Judicial harassment against the director of the RCFS goes on

Press release

Geneva - Paris, August 16, 2007. The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in the framework of their joint programme, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, express their deep concern about new acts of judicial harassment against Mr. Stanislaw Dmitrievskiy, Executive Director of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS).

On August 17, 2007, the Nizhegorodskiy District Court of Nizhny Novgorod will consider a motion lodged by the Inspection to Execute Punishment of Nizhegorodskiy district of Nizhny Novgorod, which could lead to further sanctions against Mr. Stanislaw Dmitrievskiy, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Pravozaschita and the executive director of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS), for “breaching administrative law”. If the motion of the Inspection is taken into account by the Court, the conditional sentence that he is currently serving [1] could indeed be turned into real term imprisonment.

In April 2007, Mr. Dmitrievskiy was one of the organisers and active participant of the “Marches of Dissenters” that were not authorised by the authorities. In connection with these events, the Peace Court #1 of Nizhegorodskiy district issued two rulings (on June 5 and 6, 2007) ordering that administrative proceedings be undertaken against Mr. Dmitrievskiy. In this regard, Ms. Marina Zaytseva, an inspector of the inter-district inspection to execute punishment #3 of Nizhegorodskiy district at the Main Department of the Federal Service to Execute Punishment of the Russian Federation, made a written statement warning that Mr. Dmitrievskiy’s conditional sentence might be changed for a real term imprisonment under Part 1 of Article 190 of the Criminal and Execution Code of the Russian Federation. The staff of the Inspection refused to hand in a copy of the warning to Mr. Dmitrievskiy, which has made it impossible for him to appeal the warning in court.

Furthermore, on August 16, 2007, the Prosecutor’s office issued an official warning against Mr. Dmitrievskiy personally, shortly before a press conference that was organised by human rights defenders, journalists and members of the “Other Russia” opposition coalition on the protection of the architectural heritage of Nizhny Novgorod. Mr. Dmitrievskiy was then covering the event as a journalist for the Nizhny Novgorod edition of the Novaya Gazeta. The warning “on the inadmissibility of any violations of law on mass assemblies and law on extremism” was read out by a representative of the Ministry of the Interior in presence of a dozen of peoples, including different force agencies. In response, Mr. Dmitriesvkiy inquired on what grounds a press-conference and an excursion in the historical area were taken as an action of extremist character. He received no answers.

The Observatory strongly condemns these new acts of judicial harassment against Mr. Stanislaw Dmitrievsky, which are further evidence of the determination of the Russian Federation to hinder the work of human rights defenders, and urges the Russian authorities to put an immediate end to any act of harassment against all human rights defenders operating in the Russia, so as to conform with international and regional human rights standards and instruments ratified by the Federation.

The Observatory further calls upon the Russian authorities to ensure that the administrative proceedings against Mr. Dmitrievskiy be dealt with in a fair and impartial manner so that the charges against him be dropped as they seem to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities.

Finally, the Observatory urges the Russian authorities to conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular 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 realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels” as well as its Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or 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”.

For further information, please contact:
OMCT : Delphine Reculeau, + 00 41 22 809 49 39
FIDH : Gael Grilhot, + 00 33 1 43 55 25 18

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