Free Russia Foundation Statement Against Persecution of Human Rights Defenders in Occupied Crimea
May 30, 2019
FREE RUSSIA FOUNDATION STATEMENT AGAINST PERSECUTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN OCCUPIED CRIMEA
On May 30, 2019 two Crimean Tatar activists, Lutfie Zudieva and Mumine Salieva, were detained by the Russian authorities (Center for Combating Extremism) in occupied Crimea. Lutfie Zudieva was apprehended on her way home from the market, while Mumine Salieva was approached by security forces at her home.
Lutfie Zudieva and Mumine Salieva are being accused of “propaganda or public display of extremist organizations” under Article 20.3 of the Russian Federation Code of Administrative Offences.
Lutfie Zudieva is both a director of the children’s center “Elif” and an activist. She has also been a civic defender within the judicial process of participants in the picket on December 18, 2017.
Mumine Salieva, wife of political prisoner Seiran Saliev, is a human rights activist and founder of the “Crimean Childhood” initiative, which aims in assisting children in occupied Crimea. She is also an active participant of Crimean Solidarity movement, whose goal is to help all of the political prisoners suffering from injustice within Crimea at the hands of the Kremlin regime. To this end, members of Crimean Solidarity provide legal, financial, and moral assistance to the victims and their relatives.
The lawyers were denied access to Crimean Tatar activists. Trial hearings will take place at the de facto Kiev district court in Simferopol.
The Free Russia Foundation strongly condemns persecution of lawyers and human rights defenders in occupied Crimea and demands that the Russian Federation government immediately cease (1) its unlawful suppression and obstruction of lawyer work and human rights activities; and (2) its use of Russia’s “anti-extremism and anti-terrorism” legislation in the occupied territory, in violation of international humanitarian law, in order to persecute individuals for their public, legal, and human rights activities.
We ask international organizations and governments of democratic states:
- To continue pressuring the Russian government to put a stop to their ongoing persecution of Crimean Solidarity activists and to their efforts to obstruct the work of independent lawyers in occupied Crimea.
- To condemn Russia’s use of its own “anti-terrorism and anti-extremism” legislation in its persecution of lawyers, human rights defenders and civil society activists in occupied Crimea.
- To impose personal sanctions on persons involved in the gross violations of human rights in occupied Crimea as well as on those directly involved in the obstruction of lawyer work and persecution of the Crimean Solidarity movement.
For further information, please contact:
President, Free Russia Foundation
+1 202 549 2417
Russia scenarios 2030
This publication is the product of an initial effort undertaken by Free Russia Foundation in 2018 to stimulate public discussion of Russian scenarios, mitigate the likelihood of a bad surprise or missed opportunities, and support the country’s transition to a more positive future. More
It contains a set of twelve hypothetical evolutions for the political development of Russia through 2030, as well as analyses of key factors driving each future.
The report aims to shed light on key factors and early indicators bearing on the direction and specific content of Russia’s development (including continuity options); help evaluate the likelihood of each scenario and its significance for international security; and assist in developing a strategy for weighing and balancing risks associated with each scenario.
Report: The Kremlin’s Political Prisoners: Advancing a Political Agenda by Crushing Dissent
A 282-page report on the Kremlin’s political prisoners – The Kremlin’s Political Prisoners: Advancing a Political Agenda by Crushing Dissent – was authored by the public interest law firm Perseus Strategies, with support from Memorial Human Rights Centre (Russia), and was commissioned by the Free Russia Foundation, Human Rights Foundation, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, and Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.
The report documents how, decades after the last Soviet-era political prisoners were released, the Kremlin, under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, is once again engaged in the widespread detention of activists, regime opponents, and disfavored minorities. In the last four years alone, the number of political prisoners have increased five-fold from 50 to more than 250. While some of these political prisoners were convicted of fabricated crimes they simply did not commit, the majority are detained as a result of engaging in activities that are clearly protected under international law, such as posting on social media, participating in peaceful protests, practicing their religion, or associating with certain groups. This persecution is enabled by an ever-increasing array of laws specifically designed to criminalize acts of everyday life and, therefore, allow the authorities to arrest, detain, and imprison anyone they want.
