Thursday, 22 June

<< Daily digests – June 2017 >>

Jury deliberations have been suspended until next week in the Moscow trial of five men from Chechnya, charged with the 2015 killing of Boris Nemtsov, opposition politician and former deputy prime minister [under President Yeltsin]. Moscow military court Judge Yury Zhitnkov began reading instructions to the jury on 22 June, but then adjourned the proceedings until 22 June. Lawyers said it is likely a verdict would be delivered the same day. All five defendants reaffirmed their innocence during closing remarks on 21 June. (More, see RFE/RL, 22 June 2017)= Duma approves bill to protect top officials’ personal data =
The lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma, has approved a bill that would make the personal data of top officials and other individuals who are under the protection of the Federal Protection Service (FSO) classified information. The proposed legislation approved in its third and final reading on June 21 would request the FSO to “protect the personal data of individuals under State protection and members of their families.” (More, see RFE/RL, 22 June 2017)

= Moscow court upholds compulsory treatment of Bolotnaya activist Panfilov =
The Moscow City Court had upheld a lower court’s ruling to send the Bolotnaya Square case defendant Maxim Panfilov for compulsory treatment, RAPSI learnt in the courtroom on Thursday. The City Court dismissed an appeal submitted by the defence against the ruling of the Moscow Zamoskvoretsky district court and upheld its decision of 29 March. After the hearings closed, lawyers representing Panfilov stated that the defence would go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg. It would appeal for the ECtHR to overrule the Russian court’s decision and requesting it to shorten the time Panfilov must spend in a prison psychiatric clinic. (More, see RAPSI, 22 June 2017)

= Russian government files new bill regulating NGO activities =
The Russian government has filed a new bill regulating the activities of non-profit organizations (NGOs), it was officially announced on Thursday. According to the government, in May 2014 the Civil Code of Russia was amended to fix the list of organizational and legal forms in which non-profit organizations can be established. At the same time, the law on NGOs was not updated to take these changes into account. The new bill introduces specifics concerning state registration of non-profit organizations, the use of means of individualization by NGOs, and cancellation of their activities. The bill also codifies the norms that determine the competence of higher collegial bodies of non-profit organizations and the requirements pertaining to their charters. (More, see RAPSI, 22 June 2017)

= Rizvan Ibragimov claims his prosecution initiated by law enforcers =
Chechen commentator Rizvan Ibragimov has claimed that the criminal proceedings against him were initiated by senior officials from the law enforcement and power agencies of the republic. As “Caucasian Knot” reported on20 June, the Staropromyslovsky district court in Grozny sentenced Rizvan Ibragimov to two and a half years of conditional imprisonment on the charge of extremism. The publicist believes that the verdict of guilty was predetermined. (More, see Caucasian Knot, 22 June 2017)

= Russian FSB “expert” in trial of Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov has no knowlege of the language =
The trial of Ilmi Umerov for saying only what the UN and entire democratic world says about Russia’s occupation of Crimea was always going to seem grotesquely Kafkaesque. It has now transpired that Russia did not (or could not) even find an ‘expert’ willing to give testimony against the Crimean Tatar leader who knew the Crimean Tatar language. This is no small omission given that Umerov is on trial for statements made in that language.

On 21 June, during the questioning of the Russian FSB’s ‘specialist’, Olga Ivanova, she proved to have studied as a linguist and translator of English and Chinese, and to have worked for the FSB for the last two years. She said that she had been given a text which the investigator called the ‘transcript’ of Umerov’s interview to TV ATR, as well as the actual video. She had not watched the latter (in Crimean Tatar) and could not therefore say whether the text had or had not been a transcript. This alone is a flagrant breach of the law. (More, see Human Rights in Ukraine, 22 June 2017)

= Crimean Tatar leader’s trial in Simferopol =
The trial of a Crimean Tatar leader who has criticized Russia’s seizure of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine resumed on 21 June. Russian authorities who control Crimea have filed separatism charges against Ilmi Umerov — deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatars’ self-governing body, the Mejlis, which is now banned by Moscow. Umerov was charged in May 2016 after publicly opposing Russia’s March 2014 armed takeover of Crimea. He denies the charges, saying he has the right to express his opinions. His trial began on 7 June. (More, see RFE/RL, 21 June 2017)

= Journalist turns to police after being beaten in North Ossetia =
The police have accepted an application about beating on 19 June in North Ossetia of Pyotr Pliev, a journalist of the “Rossiyskaya Gazeta”. The journalist links the attack on him with his professional activities. According to Valery Gizoyev, a friend and fellow villager of the beaten-up journalist, the attack on the 67-year-old Pyotr Pliev was committed in the evening on 19 June.

“He was my guest in the evening on 19 June. We talked for a while; then he went home. He walked for quite a little, when two Zhiguli cars drove up to him and stopped. Then, the journalist was struck from behind; he lost consciousness and recovered only at 4:00 a.m. on 20 June. According to his story, he still feels pain,” Valery Gizoyev told the Caucasian Knot correspondent. (More, see Caucasian Knot, 21 June 2017)