Russia: Conviction and arbitrary detention of Sergei Davidis

29/04/2021
Urgent Appeal

RUS 003 / 0421 / OBS 052
Conviction /
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Russian Federation
April 29, 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the Russian Federation.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed about the conviction and arbitrary detention of Sergei Davidis, member of the board of Memorial Human Rights Center (HRC Memorial) [1], a member organisation of FIDH, and director of the HRC Memorial “Support for Political Prisoners” program.

On April 27, 2021, Sergei Davidis was sentenced by the Meshchansky District Court to ten days of administrative detention under Part 2 of Article 20.2 of the Code of Administrative Offences of Russia (“organising a public event without filing a notice”) for making a retweet, on April 18, 2021, containing information about the April 21 pro-Navalny rallies [2].

On April 25, 2021, Sergei Davidis was arbitrarily arrested by the Moscow police in the entrance hall of his apartment building. Mr. Davidiswas taken to the Shchukino police station, and subsequently transfered to the Meshchansky police station without any explanation. He was later charged with “organising a public event without filing a notice”. At the time of publication of this urgent appeal, Mr. Davidis remains detained at the Meshchansky police station, where he is serving his sentence.

The Observatory points out that several other Russian human rights defenders and activists were detained by the police on April 25, 2021. All of them are charged under Part 2 of Article 20.2 of the Code of the Administrative Offences of Russia in connection with the April 21, 2021 rallies.

The Observatory recalls that, since 2019, the HRC Memorial and the International Memorial have been subjected to administrative harassment. The authorities have filed over 30 administrative cases against NGOs of the International Memorial network under the "Foreign Agents” law and imposed them fines, in relation to the administrative cases, for the total amount of 6,1 million rubles (approximately 67,900 Euros). Furthermore, both organisations have been subjected to unscheduled prosecutor’s inspections, vilification by state-owned media [3] and harassment by private actors condoned by the State, including vandalisation of the offices of International Memorial in 2012 and attacks against the attendees of an International Memorial-sponsored annual award in 2016 [4].

The Observatory condemns the conviction of Sergei Davidis and expresses its utmost concern over his arbitrary detention, which seems to be only aimed at intimidating him and his colleagues from the HRC “Memorial” and ultimately coerce them into giving up their legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory urges the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Sergei Davidis, to drop the charges against him and to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against him and all human rights defenders and organisations in Russia.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Russia, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Sergei Davidis and all other human rights defenders in Russia;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Sergei Davidis as his detention is arbitrary and merely aimed at intimidating him and diverting him from his legitimate human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Sergei Davidis and all other human rights defenders in Russia, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities and exercise their rights without any hindrance or fear of reprisals.

Addresses:

· Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Twitter: @KremlinRussia_E
· Mr. Mikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Twitter:@GovernmentRF
· Mr. Sergueï Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, E-mail: ministry@mid.ru
· Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail: mission.russian@vtxnet.ch
· Embassy of the Russian Federation in Brussels, Belgium. E-mail: mission.russian@vtxnet.ch
· Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe, France. Email: russia.coe@orange.fr

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of the Russian Federation in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, April 29, 2021

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel. FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18
· Tel. OMCT: +41 (0) 22 809 49 39

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