Persecution of Human Rights Defender Stanislav Dmitrievsky

Source: (info), 26/03/12

· Human rights defenders  · Persecution of activists  · Public protests  · Nizhny Novgorod region

Late on Saturday night there was an arson attack on the office of human rights activist Stanislav Dmitrievsky in Nizhny Novgorod. In his blog Dmitrievsky reports that the window of the basement that he rents was broken and doused with diesel fuel. Molotov cocktails with unlit fuses were found nearby.

The arson attempt was reported by Elena Karamzina, owner of the office rented by Dmitrievsky. Dmitrievsky told “The fuses did not catch fire, and so I don’t know whether this was planned as arson, or as an act of intimidation.”

The human rights defender believes that the arson attempt is another link in a chain of strange events that have occurred at his office since the Nizhny Novgorod Civic Council began to meet there, reports reports.

“On 2 March two panes of glass in the door were smashed, and orange paint was splashed around,” Dmitrievsky said. “On 3 March a leaflet was fixed on the same door which read: “We declare that in the Middle Ages the PLAGUE was cured AT THE STAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This place will be saved by the Inquisition!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I was not in Russia at that time. The owner of the office tried to call the cops - to no avail. They did not come.”

On 5 March Dmitrievsky handed over the leaflet to Andrei Shmonin, deputy chief of public order police for Nizhny Novgorod region and asked him to consider this as a complaint about a crime. However, no action at all was undertaken by the police.

“On 22 March at 18.00 we had planned a meeting of the Nizhny Novgorod Civic Council. There was knocking on the door – the fire service, the police, the emergency service, the bomb squad, dogs, everyone you can think of...,” Dmitrievsky writes. “They said: We’ve had a call, there is a bomb at your house. For an hour and a half the whole house was checked. Then they left.”

The investigative team arrived at the place of the attempted arson attack four-and-a-half hours after they were called. The experts took away the bottles and the fuses. At the same time they said that this was petty disorderly conduct and damage to property, but there was no evidence of arson. They took statements from Dmitrievsky activist and witnesses.The question of whether a criminal case will be opened is to be decided.