Wednesday, 28 June

<< Daily Digests – June 2017 >>

— ITALIANS ARRESTED IN NIZHNY NOVGOROD HAVE BEEN FINED —
Members of the human rights organisation “Antigone” (Rome, Italy) were fined on 27 June 2017 for violating migration rules in Russia, reports Irina Protasova, Chair of the “Individual and Law” NGO (Yoshkar-Ola, Russia). Both NGOs are members of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. According to Protasova, the human rights activists were held in the police station for about six hours. During this time, the migration service representatives completed five reports on administrative offences. Each of the “Antigone” members visiting Nizhny Novgorod was fined 2,000 roubles (about 35 euros). After leaving the police station, the Italian activists went back to Yoshkar-Ola. (More, see EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, 28 June 2017)= DADIN WANTS INCREASED COMPENSATION FOR UNLAWFUL PROSECUTION =
Russian activist Ildar Dadin has filed an appeal with the Moscow Region Court demanding an increase in the amount of compensation awarded to him for unlawful prosecution, his lawyer Alexei Liptser told RAPSI on Wednesday. In late May, a court in the Moscow Region granted in part a lawsuit filed by Dadin and ordered Russia’s Finance Ministry to pay him 2.2 million roubles (about $37,000 at the current exchange rate). (More, see RAPSI, 28 June 2017)

= ST. PETERSBURG COURT DETAINS “HIZB UT-TAHRIR” MEMBER =
The St. Petersburg Kirovsky district court has detained Magomet Akhimov, an alleged member of Hizb ut-Tahrir terrorist organization banned in Russia, until 30 July, RAPSI reported from the courtroom on Wednesday. The hearings were held behind closed doors, and reporters were admitted only when the judicial ruling  was pronounced. According to the case materials, several members of the terrorist group were arrested by police on 27 June. (More, see RAPSI, 28 June 2017)

= ARREST OF ST. PETERSBURG SCIENTOLOGY EXECUTIVE UPHELD =
The St. Petersburg City Court had upheld the detention of Galina Shurinova, the executive director of the Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg, who stands charged with participation in an extremist organization, the unified press service of St. Petersburg courts told RAPSI on Wednesday. Earlier this month Shurinova appealed against her detention by a lower court; however, today the St. Petersburg City Court dismissed her appeal. (More, see RAPSI, 28 June 2017)

= UPPER HOUSE APPROVES RAZING OF SOVIET-ERA APARTMENT BLOCKS =
The Federation Council has approved controversial legislation to demolish thousands of Soviet-era apartment buildings in Moscow. The bill was supported on 28 June by 147 lawmakers in the upper house of parliament, with four abstentions and no votes against, state media reported. The latest in a series of protests against the plan was held outside the parliament building, during which the head of the opposition Yabloko Party’s Moscow branch, Sergei Mitrokhin, was detained. (More, see RFE/RL, 28 June 2017)

= JURY DELIBERATIONS AGAIN SUSPENDED IN NEMSTOV KILLERS’ CASE =
The second day of jury deliberations in the trial of five men charged in connection with the 2015 killing of Russian opposition politician and former First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov has been completed. The court has adjourned until 29 June. On 28 June the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict in the three hours allotted by Russian law, and began the process of responding to the court’s 26 queries on the basis of majority votes. At about 5 p.m. Moscow time, the judge reported that the jurors were tired and suspended the proceedings until 11 a.m. on 29 June. (More, see RFE/RL, 28 June 2017)

= DEFENSE LAWYER BALKS AT MOSCOW LAW SCHOOL’S STALIN TRIBUTE  =

Respected Russian defense attorney and legal scholar Genri Reznik has resigned from the faculty of the Moscow State Law Academy in protest against the erection of a plaque commemorating a speech there by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

“On June 17, 1924, in this hall, Josef Vissarionovich Stalin delivered a report on the results of the 13th Congress of the Russian Communist Party,” the plaque reads. The original plaque was erected at the peak of the Stalin-era Cult of Personality in 1949 and removed in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“The first thing the Bolshevik leader did was to bury the law,” Reznik wrote on his blog on the Echo Moskvy website. “Stalin embodied massive extrajudicial mechanisms and repressions, including personal summonses, two- and three-man hearings [the extra-judicial dvoika and troika], legalized torture, and the liquidation of the independent judiciary, the presumption of innocence, and the principle of legal advocacy.” (More, see //RFE/RL, 28 June 2017)

= UPPER HOUSE BACKS BILL BLOCKING MIRROR WEBSITES =
The upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, on Wednesday approved a draft law on blocking copies of websites containing illegal information (mirror websites). The bill was drafted based on examination of practice of a permanent blocking of 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 certain deficiencies including inapplicability of prompt measures regarding automatically created “mirrors” of the blocked websites. (More, see RAPSI, 28 June 2017)

= SENATORS THREATEN FOREIGN MEDIA CLAMPDOWN =

The Russian parliament is considering new legislation which could see dozens of foreign Russian-language media outlets banned from operating within the country. Russia’s Federation Council, the upper chamber of the country’s parliament, is debating new laws which would force Russian-language outlets to disclose how they are funded.

Media companies receiving money from abroad would be forced to register as “foreign agents,” opening them up to increased state scrutiny. Leonid Klimov, head of the council’s committee for the protection of state sovereignty, said that the proposed bill would apply to all foreign outlets broadcasting in Russian, even if they were registered abroad. (More, see The Moscow Times, 28 June 2017)

= CHECHNYA DETAINEE’S FAMILY DO NOT KNOW HIS WHEREABOUTS =

Relatives of Rasambek Bekmurzaev, detained in Chechnya on suspicion of killing three law enforcers 17 years ago, are concerned at the lack of information about his fate. Rasambek Bekmurzaev was detained by FSB agents, a source from the police reported.

The “Caucasian Knot” reported that on 21 June, 37-year-old Rasambek Bekmurzaev was detained in the town of Urus-Martan. According to the investigation, after the suspect had killed the three law enforcement officers, he was admitted to a militant grouping led by Arbi Barayev, a well-known field commander (killed in a special operation in 2001). In recent years, the suspect worked as a taxi driver in Chechnya. The wife of Rasambek Bekmurzaev said her husband is innocent and asked the leader of Chechnya to help him return home. (More, see Caucasian Knot, 27 June 2017)

= ACTIVIST MARK GALPERIN UNDER HOUSE ARREST =
A Moscow court has placed civic activist Mark Galperin, charged with incitement to extremism, under house arrest, in response to such a request made by investigators. In February Galperin was detained and questioned by FSB officers, concerning the activist’s video bogs in which, allegedly, he called for actions directed towards the “violation of the territorial integrity of Russia”. Galperin was formally charged on 15 June. (More, see Radio Svoboda (in Russian), 27 June 2017)

 

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