Memorial Statement on the Mass Detention of Protestors

Source: (info), 09/12/11

· Electoral rights  · Right of assembly  · Articles by human rights defenders  
· Political prisoners   · St. Petersburg & Leningrad region  · Moscow city & Moscow region

Statement by the Memorial Human Rights Centre

On 5 and 6 December 2011 during protest actions against mass falsifications that occurred during the State Duma elections of 4 December, large scale detentions of demonstrators took place. In Moscow almost 900 people were detained, in St. Petersburg – more than 400.

The use of force by police was obviously disproportionate and was accompanied by numerous violations of the law. The demonstrators were beaten up both during detention and subsequently. Many journalists working at the scene were detained or suffered from police action.

The law was also broken on innumerable occasions in police stations. People were kept in unacceptable conditions for many hours.

The small premises in which they were kept were overcrowded. Contrary to all rules, there was no place to sleep; people were not fed and along with that parcels were not accepted for those detained.

In many cases lawyers were not allowed to enter police stations.

Finally, administrative infractions were fabricated en masse on the basis of false reports by police officers.

During hearings of these cases in magistrates’ and district courts, the rights of the accused continued to be violated en masse.

Members of the public and often even legal representatives were not admitted to court rooms.

The courts functioned like conveyer belts without even trying to create an appearance of justice.

The courts’ decisions obviously lack impartiality and are demonstratively cruel. Dozens of people have been sentenced to terms in prison.

Memorial Human Rights Centre, and Amnesty International consider the participants in peaceful protests who have been imprisoned to be prisoners of conscience and demand the cessation of police and judicial violence against them.

Prosecutors in Moscow and St. Petersburg must immediately lodge protests against all the judgments by courts that have sent peaceful protestors to prison.

The court judgments passed must be reviewed and the remaining cases considered objectively and according to law.

9 December, 2011

This is a slightly modified version of a translation first published by Memorial Human Rights Centre, reprinted by kind permission.