Human rights defenders protest outside the Duma against new police law: “Don’t shoot!” (with photos)

posted 13 Jul 2015, 07:54 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Jul 2015, 08:01 ]
6 July 2015

Source: (info)
On 6 July 2015 Valery Borshchev, a member of Moscow’s Public Monitoring Committee and of the Soviet dissident movement, Lev Ponomarev, director of the movement “For the Rights of Man”, and Svetlana Gannushkina, president of the Civic Assistance Committee and a member of the board of the International Memorial Society, staged single-person pickets outside the State Duma building in protest against the scandalous bill widening the rights of police to use firearms.
, citing TASS, reported that the activists were holding placards with the slogan “Don’t shoot! Legislators, don’t allow them to shoot at people!”

The bill significantly widening police powers was introduced to the State Duma on 1st July 2015 by the notorious State Duma deputy Mrs Yarova and immediately roused a stormy public debate.

The general public, in particular, expressed concern because of the amendments to the law “On the police” regulating the use of service weapons.

What has turned out to be particularly alarming is the proposal to allow police in an emergency situation to shoot women if there are no visible signs of pregnancy. According to current law, police officers are forbidden to shoot at women in any circumstances. Another dangerous aspect of the proposals is to allow police to use firearms in places of mass gatherings. 

Photo; Lev Ponmarev, Valery Borshchev, Svetlana Gannushkina

The proposed bill has angered human rights activists to the extent that they decided to stage one-person pickets. “International norms forbid the use of firearms at mass gatherings because there are no guarantees whatsoever that peaceful citizens won’t be harmed. On the contrary, it can be guaranteed that people will die,” Valery Borshchev explained to TASS the reasons for protest.

The well-known human rights activist also lambasted the proposed amendment concerning the “presumption of good faith” with regard to the police. “This limits oversight of the police not only on the part of the public, but also on the part of the prosecutors,” Valery Borshchev thinks.

In addition, according to the Valery Borshchev, in practice the courts in any case take the side of the police. In Borshchev’s opinion, “the system clearly does not fight violations, but now is strengthening them by means of the law.”

The police said that the moves to broaden police powers were 'necessary for the service'.

Photo: Svetlana Gannushkina

Translated by Frances Robson