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As the dust settles: Russian authorities move against protesters and campaigners

New evidence of police violations against protesters emerges, and regional authorities take aim at Alexei Navalny's campaign offices. 

OVD-Info
30 June 2017
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Conditions for people detained at anti-corruption protests have been poor. Image: Polina Kostyleva.

We continue our partnership with OVD-Infoan NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday, we bring you the latest information on freedom of assembly. 

We have collected and analysed a large number of reports of violations by Russian police officers at anti-corruption rallies held on 12 June. Now we are able to say with certainty there have been 109 violations. Police officers exceeded the permitted time for administrative detention, wrote official reports with numerous mistakes, and did not allow lawyers to visit those detained. In one of the St Petersburg police stations, a detainee contracted pneumonia after spending the night in a cold cell. This was despite the fact that he had warned the police officers he was in poor health and should not get cold. The list of violations with legal commentaries can be seen here.

This week a number of individuals requested political asylum abroad. Krasnodar artists Lusiney Dzhanyan and Aleksei Knedlyakovsky requested asylum in Sweden. The artists said that their telephones had been tapped, and in 2013 Dzhanyan was dismissed from Krasnodar University of Culture for supporting Pussy Riot and exhibiting in a gallery owned by Marat Gelman. But it’s not only those who create modern art who can fall victim to persecution. Children’s drawings in chalk can also evoke the dissatisfaction of the authorities. Mikhail Petrov, a martial arts trainer from Pskov, has left Russia because he feared persecution by the authorities. It is thought the authorities’ interest in the trainer was related to the fact that he and his students had drawn anti-military drawings on the walls of buildings belonging to a military air assault division. He has requested political asylum in Estonia. 

Supporters of Alexei Navalny continue to be persecuted. In the town of Cherepovets, writer and journalist Elena Kolyadina was dismissed by the newspaper Golos Cherepovtsa for giving a lecture to staff of Navalny’s local election campaign office. In the Siberian city of Barnaul, the coordinator of the campaign office was injured with a knife, while earlier someone set fire to one of the office’s windows. In Vladimir, the local branch of the Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network asked its chief engineer to resign because he had headed Navalny’s local campaign office. Meanwhile, in Rostov-on-Don a car belonging to the head of Navalny’s office was covered with paint and its tyres were punctured.

The Investigative Committee completed its investigation into one more defendant in the “26 March case”. Dmitry Krepkin is charged with using force against a police officer during the anti-corruption protest in Moscow. Krepkin maintains his innocence. Moreover, he has said that he was himself assaulted at the time of his detention at the 26 March protest. Doctors at the emergency medical centre recorded bruising all over his body. He had been struck at least six times.   

The pre-trial detention of mathematician Dmitry Bogatov was extended until 31 August. Bogatov has been charged with incitement to riot on the grounds that he had posted appeals on the SysAdmins.ru forum to go out on to Red Square on 2 April 2017 under the pseudonym of “Airat Bashirov”. The appeals were sent from Bogatov’s IP address. However, since Bogatov operates a Tor exit node, any user could have posted the materials using his IP.

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