Idag publicerar Östgruppen tillsammans med flera europeiska människorättsorganisationer ett gemensamt uttalande med anledning av den djupt oroande situationen för människorättsförsvarare i Ryssland. Sedan morden på bland andra Anna Politkovskaja, Natalja Estemirova och Magomed Ausjev har trakasserierna och hoten mot människorättsförsvarare fortsatt och situationen är mycket allvarlig.
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Joint statement on the situation for human rights defenders in Russia
Russia’s record with regard to establishing safe conditions for operating human rights organizations in Russia remains poor. Since the time of the assassinations of Anna Politkovskaya, Natalya Estemirova, Madomed Evloev, Magomed Aushev there have been more reports on abuses, harassment and threats against people working with human rights organizations.
On 27 April 2011, human rights defender Stanislav Dmitrievsky, head of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, a human rights organisation registered in Finland, was questioned by the Anti-Extremism Centre, a bureau of the General Department of Internal Affairs of Niznny Novgorod established to fight anti-extremism, in relation to a monograph published under his direction entitled “International tribunal of Chechnya. Legal prospects of initiating individual criminal proceedings against persons suspected of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the course of the military conflict in the Chechen Republic”. The monograph is in two volumes, comprising 1200 pages and it attempts to consolidate all the information available about human rights violations committed in Chechnya.
On 24 June 2011, immediately after holding an authorized rally dedicated to the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture in Grozny, the capital of the Chechen republic of the Russian Federation, the head of the Grozny office of Nizhny Novgorod-based Committee against Torture Sypjan Baskhanov and inspector of public investigations department Magomed Alamov were summoned to the ;police headquarters of Grozny where they were subjected to direct threats. Prior to Baskhanov and Alamov’s summons, the authorized rally had been disrupted by the Chechen police force despite its legal and peaceful character. They report that during long interrogation, they were both threatened with their families suffering consequences to the Committee legitimate work on exposing law-enforcement agencies application of such criminal methods as torture in their practices.
In this respect we find important to point out that any law, including that of the Russian Federation, prohibits such practices. However, there have been credible reports that law enforcement personnel in Chechnya as well as in other parts of Russia is engaged in torture, abuse, and violence to coerce confessions from suspects. During the year there were also reports of torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by federal or local government security forces.
On June 26 it became known that Olga Sadovskaya, the deputy chair of the Nizhny Novgorod Committee against Torture, is also a target of anonymous threats. Graffiti containing death threats and offensive words appeared in the Sovetskiy district of Nizhny Novgorod on June 21, according to the information available. The graffiti appeared in the close vicinity of the apartment building where Olga Sadovskaya lives with her family and a little child.
Taking into account that it is not the first attack against Olga Sadovskaya in the last two months, we find that it is a clear indication to the developing pattern of violent actions against genuine human rights defenders.
In May 2011, Olga Sadovskaya was subjected to various forms of pressure while her involvement into preparation for the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum press-conference in Nizhny Novgorod as a side-event to the EU-Russia summit. The authorities tried to interfere by making an attempt to obstruct the work of the human rights organization by preventing them from holding the press conference. Olga Sadovksaya was kept under surveillance, her bank cards were blocked and even license plates on Olga Sadovskaya’s car were stolen and police threatened to annul Olga Sadovskaya’s driving license instead of establishing the thieves.
We are deeply concerned about the continuous and unacceptable harassment of human rights defenders in Russia.
We turn to all institutions of the EU and the OSCE to raise the these recent cases of harassment with the authorities of the Russian Federation and condemn such practices.
Östgruppen – The Swedish Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights.
Civil Rights Defenders (Sweden)
Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (Finland)
Observatorio Eurasia (Spain)