty International’s Russia Researcher Anastasia Kovalevskaya said:

    “This long-awaited resolution will hopefully provide some much-needed protections to peaceful protesters in Russia – especially the provisions aimed at reducing their arrests and administrative detentions. Over the past year and a half we have documented numerous cases where people were denied their basic right to gather peacefully.”

    “However, this resolution will mean nothing unless it is effectively implemented. And it’s only a half-measure, as comprehensive and meticulous work is needed to bring Russian legislation on public gatherings into compliance with international human rights law and standards.”

    “We reiterate our call on the Russian authorities to drop all restrictive policies on public gatherings and to stop treating freedom of assembly as a privilege they can either give or deny to the Russian people.”

    Background

    June 14, 2018

    As Russia prepares for the opening game of the FIFA World Cup 2018, Amnesty International is shining a spotlight on 11 Russian human rights champions who routinely put their lives on the line to defend human rights in Russia.

    A new campaign, Team Brave, will profile a human rights defender from each of the 11 regions hosting World Cup matches to raise awareness of their important work, and Amnesty International supporters from around the world will send messages of solidarity to show these brave individuals that they are not alone.

    “As World Cup excitement builds, we want to highlight the work of the inspiring men and women who risk their lives and freedom to fight for human rights in Russia. The lineup of Team Brave includes activists who have fought to end torture in police stations, protect the environment, defend LGBTI rights and sex workers’ rights, and support victims of domestic violence – they are the real champions in Russia,” said Inga Kelekhsaeva, Russia Campaigner at Amnesty International.

    May 06, 2018

    Following the forceful dispersal of today’s peaceful opposition rallies in Moscow and all over Russia, and the inaction of the police who allowed the beating of protesters by unknown people in ‘’Cossack’’ uniforms, Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia said:

    “The forceful dispersal of today’s opposition demonstrations is outrageous. The Russian authorities once again refused to authorise protest rallies, and then used this ban to crackdown on those gathered in Moscow and elsewhere.

    “But what is worse is the total police inaction, which allowed the beating of protesters by unknown men in Moscow. On what grounds people in ‘’Cossack’’ uniforms were allowed to use force remains a question.

    “Authorities should immediately release all peaceful protesters arrested and launch an independent, thorough and effective investigation of the use of force by police, and attacks on the protesters by the “Cossacks” with the inaction of the police.”

    May 04, 2018

    The Russian authorities must end violent crackdown on opposition protests scheduled for Saturday ahead of the fourth inauguration of Vladimir Putin as the President of the Russian Federation, Amnesty International said.

    Authorities in Moscow and more than 30 other cities across Russia have refused to permit demonstrations by supporters of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny planned for 5 May, two days before the inauguration.

    “The Russian authorities must learn from their past mistakes, when the repeated refusal to grant permission to hold protest rallies has been a patent violation of human rights,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    “Similarly, the subsequent violent crackdowns by the police on peaceful demonstrations over the past year – in which hundreds of people have been arbitrarily detained – have shown the persistent failure by the authorities to respect and protect the rights to peaceful assembly and personal liberty.

    May 04, 2018

    Responding to a decision by the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic to extend the detention of Oyub Titiev, one of Russia’s leading human rights defenders, Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office at Amnesty International said:

    “The decision to extend the detention of Oyub Titiev is a grave injustice that strikes at the heart of Russia’s human rights community. The Russian authorities are hellbent on silencing anyone who speaks out against human rights abuses in Chechnya, and as the head of the human rights group Memorial’s Chechen office, Oyub Titiev has faced years of harassment and intimidation.

    “In January, the sustained campaign of threats and smears against Memorial staff culminated in the arrest of Oyub Titiev on bogus drug charges. Despite the fact that these charges were clearly fabricated as a means of silencing him, Oyub Titiev now faces up to 10 years in jail. This is the price that human rights defenders in Russia pay for their bravery.

    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.

    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.

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