On politically motivated criminal prosecutions in Russia

posted 2 Mar 2015, 06:02 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 2 Mar 2015, 06:05 ]
26 February 2015

Source: HRO.org (info
Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow) has announced the publication of a report on the traits and trends of politically motivated criminal prosecutions in Russia from 2011-2014.

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OVD-Info is releasing a series of themed reports on the phenomenon of contemporary political repression in Russia. Out first is a report on the traits and trends of politically motivated criminal prosecutions in Russia from 2011-2014.

One of the report's objectives is to define and update the term ‘political repression’. Based on the various criteria and definitions employed by lawyers, human rights defenders and researchers, the authors have tried, for the purposes of this report, to develop a single, user-friendly approach which allow specific legal cases to be assessed as instances of political persecution.

The data examined in the report leads to the following conclusions:

– In 2011-2014 the number of people subjected to politically motivated criminal prosecutions has increased dramatically; analysis of data from a number of human rights organisations is suggestive of a threefold rise.

– The number of Criminal Code articles used in politically motivated prosecutions has increasded, and new articles of a political nature have been introduced into the Criminal Code.

– The number of criminal cases brought in the wake of public events and the number of people prosecuted as a result of them rose until the very end of 2013, then begins to fall.

– During 2011-2013, the number of criminal prosecutions on the basis of anti-extremism legislation dwindles.

– A great many of the cases of political prosecution that were handled through the criminal justice system in 2014 were linked to Ukraine and the public show of support for Ukraine.

All of the cases of politically motivated criminal prosecutions analysed in the report have been divided into two large groups.

The first group includes prosecutions that impede the enjoyment of basic civil and political rights, the right to freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and freedom of association.

The second group includes the prosecution of specific opponents of the government. In the case of the first type of prosecutions, a limited set of Criminal Code articles are being applied for the most part that are inherently political in nature and have been intrinsically designed so as to regulate or constrain public or political activity.

For specific opponents of the government, any and all articles of the Criminal Code are being used, articles which were put in place to punish ordinary criminal offences.

To illustrate the application of specific articles of the Criminal Code, as well as those violations occur in the course of such political prosecutions, the report contains many examples of specific prosecutions.

It is not only high-profile cases, such as the Bolotnoe case and the cases filed against Aleksei Navalny, but also numerous cases of the prosecution of political and civil activists in various regions of Russia.

The cases mentioned in the report by no means constitute an exhaustive list of all cases of political repression in Russia in 2011-2014.

Link to the full text of the report: http://reports.ovdinfo.org/2014/cr-report/

Contact us with your comments: +7 (495) 374-66-75 (OVD-Info), +7-916-626-98-07 (Grigory Durnovo)

Translated by Lindsay Munford