Friday, 23 June

<< June digests – 2017 >>

— NAVALNY BARRED FROM NEXT YEAR’S PRESIDENTIAL POLL —

Back in January this year Alexei Navalny told the BBC’s Hardtalk programme that he would fight on, no matter what the result of his retrial in February on embezzlement charges. Now the Russian opposition leader has been formally barred from standing in the 1918 presidential election. The Central Electoral Commission has ruled that Alexei Navalny may not stand because he was found guilty in February and given a suspended sentence. Mr Navalny says the case against him was politically motivated. In the winter of 2011-12, the anti-corruption campaigner led mass street protests against Vladimir Putin (more, see BBC, 23 June 2017).

— “I HAD TO BREATHE THROUGH MY CLOTHES”: PEPPER SPRAY USED IN POLICE CELL —

When anti-corruption protests took place in cities across Russia earlier this month, police in St. Petersburg detained over 600 demonstrators. Their experience in jail is highlighting the seemingly widespread abuse of detainees by the Russian police. Protester Oleg Kabatov says he had never been arrested before, so he was unprepared for what awaited him. For two days after his detention in St. Petersburg, Kabatov was held in police custody where he witnessed an incident that has provoked widespread outrage (more, see The Moscow Times, 23 June 2017).

— STATE DUMA PASSES BILL BLOCKING MIRROR WEBSITES —

The State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, has adopted a bill in the third and final hearing on blocking mirror websites containing illegal information. The bill was drafted after examining the experience of permanently blocking  websites, which repeatedly and illegally distributed information containing objects of copyright and (or) related rights, or information required for procurement thereof with the use of data telecommunications networks. The examination has revealed some deficiencies including the inapplicability of prompt measures regarding automatically created “mirrors” of the blocked websites (more, see RAPSI, 23 June 2017).

— MEDIA WATCHDOG WARNS “TELEGRAM” OF POTENTIAL BLOCK —

Alexander Zharov, the head of Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor, has requested the management of the Telegram messaging service, including one of the company founders Pavel Durov, to comply with Russian legislation. Otherwise the service could be blocked, reads Zharov’s statement issued on Friday.

Roskomnadzor demands that Telegram follow the rules for organizers of information distribution. “There is only one requirement, and it is simple: fill out the questionnaire sent to you with information about Telegram’s managing company,” Zharov said. He added that the company also needs to officially ask the watchdog to enter this information in a special registry. The head of Roskomnadzor noted that Telegram’s legal status will not be affected (more, see RAPSI, 23 June 2017).

— FOUNDER OF “TELEGRAM” DEFIES OFFICIAL ULTIMATUM —

The founder of a Russian encrypted messaging app is defying the government’s request to provide information about his company. On Friday the head of the Russian communications regulator (Roskomnadzoror)  in an open letter to Telegram founder Pavel Durov threatened to block the messaging company unless Durov hands over details of the app.

The move would require Telegram, which prides itself on privacy, to keep and share users’ chat histories and encryption keys with the government. Durov said in a post on his social media page Friday that the threat to block Telegram was “sabotage of State interests,” (more, see New York Times, via Associated Press; 23 June 2017)

— 10 YEARS FOR REFUSING TO TESTIFY AGAINST INNOCENT MEN —

“They also have children, families. How would I later explain to my daughter what conscience and honour mean if I did something like that?” said Arsen Dzhepparov, explaining his refusal to collaborate with the FSB. How can you provide false testimony for Russia’s FSB against your own uncle, he asked, or against fellow Crimean Tatars, fellow Muslims, whom you don’t know?

For Refat Alimov and Arsen Dzhepparov from Krasnokamenka the answer was clear: you don’t, but they are paying a heavy price for their integrity. The two young men have been held in in custody in Russian-occupied Crimea since April 2016, charged, together with a human rights activist and three other Crimean Muslims with unproven involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir, a peaceful organization that is legal in Ukraine. (More, see Human Rights in Ukraine, 23 June 2017)

— MOSCOW CITY COURT UPHOLDS PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT FOR PANFILOV —

The Moscow City Court has upheld as lawful the decision to send Maxim Panfilov  for compulsory treatment in a psychiatric hospital. Panfilov was sentenced for his involvement in the mass protests in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square on 6 May 2012. His defence team intend to appeal against the decision to the European Court of Human Rights. Caucasian Knot reported that on 29 March the Zamoskvoretsky district court in Moscow freed the Astrakhan resident from criminal responsibility for his part in the 2012 mass protests in Bolotnaya Square. The court ruled that Maxim Panfilov be sent for compulsory psychiatric treatment. (More, see Caucasian Knot, 23 June 2017)

— CHECHNYA RESIDENT DETAINED FOR KILLING THREE IN 2000 —

On 21 June, in Urus-Martan, agents of secret services detained a 37-year-old resident of Chechnya, suspected of killing three officers of the federal forces almost 17 years ago.

The murder of the three officers from the FSB and the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, of which the man is suspected, was committed in an car sales market in Urus-Martan in October 2000, reports a source from the law enforcement agencies of the Chechen Republic. The unnamed man approached the officers from behind and shot and killed them using a Makarov pistol. Then he “fired in the air with a submachine gun seized from one of the killed officers to scare the people who came to the market” and disappeared, the source explained to the Caucasian Knot correspondent. (More, see Caucasian Knot, 22 June 2017)

 

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