The Kremlin’s arrest, trial, conviction, sentencing, and imprisonment of political prisoners violates several multilateral treaties to which Russia is a state party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, European Convention on Human Rights, and Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In particular, the Kremlin is violating political prisoners’ rights to political participation and freedom of expression, association, assembly, and religion. Moreover, political prisoners are routinely denied basic due process rights – including access to counsel, the presumption of innocence, the presumption of bail, and a fair trial – and subjected to torture to force them to falsely confess.
While countless government officials are complicit in the Kremlin’s persecution of political prisoners, this report identifies 16 individuals that may bear particular responsibility. This includes eight high-level officials potentially liable under the principle of command responsibility – President Vladimir Putin; Alexander Bortnikov, Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB); Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council; Yuri Chaika, Prosecutor General; Gennady Kornienko, Director of the Federal Penitentiary Service; Aleksandr Konovalov, Minister of Justice; Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Minister of Internal Affairs; and Alexander Bastrykin, Chairman of the Investigative Committee. The report also identifies eight judges, prosecutors, and investigators that have been involved in multiple political prisoner cases.
Coalition launches landmark report on the Kremlin’s political prisoners
MEDIA RELEASE More
April 29, 2019
THE COALITION TO FREE THE KREMLIN’S POLITICAL PRISONERS WELCOMES RELEASE OF LANDMARK REPORT
Moscow, Russia; Washington, D.C.; Ottawa, Canada; Kyiv, Ukraine; Berlin, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic; Tallinn, Estonia – The Coalition to Free the Kremlin’s Political Prisoners welcomes the publication of a landmark report providing the first comprehensive accounting of the more than 230 political prisoners presently held under orders of the Kremlin.
The report – The Kremlin’s Political Prisoners: Advancing a Political Agenda by Crushing Dissent – was authored by Perseus Strategies, with the support of the Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Centre, and was co-commissioned by the Free Russia Foundation, Human Rights Foundation, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, and Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.
The Coalition highlights the report as a novel piece of scholarship that analyzes how, particularly in the last few years, the Kremlin has increasingly imprisoned human rights defenders, political and business opponents, journalists, bloggers, and other opponents with absolute impunity. The report offers an overview of the Kremlin’s crackdown on such critics, with a particular focus on the domestic legislation the Kremlin commonly uses to target its opponents with trumped-up and politically-motivated charges.
And in a first for reports of this kind, the report also identifies 16 Russian officials with “command responsibility” responsible for this repression along with principal prosecutors, investigators, and judges who abuse human rights under the color of Russian law.
In response to the publication of the report, Natalia Arno, the spokeswoman for the Coalition to Free the Kremlin’s Political Prisoners, stated:
“In the last four years, the number of political prisoners in Russia has approximately quintupled. This alarming trend can no longer by ignored by the world’s democracies. The new report on political prisoners does an incredible job of bringing the Kremlin’s increasing repression to light – the current Russian regime is employing an entire arsenal of coercive tools and adopting an ever-growing list of repressive laws to imprison and silence its opponents. It is my hope that this report will help show Russians and the international community the scale of the Kremlin’s brutal abuses and lead to meaningful actions to support the victims of the regime. The continued existence of political prisoners in Russia in the 21st century is shameful and should not be tolerated.”
The full report is available here: https://www.perseus-strategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/The-Kremlins-Political-Prisoners-May-2019.pdf
The Coalition’s member organizations include:
- Action for Post-Soviet Jewry (United States)
- Activatica.org (Estonia)
- Article 20 (Russia)
- Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
- Euromaidan SOS (Ukraine)
- Free Russia Foundation (United States, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia)
- Human Rights Foundation (United States)
- Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice (United States)
- McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University (United States)
- NEP Prague (Czech Republic)
- Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (Canada)
- Solidarus (Germany)
- Union of Council for Jews in the Former Soviet Union (United States)
For further information, please contact:
Spokesperson for the Coalition to Free the Kremlin’s Political Prisoners
+1 202 549 2417