Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about threats received by Mr. Vitaly Ponomarev, Head of Central Asia programme at the Moscow-based Human Rights Centre (HRC) “Memorial”.
According to the information received, on January 12, 2013, Mr. Ponomarev received three emails threatening him and his family with death if he ever enters South Kyrgyzstan. The emails were sent at two-minute intervals to three different addresses. Analysis of the emails showed that the they were sent from IP-addresses located in the Uzbekistan capital Tashkent.
On January 18, 2013, Mr. Ponomarev received another email following the publication of a press release by the HRC “Memorial” earlier the same day. This last email was made to look like it was sent from ethnic Uzbeks residing in the South of Kyrgyzstan. However, and according to linguistic experts, the language used in this email is typical of the dialect from the Tashkent area, rather than from Southern Kyrgyzstan.
It is likely that these threats are a response to two press releases published on the website of HRC ’Memorial’ on December 10 and 26, 2012, both denouncing the activities of the Uzbek security services against Uzbek citizens on the Russian territory, including allegations of acts of torture against the latter.
HRC “Memorial” has addressed the Federal Security Service and Prosecution Service in Moscow following the first set of emails, calling for an investigation and that effective measures are taken.
The Observatory strongly condemns the threats against Mr. Ponomarev, and fears that they are directly related to his human rights activities. Accordingly, the Observatory calls for a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the above mentioned facts in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the sanctions provided by the law.
Please write to the authorities of Russian Federation, urging them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Vitaly Ponomarev and all human rights defenders in the Russian Federation;
ii. Put an end to any act of harassment against Mr. Vitaly Ponomarev and all human rights defenders in the Russian Federation, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;
iii. Carry out a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the above mentioned facts in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the sanctions provided by the law;
iv. Comply with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9,1998, especially:
its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,
its Article 5, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels (a) to meet or assemble peacefully”;
and Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by the RussianFederation.
Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Ilinka Str, 23, Moscow, 103132, Moscow, Russian Federation, Faxes: + 7 495 606 5173 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting GRATUIT + 7 495 606 5173 end_of_the_skype_highlighting / 630 2408
Mr. Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Minister of the Interior, Ulitsa Zhitnaya, 16, 117049 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Rossiia, 117049, Moskva, Fax: + 7 495 637 49 25
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Smolenskaya-Sennaya pl, 32/34, 121200 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Fax: + 7 495 644 2203
Mr. Vladimir Lukin, Ombudsman of the Russian Federation, Tel: +7 495 607-19-22 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting GRATUIT +7 495 607-19-22 end_of_the_skype_highlighting / 607-34-67, E-mail: email@example.com
Mr. Mikhail Fedotov, Head of the Council under the President for development of civil society and human rights, Tel: +7 495 606-41-84 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting GRATUIT +7 495 606-41-84 end_of_the_skype_highlighting,Fax: +7 495 606-48-55; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; fedotov_MA@gov.ru
Mr. Alexander Ivanovich Bastrykin, Chairman of the Investigations Committee of the Russian Federation, Building 28, house 15, Naberezhnaya Akademika Tupoleva, Moscow, 105005, Russia, Tel: + 7 495 640 10 48 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting GRATUIT + 7 495 640 10 48 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
H.E. Mr. Alexey Borodavkin, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva, Avenue de la Paix 15, CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 734 40 44, E-mail: email@example.com
Ambassador Mr. Alexander Romanov, Embassy of the Russian Federation in Brussels, 66, avenue de Fre, Brussels, 1180 Brussels, Belgium. Fax: +32 2 374 26 13. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ambassador Mr. Alexander Alekseev, Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe, 75, allee de la Robertsau, 67000 Strasbourg, Fax: (+33) (0) 3 88 24 19 74, email@example.com
Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of the Russian Federation in your respective country.