Memorial includes 50 people in updated list of political prisoners in Russia

posted 15 Jun 2015, 08:57 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 15 Jun 2015, 08:59 ]
4 June 2015

Source: (info)
The Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow) has released a list of political prisoners in the Russian Federation, updated as of 1st June 2015.

“This list is by no means exhaustive: our publication means that the Memorial Human Rights Centre currently counts no less than 50 prisoners in the Russian Federation as political, i.e. people, who are deprived of freedom by court sentence, are in custody or under house arrest and other relevant international criteria, based on the PACE resolution No 1900 (2012).”

“Since 30th October 2014, when Memorial published the previous list, the number of political prisoners has continued to increase: the list has risen from 46 to 50 people. 10 people were removed from the list and 14 were added.”

Of those removed, Paul Vazhenin (on parole), Artem Savelov, Lors Khamiyev, Ruslan Khubaev, Sergei Cherepovsky, Olga Shalina and Dmitry Shipilov were released from prison.

The pre-trial detentions of Aleksei Navalny (following his sentencing to a suspended prison sentence) and Darya Polyudova (due to the expiration of the maximum period of detention pending trial) were annulled.

Evgeniy Afanasyev died in prison.

None of the political prisoners were found not guilty, amnestied or pardoned.

Sergei Titarenko was released from custody in early March due to the expiration of the maximum period of detention. He had been recognised earlier that same month as a political prisoner.

Those newly included in the list include Oleg Navalny (as a result of the political activities of his brother Aleksei), Leonid Tikhonov and Natalya Bondareva (because of their trade union activities), Rafis Kashapov (due to statements on the internet about Russian-Ukrainian relations), Ekaterina Kharebava (found guilty of espionage, similar to the accusation brought against Svetlana Davidova), Ivan Nepomnyashchikh (“the Bolotnaya case”), Aleksei Sutuga (due to anti-fascist activities), Sergei Loshkarev (due to civil society activities and publications on the internet about Russian-Ukrainian relations), Il'dar Dadin (under the new Article 212.1 of the Criminal Code, which violates the rule of law, on realisation of the right to freedom of assembly) and also Evgeniya Korotkova, Anna Lepeshkina, Aleksandr Pogrebov, Aleksei Shirokozhukhov and Vladimir Podrezov (found guilty of hooliganism and vandalism in connection with the authorities’ anti-Ukrainian campaign).

Various tools, which are common in such cases of politically motivated prosecution, have been used: the direct falsification of evidence, an arbitrary and broad interpretation of criminal law, the use of unlawful or vaguely formulated legal norms, unfounded accusatory interpretation of the actual circumstances, and a combination of these methods.

The published list is not complete, as for a large number of criminal cases, which most likely meet our criteria, we have either not managed to receive enough information to give a grounded conclusion, or we have not yet completed researching the facts.

This particularly applies to a large number of criminal cases against citizens of Ukraine, and also cases in which Muslims have been found guilty under the extremism articles of the Criminal Code.

It should be stressed that the recognition of someone as a political prisoner does not mean Memorial endorses the views and statements of the person who has been recognised as a political prisoner, nor does it express any approval of their statements or actions.

On the hand, if someone has not been recognised as a political prisoner by us, then it does not imply any endorsement by Memorial of their criminal prosecution, nor is it recognition that the persecution is justified.

The full list of political prisoners as of 1st June 2015 can be seen HERE.

Translated by Chloe Cranston