Human Rights Council asks Minister of Interior to investigate attack on Navalny and his colleagues from the Anti-Corruption Foundation

posted 22 May 2016, 08:11 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 22 May 2016, 08:20 ]
19 May 2016

Source: (info)
The Presidential Human Rights Council has formally asked the Minister of the Interior, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, to take personal control of the investigation into the attack on staff of the Anti-Corruption Foundation and its director, Aleksei Navalny. 

The attack took place on 17th May 2016 on the square outside Anapa airport. Aleksei Navalny wrote about the incident in his blog: ‘About 35 – 40 people ran forward from different directions, started throwing milk, then began fighting us. Although to call it a fight is a bit difficult. We were carrying rucksacks and had children with us. More than half of the group were young women. At one point they just pulled me back by the rucksack, but it was big, tied at the waist, I just fell on my back and that was it. This is part of what the “Cossack strategy” consisted of: pushing people to the ground and beating them up. The person who suffered most was Artem Torchinsky, a volunteer with the Anti-Corruption Foundation who is also a presented on Dozhd TV. They kicked him several times in the head. 

Consequently, judging by the accounts of victims and eye-witnesses, as well as video footage from the incident published on the Net, members of the Presidential Human Rights Council consider that the actions of the attackers contain clear signs of a crime under Article 213, part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code (‘Hooliganism carried out by a group of people in a conspiracy or organised group’). 

“The fact that the attack in question was carried out by people whose duties oblige them to maintain public order is cause for particular concern,’ the Human Rights Council says in its statement. 

The letter from the head of the Human Rights Council to Vladimir Kolokoltsev specifically points out that the given incident is one more instance of politically-motivated hooliganism that is becoming a huge problem nowadays. 

The Human Rights Council quite recently issued a statement that political hooliganism is becoming an everyday event and its impunity is undermining the political culture of our society, which is weak enough in any case. 

Human rights activists have called on law enforcement and oversight organisations to begn a battle against the phenomenon of political hooliganism, which is threatening to become even more widespread and to assume even uglier forms in the time leading up to the 2016 elections. 

Translated by Frances Robson