Wednesday, 14 June

<< Daily Digest – June 2017 >>

= St. Petersburg Ombudsman Says City Authorities Provoked Protests =
The ombudsman of Russia’s second largest city, St. Petersburg, has accused city authorities of “provoking” unsanctioned protests. An estimated 1,560 people were detained at anticorruption demonstrations nationwide on June 12 that were organized by opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, including more than 500 in St. Petersburg. Aleksandr Shishlov wrote on his website that “hundreds of people, including teenagers, journalists, observers and other people, who did not pose any social threat” were detained during the anticorruption protests in the city on June 12. […]
Source: RFE/RL [14 June 2017]= Russian Court Turns Down Request Of Navalny’s Jailed Brother To Mitigate Sentence =
A request by Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny’s jailed brother to have his sentence mitigated has been rejected by a court. The Uritsky District Court in the Oryol region said on June 14 that Oleg Navalny’s request was rejected, without giving any details. Meanwhile Aleksei Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh wrote on Twitter that the court explained the denial of the request by Oleg Navalny’s inability to display “law-abiding behavior.” […]
Source: RFE/RL [14 June 2017]


= Russian MPs back Moscow demolition project despite protests =
Russian MPs have passed a controversial law to start demolishing more than 4,500 old Soviet-era apartment blocks in Moscow, despite big protests. It is the biggest demolition project ever seen in Russia’s capital and the rehousing is to begin later this year. Opponents say their right to private property has been infringed and fear being moved to remote tower blocks. The Duma (lower house) backed the law overwhelmingly. The revised text allows residents to vote against demolition. […] Source: BBC [14 June 2017]

= Protesters Detained As Duma Approves Moscow Demolitions =
Russian police arrested protesters outside the State Duma, as it gave final approval to plans for mass demolitions of privately-owned housing in Moscow. […]
Source: RFE/RL [14 June 2017]
= State Duma passes bill banning anonymous messenger accounts in first reading =
The State Duma has adopted a bill regulating the work of messaging services and prohibiting anonymous use of online messengers in the first reading. On June 9, the bill was supported by the State Duma Committee on Information Policy. A group of lawmakers submitted the bill to the lower house of Russia’s parliament on May 24. Amendments are proposed to the Federal Law “On Information, Information Technology and Information Protection”. […]
Source: RAPSI [14 June 2017]= UN rights watchdog stops Ukraine from extraditing asylum seeker to Russia =
The UN Human Rights Committee has ordered the Ukrainian authorities to halt extradition of Timur Tumgoev to Russia, pending consideration of his assertion that he would face torture if forcibly returned. The appeal to the UN watchdog against the planned extradition was sent in April by Kharkiv Human Rights Group lawyers after all other avenues failed. 30-year-old Tumgoev is from Ingushetia in the Russian Federation and was detained at Kharkiv Airport on June 17, 2016 on his arrival from Turkey where he had been living for two years. The detention was yet again because Russia had placed him on the INTERPOL wanted list. He has been held in the Kharkiv SIZO [remand prison] ever since. […]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [14 June 2017]

= Health Concerns for Ukrainian Serving Insane Sentence as Russia’s Revenge for Maidan =
Andriy Kolomiyets, one of the two Ukrainians whom Russia has imprisoned on fabricated charges linked with Euromaidan, has reported worrying symptoms and asked for medical tests. There are grounds for concern as the other Ukrainian Oleksandr Kostenko has been persistently denied treatment for a serious injury inflicted by the FSB after his arrest. Kolomiyets’ wife Galina reports that her husband’s formal application for an examination refers to recurrent bad headaches, nausea, spots before his eyes, pain at the back of the head and other symptoms. He speaks of spots which first appeared when he was arrested, and have now spread all over his body, itching and sometimes emitting pus. 23-year-old Kolomiyets was the second Ukrainian to be arrested on legally nihilistic charges which were not only unprovable, but concerned events over which Russia could have no jurisdiction. His arrest was effectively proof that any Ukrainian who had taken part in Euromaidan was in danger of arrest and torture if they went to Russia or Crimea under Russian occupation. […]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [14 June 2017]

= Crimean Journalist Hopes To Steer Trial Away From ‘Politics’ =
Crimean journalist Mykola Semena has told RFE/RL that he welcomes the chance to make a straightforward, law-based case for his innocence at a trial he said has so far been dominated by politically charged statements by Russian prosecutors. Semena, who is fighting what he says is a baseless, politically motivated separatism charge at a trial in Russian-controlled Crimea, spoke before a hearing on June 14. “Up to now, only the prosecutors have been given the floor to talk — and every one of their statements or motions in the trial has had political connotations,” said Semena, an RFE/RL contributor. “That is why our goal now, as we move to a new stage of the trial, is to turn the process into a legal discussion — so that the opinions were expressed solely based on law, not political ideas,” he said. The defense had been expected to begin making its case at the June 14 hearing, but the judge quickly adjourned the trial until June 21 after a Russian-Ukrainian translator did not show up. Semena faces up to five years in prison if convicted by Russia, which has jailed several people from Crimea who opposed or have criticized Moscow’s 2014 seizure of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine. The charge against Semena, 66, stems from an article he wrote for RFE/RL’s Krym.Realii (Crimea Realities) website in 2015. The Kremlin-installed authorities in Crimea have charged that the article called for the violation of Russia’s territorial integrity. […]
Source: RFE/RL [14 June 2017]