A society under control: misuse of the fight against terrorism and extremism in Russia

The Russian ("Ро

A society under control: misuse of the fight against terrorism and extremism in Russia

In April 2009, the Russian authorities announced an end to its anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya. However, the recent kidnapping and assassination of Natalia Estemirova, a defender working for the Human Rights Centre "Memorial"in Grozny have served to remind how daily life in that republic is still rife with murders, kidnappings and violence.

Beyond Chechnya, emergency law practices, arbitrary arrests, the use of intimidation and torture and the fabrication of criminal cases are on the increase throughout the Russian Federation. These practices are carried out in the name of the fight against terrorism and extremism in a climate of impunity resulting from the corruption of the judicial system.

These practices are highlighted in a report issued by FIDH and the Civic Assistance Committee entitled "A society under control: misuse of the fight against terrorism and extremism in Russia". The report is the result of an international investigative mission conducted in Russia in 2008 and focuses on the North Caucasus, the Republic of Tatarstan and the cities of the Russian Federation.

The authors of the report analyse the system of the fight against terrorism and extremism. They demonstrate how a complex legislation capable of numerous interpretations is used against the political opposition, the media and NGOs and against followers of "non-traditional" Islam, as witnessed by the trial currently taking place in the town of Kazan (Tatarstan).

FIDH and the Civic Assistance Committee conclude by calling upon the Russian authorities to ensure that the legislation and methods used in the fight against terrorism and extremism are in conformity with the international human rights obligations of the Russian Federation, to take measures to combat torture and to guarantee the principles of independence of the judiciary and rights of the defence as well as freedom of expression, opinion and association.

A press conference to present the report by FIDH and the Civic Assistance Committee took place at 10.30 am on 23 July 2009 at the Independent Press Centre in Moscow.

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