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Russian Federation

    January 18, 2021

    Reacting to news that prominent Russian opposition activist Aleksei Navalny has been remanded in custody for 30 days, following an unprecedented court “hearing” at the police station where he has been held since being arrested on arrival from Berlin, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director, said: 

    “Today's ‘hearing’ makes a mockery of ​​justice. Not only did the authorities shamelessly bring a judge to the police station to rule on Aleksei Navalny’s detention, but they also denied him access to his lawyer until the last possible moment. No independent media or member of the public was present to witness this farcical ‘hearing’, but to give the illusion of a transparent process, the ‘courtroom’ was packed with representatives of the pro-government press.” 

    January 18, 2021

    Russian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release prominent Kremlin critic, Aleksei Navalny, detained minutes after he arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport from Berlin, Amnesty International said today. Navalny had been recovering in the German capital after being poisoned in Siberia in August. 

    “Aleksei Navalny’s arrest is further evidence that Russian authorities are seeking to silence him. His detention only highlights the need to investigate his allegations that he was poisoned by state agents acting on orders from the highest levels,” said Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director. 

    “The Russian authorities have waged a relentless campaign against Navalny. While he was recovering in Germany, the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service demanded that he immediately present himself to a probation officer or face prison for violating a non-custodial criminal sentence, which was based on politically motivated charges. He has now been arrested on trumped-up charges of fraud.” 

    September 17, 2020

    Dr Tatyana Revva © Private

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 77/20 HERE

    Doctor Tatyana Revva, employed in a hospital in Kalach-on-Don, southern Russia, continues to face reprisals for exposing personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages and other issues within the COVID-19 pandemic. She is appealing a court decision of 23 July that rejected her civil claim against the hospital for imposing disciplinary reprimands on her. She also learned in July that she is at risk of criminal prosecution: the district prosecutor’s office overturned a decision not to initiate proceedings against her, specifically libel charges connected to her complaints. 

    September 02, 2020

    Yulia Tsvetkova © Private

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 138/20 HERE

    The trial against Yulia Tsvetkova, an artist and activist from Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Russian Far East, is expected to start soon. She faces up to six years in prison if convicted under absurd charges of “production and dissemination of pornography” for her drawings of the female body. Yulia, who has been relentlessly targeted since March 2019 for promoting LGBTI and women’s rights through her art, was placed under house arrest between 22 November and 16 March 2020 and remains under a travel ban. 

    August 20, 2020

    Amnesty International demands that the Russian authorities fully investigate the circumstances of the unexpected and critical deterioration of the health of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and allow him to immediately be diagnosed by and receive treatment from doctors that his family trusts. The politician was hospitalized and placed in intensive care in Omsk (Siberia) on his way from Tomsk to Moscow. 

    “The administration of the hospital must provide full access to information about his treatment to his family and doctors of his or their choice. There have already been reports that his chosen doctor was not allowed to see the test results and was not informed of the course of treatment. In light of assumptions about possible poisoning, this only adds to suspicions,” said Natalia Zvyagina, Director of Amnesty International's Moscow office. 

    July 08, 2020

    Reacting to the Russian and Chinese veto of a UN Security Council draft Resolution that would have renewed the provision of cross-border humanitarian aid to civilians in Syria, Sherine Tadros, Amnesty International’s Head of UN Office, said:

    “It’s impossible to overstate the importance of ensuring the crossing points, delivering vital aid, stay open. For millions of Syrians, it is the difference between having food to eat and starving. For hospitals, it is about having enough supplies to save lives. That’s why Russia and China’s abuse of the veto power is despicable and dangerous.”

    There have been months of negotiations between Security Council members over which crossing points into Syria should remain open for the delivery of humanitarian aid and other key services, including health and education. The UN cross-border delivery mechanism, set up in 2014 and renewed ever since, is due to expire in just three days, on 10 July. If that happens it will severely impact the ability to deliver aid to millions of Syrians in time.

    June 01, 2020

    Russian activist and artist Yulia Tsvetkova is facing absurd charges under Russia’s ‘gay propaganda laws.’ She faces six years in prison—simply because she posted art on social media.

    Russian authorities arrested and charged Yulia with ‘production and dissemination of pornographic materials’ after she posted body-positive pictures of women on social media.

    They later charged her with the same offence because she posted a drawing showing support for LGBTI families.

    Police raided Yulia’s house in November, calling her a ‘lesbian, sex trainer and propagandist leader.’

    This is not the first time Yulia has been targeted. She’s also been fined 50,000 rubles for being the administrator of an LGBTI Facebook page.

    Background

    Yulia has been the target of an overtly homophobic campaign since March 2019. In reaction to her public campaigning for women’s and LGBTI rights, she has faced harassment, arrest, and unfounded prosecution from authorities.

    March 04, 2020

    Ahead of a summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Moscow tomorrow (Thursday 5 March) to discuss the escalating military conflict in Idlib in Syria, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

    “The Moscow summit represents an opportunity for Russia and Turkey to prioritize the safety of civilians.

    “The fate of almost one million people forced from their homes now hangs in the balance as this meeting goes ahead.

