Tuesday, 20 June

<< Daily Digests – June 2017 >>

— CRIMEAN TATAR LEADER RELEASED TO SEE DYING MOTHER, SAYS LAWYER —
Authorities in the annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea have allowed a leader of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis to see his dying mother. Akhtem Chiygoz’s lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, wrote on Twitter on June 20 that his client was brought to the city of Bakhchisaray to see his mother. On June 15, the Russian-installed High Court of Crimea rejected Chiygoz’s request to see his mother, who is reportedly dying of cancer. The decision sparked an outcry from Crimean Tatar activists and human rights defenders. [More … RFE/RL, 20 June 2017]

— “Gay propaganda” law ruled discriminatory by European court —
Legislation banning promotion of homosexuality encourages homophobia, says European Court of Human Rights. A Russian law that bans gay “propaganda” encourages homophobia and discrimination, the European court of human rights has ruled, in a sharply worded rebuke to the Kremlin. Three Russian gay rights activists brought the case against the 2013 federal statute, widely known as the “gay propaganda” law, after they were arrested between 2009-12 for protesting against local anti-gay laws, which became the model for the later national law. [More … The Guardian, 20 June 2017]

— ECtHR ruling exposes homophobic nature of “gay propaganda law” —
After Russian “gay propaganda law” was ruled discriminatory by ECHR today, Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Research Deputy Director, said: “This legislation has always been nothing short of homophobic.” “The law is blatantly discriminatory and violates the right to freedom of expression, and its introduction has contributed to a climate of homophobia and violence targeting LGBTI people in Russia.” [More … Amnesty International, 20 June 2017]

— Over 50 Chechen gays get help from “Russian LGBT Network” —
Since April 1, more than 100 gays from Chechnya and several members of the LGBT community from other regions of Northern Caucasus have applied for help to the “Russian LGBT Network”, the organization reports. More than 50 gays have been transported out of Chechnya, and 12 of them have already left Russia, notes a staff member of the “Russian LGBT Network”. The “Caucasian Knot” has reported that the newspaper “Novaya Gazeta” published a material about mass detentions in Chechnya of men suspected of non-traditional sexual orientation. Later, the newspaper has also reported that a “secret prison” for people with non-traditional sexual orientation was located in Argun. [More … Caucasian Knot, 20 June 2017]

— Jehovah’s Witnesses in Crimea told: renounce faith or serve in the army —
A Crimean member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses has been ordered to provide ‘proof of change of faith’ in order to be eligible for alternative civilian service. Russia is already in grave breach of international humanitarian law by conscripting young men on illegally occupied Ukrainian territory, and is now also applying a form of religious repression which hearkens back to the worst Soviet times. The young man in question received a summons from the Bakhchysarai military recruitment commission for June 14. The document includes a handwritten demand that he present “documents confirming change of religion”. [More… Human Rights in Ukraine, 20 June 2017]

— Former director Of Moscow theater detained In embezzlement case —
The former director of the embattled Moscow-based Gogol Center theater, Aleksei Malobrodsky, has been detained. The Russian Investigative Committee said on June 20 that Malobrodsky, who also used to lead the Seventh Studio theater group, is suspected of alleged embezzlement and fraud. His possible pretrial arrest is to be decided shortly, the committee said. [More … RFE/RL, 20 June 2017]
— Convicted of ‘incitement’ for reposting criticism of Russia’s war against Ukraine —
A court in Russia has found Roman Grishin guilty of ‘inciting enmity’ by reposting a musical video clip critical of Russia’s military engagement in eastern Ukraine. This was not the first time that repressive measures have been used for merely reposting the video’s hard-hitting attack on the excuses Russia uses for its aggression, but it is the first criminal prosecution. Grishin was sentenced by the Kaluga District Court on June 10 to 320 hours community service.
The conviction will be appealed, with the defence’s position prepared by Grishin’s lawyer Alexander Gavrikov, in cooperation with a lawyer from the Memorial Human Rights Centre, Denis Shedov. Since the prosecutor had demanded one and a half years’ minimum security prison sentence, it is also possible that the prosecutor could lodge an appeal, claiming that the sentence was ‘too mild’. Grishin notes that the court paid no heed to the fact that there had already been two other court proceedings over the clip. On one occasion, Nina Solovyova was sentenced to 10 days’ imprisonment, but this was at least under the Code of Administrative Offences. Now, unless a miracle happens, Grishin will have a criminal record for ‘extremism’. [More … Human Rights in Ukraine, 20 June 2017]

— Court upholds sentence on ex-head of Press Agency for extremism —
The Moscow City Court had upheld a sentence given to ex-head of the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Media (Rospechat) and one of the founders of “Rossiyskaya Gazeta” Boris Mironov, for extremism, RAPSI correspondent learnt in the courtroom on Tuesday. By its decision, the court dismissed an appeal against the sentence and upheld an earlier ruling of the Moscow Basmanny District Court of December 22, 2016, by which Mironov was fined 100,000 rubles (about $1,600) for instigation of extremism. Therefore, the sentence has taken effect. The court began hearing the criminal case against Mironov last July. [More … RAPSI, 20 June 2017]

— Navalny Rostov office coordinator “repeatedly violated rules” for protest actions” —
Today, in Rostov-on-Don, policemen have brought to the Alexei Navalny’s office an administrative protocol drafted up against Elena Kulikova, the office coordinator. Policemen saw a violation in a solo picket held on the other day. This has been reported by one of the volunteers of the Alexei Navalny’s office. The “Caucasian Knot” has reported that on June 18, the coordinator of the Alexei Navalny’s office in Rostov carried out a solo picket. In her hands, the activist was holding a poster with a slogan against corruption, and two volunteers of the Alexei Navalny’s office were making photographs. Staff members of the ROVD (District Interior Division) for the Lenin District forced all three activists to write explanations and called the picket as a group one. Today, the policemen have come to the Alexei Navalny’s office with a protocol. [More … Caucasian Knot, 19 June 2017]
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