NGOs call for action over crimes against election monitors

posted 6 Jul 2015, 09:41 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 6 Jul 2015, 09:55 ]
29 June 2015

Source: (info
Around 20 NGOs have made a joint call for action regarding crimes against election monitors, demanding that those who committed, organised and ordered violent attacks on monitors be found as quickly as possible and brought to justice.

According to Rosbalt news agency, the NGOs state that, "Crimes against election monitors are very dangerous for society since they are a threat to the very institution of elections, and criminalise them. Such crimes and, in particular, the impunity they enjoy, undermine the emerging legitimacy of elections and people's trust in them".

They comment that since election monitors were beaten up at municipal elections in Balashikha, no real efforts have been made to solve the crime and find and punish those guilty. On the contrary, human rights activists have encountered attempts to hide evidence and have heard excuses being made for those guilty on the part of senior official representatives of election commissions.

The signatories to the declaration state, "We demand that those who committed, organised and ordered attacks on election monitors be found as quickly as possible and brought to justice. Our organisations intend to carry out an investigation, launch a campaign to support the injured election monitors and inform people about the progress of our investigation".

Local elections took place on 26 April in six municipalities in Moscow region [the region outside the city]. In the course of the day, independent election monitors (Golos, Sonar and Citizen Monitor) claimed that there was ballot-stuffing and multiple voting (so-called 'carousel voting'). In addition, monitors were beaten up in the town of Zheleznodorozhny after trying to film vote-rigging at elections for the Council of Deputies. Subsequently, doctors had to remove the spleen of one of the election observers.

Translated by Suzanne Eade Roberts