    “After nine years of fighting characterized by utter disregard for civilians’ lives, new attacks in Idlib - including the ongoing targeting of schools and hospitals - is causing more untold misery to civilians, many of whom have already been forced to flee multiple times in this humanitarian horror story.

    “As a matter of priority, Russia and Turkey should pressure the Syrian government to end attacks on civilians to avoid escalating deaths and injuries and further displacement.

    September 19, 2019

    Film director Oleg Sentsov, who was released on the 7th of September as part of a prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia, has thanked activists from Amnesty International for writing letters of support during his time in the remand centre and the penal colony.  Sentsov, who was arrested in 2014 and whose release was achieved through the many efforts of Amnesty International and other human rights organisations, gave a press conference alongside Alexander Kolchenko in Kiev.

    “Of course, I received many letters from Amnesty International. Thank you very much”, said Sentsov. According to him, the activists from Amnesty have contributed greatly to the international campaign for his release.

    September 06, 2019

    Spokespeople are available for interviews

    The multiple new ways in which the authorities trampled on freedom of assembly and expression ahead of the Moscow City Duma (local parliament) election on 8 September marks a new, deeply disturbing crackdown on human rights in Russia, said Amnesty International today.

    “This summer, the authorities have done all they can to suppress human rights. In an atmosphere marked by a growing public discontent in both Moscow and across the country, they have not only used every trick in their book to persecute and intimidate a mounting chorus of dissent, they have gone way beyond the familiar script,” said Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Russia Director.

    June 12, 2019

    Responding to the arbitrary arrests of over 400 people in Moscow who were peacefully protesting the treatment of journalist Ivan Golunov, Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Office, said:

    “Today’s arbitrary and often brutal arrests of over 400 peaceful protestors, including children, are a perfect example of the cruel repression that brought protestors to the streets in the first place. Amnesty International observers witnessed police violence and recorded complaints of detainees being beaten. Yet again, the Russian authorities met peaceful dissent with an assault on rights and freedoms.

    “Those who took to the streets of Moscow today were demanding accountability for the appalling treatment of journalist Ivan Golunov, who was arrested on fabricated drugs charges in a blatant attempt to silence him. Confronted by unprecedented public indignation, the authorities backtracked and released Ivan Golunov.

    June 10, 2019
    Chechen prisoner of conscience Oyub Titiev granted parole Parole comes days after detention of journalist, Ivan Golunov

    Responding to news that Shali City Court in Chechnya has granted parole to the imprisoned human rights defender Oyub Titiev after almost one-and-a-half years behind bars, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia said:

    “We have been calling for Oyub Titiev’s immediate and unconditional release since his detention. The real agenda behind his criminal prosecution on trumped up charges was to stop a human rights defender from doing his lawful human rights work.

    “In spite of overwhelming evidence that the case against him had been fabricated, the authorities in Chechnya crudely abused the justice system to convict an innocent man. Today the court decided to at least partially amend the gross injustice by releasing Oyub in ten days time.

    May 01, 2019

    Authorities in Arkhangelsk Oblast (north-western Russia) have clamped down on peaceful protest against the construction of a dumping site with arrests, bans and heavy fines.

    On 7 April 2019, activists protesting against a landfill site construction project in the locality called Shyes planned a rally at Lenin Square in the centre of the regional capital Arkhangelsk. Regional authorities banned the protest claiming that a sports event was scheduled on that day at the square. They proposed a venue in a remote part of the city far from traffic or official buildings. The protest rally still took place in the original location and thousands of Arkhangelsk residents peacefully marched through the city centre. Police were present but did not intervene. No sporting event took place there at the time.

    April 01, 2019

    Two years after the violent ‘gay purge’ in Chechnya, Russian authorities have failed to provide justice for the victims, Amnesty International said today.

    In a crackdown revealed in 2017, dozens of men were abducted, tortured and killed for their real or perceived sexual orientation. To date, not one person has yet been held accountable for these crimes.

    “The Russian authorities have shown themselves to be complicit in heinous crimes committed in Chechnya against people believed to be gay or lesbian”, said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

    “Two years after reports of a ‘gay purge’ sent shockwaves worldwide, it’s clear that the perpetrators have gone unpunished because of state-sponsored homophobia and impunity for human rights violations in Chechnya.”

    Meanwhile, authorities have also failed to provide effective protection to LGBTI rights defender Igor Kochetkov, the leading figure in the public investigation of the violent crackdown, who has recently received death threats.

    March 18, 2019

    Following today’s decision by the Shali City Court in Chechnya to sentence human rights defender and prisoner of conscience, Oyub Tititev, to four years in penal colony, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Marie Struthers said:

    “The four-year prison sentence slapped on Oyub Tititev is an affront to human rights, reason, and justice. By pronouncing him guilty, despite all the evidence to the contrary, the court has demonstrated how deeply flawed the Russian justice system is. The court has revealed itself to be little more than a tool that the regional authorities have used to silence one of the last human rights defenders working in Chechnya.

    “When this sham trial started, the human rights community called on the Russian authorities to transfer proceedings out of Chechnya, pointing out that the court will be under pressure from the regional authorities and unable to try Oyub fairly and reach an independent decision. By failing to do so, the Russian federal authorities proved to be accomplices in this gross injustice and in the violation of Oyub Titiev’s human rights.

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