Vladimir Lukin advocates amnesty for those charged in 'Bolotnaya case' and for business people

posted 24 May 2013, 02:34 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 24 May 2013, 02:39 ]
22 May 2013 

Source: HRO.org (info)
Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin has expressed his support for an amnesty for those convicted and on trial in the 'Bolotnaya case'. He announced this as he presented his annual report on the human rights situation in Russia to the State Duma, reports RIA Novosti. Furthermore, Lukin spoke out in favour of an amnesty for a considerable number of business people.

"I support the proposal by a group of State Duma deputies, as well as numerous NGOs and the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, for the State Duma to adopt an amnesty for individuals convicted and being investigated in connection with the incidents on Bolotnaya Square on 6 May 2012," said Lukin.

Grani.ru notes that at the end of March Lukin presented his 2012 report to President Vladimir Putin, and the report was published on the Ombudsman’s website. Approximately 50,000 enquiries have been received by the Human Rights Ombudsman over the past year, approximately 35,000 of which were complaints. The report stated that more than half of the enquiries addressed to Lukin concerned violations of civil rights and freedoms in Russia.

The report also criticised a raft of laws adopted in 2012. It notes that they were adopted too hastily, and that this was why they contain so much vague wording. Lukin also acknowledged in his report that 2012 had been one of the most difficult years in all of his ten years as Ombudsman.

On 6 May the Presidential Council on Human Rights sent a letter calling on the State Duma to support a draft bill granting amnesty to those involved in the 'Bolotnaya case'. The letter was signed by 35 members of the Human Rights Council. "The charge of premeditated and organised ‘mass riots’ does not look convincing in the eyes of the section of society that was represented on Bolotnaya square on 6 May 2012," said the letter.

According to the authors of the letter, taking the 'Bolotnaya case' to court would exacerbate the confrontation between the government and the "peaceful civil opposition". "As well as radicalising the protest actions, it would mean that public confidence in the courts, whose guilty verdicts looks predetermined, would be diminished still further, and with it public confidence in the whole system of government," warned Human Rights Council members. The signatories added that they would be appealing to President Vladimir Putin to "lend his political support" to the idea of an amnesty.

News of the draft amnesty bill on the 'Bolotnaya case', which was prepared by Russian Communist Party deputies Boris Kashin and Anatoly Lokot, emerged on 29 April. The authors of the draft hope that its adoption will coincide with the 20th anniversary of the State Duma.