“The Right Not to Remain Silent” - a Campaign Against Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code

posted 2 Feb 2016, 08:12 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 2 Feb 2016, 08:17 ]
21 January 2016

Source: HRO.org (info)
Friends and supporters of Ildar Dadin, who was sentenced to three years in a penal colony for peaceful and lawful protesting, have created the site stop212prim.org, dedicated to a campaign against the persecution of representatives of civil society under Article 212.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. With the launch of the site we announce the start of a campaign called “The Right to Not Remain Silent,” aimed at the abolition of this repressive article, which threatens punishment under criminal law for the expression of opinions.

The article in question, which was added to the Russian Criminal Code in the summer of 2014, introduces punishment for repeated transgressions during mass demonstrations. The article is part of the criminal code, although it regulates punishment for administrative transgressions. Lawyers note that such an article could have made its way into Russian legislation only due to an oversight, given the fact that it is an outright contradiction of the Constitution and violates human rights.

The first unreasonably cruel sentence under this article was handed down on December 7, 2015. Civic activist Ildar Dadin, who opposed war, discrimination, and abuse of power, was sentenced to three years of imprisonment. In his case, it was not only a violation of the Constitution but also outright fraud: He was tried for one-man pickets he had held without violating the Constitution, but the police falsified the reports of his arrests.

Criminal cases under Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code have been brought not only against Dadin, who worked as a security guard until not long ago, but also against all kinds of different people: marketing specialist Mark Galperin, mother and businesswoman Irina Kalmykova, and Vladimir Ionov, who is retired. We will speak at length about all who are subject to prosecution under this Article, and also about those who convict them and propose terms in prison simply because these people dared to speak out.

A range of Russian community and political organizations have already joined forces with the “Right Not to Remain Silent.” We will be holding educational events and demonstrations on the streets, aiming to shed light on this problem as best we can. We will regularly update stop212prim.org with upcoming events and the reports of the campaign’s successes. The main event of the coming month is the international demonstration, “Free World for Free Dadin,” which will take place within the framework of the “Right Not to Remain Silent” campaign on February 7. Moscow, Kiev, London, Berlin, Toronto, and Prague have already announced their participation.

We demand the immediate repeal of Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code, the release of Ildar, and the exoneration of all who have been charged under this Aarticle. Join us!