Further acts of harassment against Mr. Stanislav Dmitrievsky - RUS 006 / 0807 / OBS 096

22/08/2007
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about further acts of judicial harassment against Mr. Stanislav Dmitrievsky, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Pravozaschita and the Executive Director of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS).

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the Russian Federation.

New information:

According to the information received, on August 17, 2007, the Nizhegorodskiy District Court of Nizhnyi-Novgorod considered a motion lodged by the Inspection to Enforce Sentences of the Nizhegorodskiy District of Nizhnyi-Novgorod for "breaching administrative law"1. The Court decided to impose on Mr. Stanislav Dmitrievsky a "ban to violate the administrative law", which, according to law, can lead to his imprisonment if he is found guilty of infringing this ban on two occasions. As a consequence, the Observatory fears that this ban might be used to turn into a real term imprisonment the conditional sentence Mr. Dmitrievsky is currently serving (See background information).

Mr. Dmitrievsky has ten days to appeal the ruling.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern regarding these new acts of judicial harassment against Mr. Stanislav Dmitrievsky, which are further evidence of the determination of the Russian authorities to hinder his activities in favour of human rights.

The Observatory further recalls that the Russian Federation was elected to the Human Rights Council in June 2006 for three years and is committed, in this regard, to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights"2.

Background information:

On February 3, 2006, Mr. Dmitrievsky received a suspended sentence of two years in prison and four years of probation for "incitement to racial hatred" by the Sovetsky District Criminal Court (Nizhnyi-Novgorod), after Pravozaschita, a joint publication of RCFS and the Nizhnyi-Novgorod Society for Human Rights (NNSHR), released statements by two Chechen separatist leaders, calling for a peaceful resolution of the Russian-Chechen conflict. On April 11, 2006, the appeals lodged by Mr. Dmitrievsky and the Prosecutor, who considered the verdict too lenient, were dismissed by the Nizhnyi-Novgorod Regional Court3.

In April 2007, Mr. Dmitrievsky was one of the organisers and active participant of the "Dissenters’ Marches" that were banned 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. Dmitrievsky.

In this regard, Ms. Marina Zaytseva, an inspector of the inter-district Inspection to Enforce Sentences #3 of Nizhegorodskiy district at the Main Department of the Federal Service to Enforce Sentences of the Russian Federation, made a written statement warning that Mr. Dmitrievsky’s conditional sentence might be changed for a real term imprisonment under Part 1 of Article 190 of the Code of Criminal of Procedure of the Russian Federation. The staff of the Inspection refused to hand in a copy of the warning to Mr. Dmitrievsky, which has made it impossible for him to appeal the warning in court. Later on, the Inspection to Enforce Sentences of the Nizhegorodskiy District of Nizhnyi-Novgorod lodged a motion for "breaching administrative law".

Furthermore, on August 16, 2007, the Prosecutor’s office issued another warning against Mr. Dmitrievsky, shortly before a press conference that was organised by human rights defenders, journalists and members of the "Other Russia", an opposition coalition on the protection of the architectural heritage of Nizhny Novgorod. Mr. Dmitrievsky was then covering the event as a journalist for the Nizhnyi Novgorod edition of Novaya Gazeta. The document, titled "warning on the inadmissibility of any violations of law on mass assemblies and law on extremism", was publicly read out by a representative of the Ministry of the Interior.

Actions requested:

The Observatory urges the authorities of the Russian Federation to:

i.Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Stanislav Dmitrievsky as well as of all human rights defenders in the Russian Federation;

ii.Ensure that his rights to a fair and impartial trial be guaranteed when appealing his ban to violate the administrative law, so that the latter be dropped, as it seems to merely sanction his human rights activities;

iii.Put an end to all acts of harassment against him as well as all other human rights defenders in the Russian Federation;

iv.Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December, 9, 1998, in particular with Article 1, which provides 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 with Article 12.2 which reads 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.Comply with the provisions of the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the 2nd Conference on the Human Dimension of the Cooperation and Security Conference in Europe (CSCE) (1990), and uphold in all circumstances the principles and provisions enshrined in the international and regional human rights instruments ratified by the Russian Federation and which, in particular, guarantee freedoms of association, demonstration, expression and opinion, in particular the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Addresses:

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, Faxes:+ 7 095 206 5173 / 230 2408, Email: president@gov.ru;
Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Ustinov, 103793 g. Moskva K-31, Ul. B. Dimitrovka, d 15a, Russian Federation, Fax: + 7 095 292 88 48;
Chairwoman of the Presidential Human Rights Commission of the Russian Federation, Ella Pamfilova, 103132 g. Moskva, Staraya ploshchad, d 8/5,pod 3, Russian Federation, Fax:+70952064855;
Minister of Internal Affairs, Rashid Nurgaliev, ul. Zhitnaya, 16, 117049 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Rossiia, 117049, Moskva, Fax: + 7 095 237 49 25;
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, Smolenskaya-Sennaya pl, 32/34, 121200 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Fax:+ 7 095 244 2203;
Ambassador Leonid Skotnikov, Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva Av. de la Paix 15, CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland, e-mail : mission.russian@ties.itu.int, fax: +4122 734 40 44;
Embassy of the Russian Federation in Brussels, 31-33 boulevard du Régent, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 513 76 49.

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of the Russian Federation in your respective country.

***
Geneva - Paris, August 22, 2007

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

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line: E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / +33 1 43 55 18 80 Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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