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Chair of Saratov Region Union of Soldiers’ Mothers Appeals to Ombudsman for Support

Source: (info), 24/02/12

· Human rights defenders  · Persecution of activists  · Saratov region

In an open letter the chair of Saratov Region Union of Soldiers’ Mothers Lidiya Sviridova has appealed to the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Russian Federation with a request that he personally oversee the conduct of an investigation into statements she made during a television programme in September 2011. The investigation is on suspicion of extremism. Lidiya Sviridova requests that the Ombudsman provide an independent assessment of her statements.

The Investigative Committee of Saratov reigon is investigating Sviridova on suspicion of committing offences under the provisions of Article 282, Section 1, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (incitement of hatred or hostility and also denigration of human dignity.) The reason for opening the investigation was a statement by Svirodova in the Priamoy Efir (Live Air) programme presented by Mikhail Zelensky on the “Russia One” TV channel on 2nd September 2011. The programme was dedicated to the high profile case of the soldier Andrei Popov. Human rights activist Svirodova is taking part in an investigation into this case.

The investigation into Lidiya Sviridova is being carried out on account of a complaint by Magomed Radzhabov, director of Stroiservis Ltd, who objected to the following words said by Sviridova:

“In this territory (Republic of Dagestan –“Sova Centre”) there are criminals, I don’t know their nationality, who bring disrepute on you (the owners of brick factories in Dagestan –“Sova Centre”) through their activities.”

On 10th February 2012 an investigator visited Sviridova and, without giving his name, interrogated her.

Sova Centre says that its experts have examined the words spoken by Lidiya Sviridova in the TV broadcast and did not detect the least sign of incitement to hatred.