Wednesday 21 June

<< Daily digests – June 2017 >>

RUSSIA GIVES AKHTEM CHIYGOZ 10 MINUTES WITH HIS DYING MOTHER —
Jailed Crimean Tatar Mejlis leader Akhtem Chiygoz was allowed a meeting lasting only 10 minutes on Tuesday with his mother who is dying of cancer. Russia finally relented to that barest modicum of humanity after almost two weeks of rejecting any calls, despite the critical urgency of the situation. Chiygoz was taken secretly away from the Simferopol SIZO [remand prison] during the break in his ‘trial’, which he is prevented from attending in person. He was driven, surrounded by plain-clothed FSB officers to his parents’ home in Bakhchysarai for the cruelly brief final parting. Akhtem Chiygoz has passed on his gratitude to all those who helped make this meeting, that should never have been in question, possible. (More, see Human Rights in Russia, 21 June 2017)— Trial Of Crimean Journalist Semena Adjourned Until July —

The trial of Mykola Semena, an RFE/RL contributor who is fighting what he says is a politically motivated separatism charge on the Russian-controlled peninsula, has been adjourned until July 7. The defense had been expected to begin making its case at the June 21 hearing, but the judge quickly adjourned the trial after several witnesses, an expert from Russia’s Federal Security Service, and a translator did not show up in the courtroom. Semena’s trial in the Crimean capital, Simferopol, has been delayed several times for various reasons since it started on March 20. (More, see RFE/RL,[21 June 2017)

— Activist Flees Crimea Fearing For Safety —

Ukrainian activist Natalya Kharchenko says she has fled the Russian-annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea, fearing for her safety. Kharchenko told the Crimean Human Rights Group on June 21 that she moved from Simferopol to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, to avoid “persecution” from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). Kharchenko is the wife of the former director of the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Crimea, Andriy Vinohradov. (More, see RFE/RL, 21 June 20170

— Russian Regions Slash Cancer Spending Amid Rising Costs —

Russian regions are being forced to slash spending on cancer medications amid growing costs, new data has revealed. Statistics for 2016 show that spending on oncology treatment has fallen in almost half of Russia’s 85 regions, Russian tabloid Izvestia reported Wednesday. Some areas cut funds by almost half, with the Far-Easter region of Sakhalin decreasing their annual spending by 48.5 percent. The Khanty-Mansi region saw spending decrease by 47.9 percent, while the Magadan Region cut spending by 39 percent. (More, see The Moscow Times, 21 June 2017)

— State Duma passes bill regulating Federal Guard Service’s activities —

The State Duma has passed a bill aimed to improve the Federal Guard Service’s (FSO) efficiency in the third and final reading. The bill, filed by the President, specifies the special aspects of service with state security bodies and establishes irregular working hours for certain categories of FSO employees, who are to be chosen by the director of the service or an authorized person. According to the draft law, persons employed by state security bodies will have to pass mandatory fingerprint registration. The amendments also introduce new grounds for dismissal or refusal to be admitted in military services, federal civil services, or FSO. The use of drugs without required prescription may be qualified as a sufficient reason. (More, see RAPSI, 21 June 2017)

— Putin critic living in Ukraine seized, tortured and jailed in Russia —

Denis Bakholdin, a Moscow activist and opponent of Russia’s war against Ukraine has been found in a Russian SIZO, or remand prison, three months after he disappeared in Kyiv. Little is known about how he came to be there, with this and the apparent use of torture chillingly reminiscent of stories of how Ukrainians have come to be in Russian detention. According to Svetlana Sidorkina, a Russian lawyer well-known to Ukrainians for her defence of Oleksandr Kolchenko, Bakholdin is charged with involvement in an ‘extremist society’ (under Article 282.1 § 2 of the Russian criminal code). She told Mediazona that she had seen Bakholdin, who had refused to give any testimony and had not signed anything. Sidorkina has not been provided with any documents, and has no idea what the charges are based on. (More, see Human Rights in Ukraine, 21 June 2017)

— Chechen publicist Ibragimov given a 2½ year suspended sentence —

In Grozny, the court has found publicist Rizvan Ibragimov guilty of inciting hatred and enmity and sentenced him to 2 years and 6 months of conditional imprisonment. Ibragimov has already announced his intention to challenge the court’s decision. The “Caucasian Knot” has reported that in July 2016, the books written by Rizvan Ibragimov were recognized as extremist, and a criminal case was opened against the publicist himself. At the trial, Rizvan Ibragimov said that he was kidnapped by law enforcers in April 2016 and after that he was subjected to torture by electric current. Rizvan Ibragimov called his further meeting with Ramzan Kadyrov an “act of public humiliation.” (More, see .Caucasian Knot, 21 June 2017)

— Activists report arrest of organizer of protest walks in Krasnodar —

Natalia Kudeeva (Smirnova), a coordinator of protest walks and a member of the “Art Training”, was arrested for 14 days on the charge of public demonstration of Nazi symbols. This has been reported by Alexander Rastorguev, the leader of the “New Opposition”. Natalia Kudeeva (Smirnova) was arrested “for reposting a picture,” writes Alexander Rastorguev on his page in Facebook.(More, see Caucasian Knot, 21 June 2017)

— Nemtsov family lawyer urges Kadyrov to acknowledge his guilt —
Ramzan Kadyrov, Delimkhanov brothers and Ruslan Geremeev should plead guilty in the case of Boris Nemtsov’s murder, the victims’ advocate has stated at today’s meeting of the Moscow District Military Court. The “Caucasian Knot” has reported that on May 31, the Moscow District Military Court announced the investigation in the case to be completed. The investigators consider Ruslan Mukhudinov to be a person who ordered the murder of Boris Nemtsov. However, according to the Boris Nemtsov’s family members, the actual assassin’s paymaster should be sought among top-ranking officials of Chechnya. (More, see Caucasian Knot, 20 June 2017)

 

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