Appeal to the international community

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Appeal to the international community

  • Secretary General of the Council of Europe Ms Marija Pejčinović Burić.
  • Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Dunja Mijatovic.
  • President of the PACE Mr Hendrik Daems.
  • PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights Chairperson Mr Boriss Cilevičs.
  • Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities Secretary General Mr Andreas Kiefer.
  • OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Ms Ann Linde.
  • OSCE Secretary General Ms Helga Schmid.
  • OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Director Mr Matteo Mecacci.
  • OSCE PA Director Mr Peter Lord Bowness.
  • United Nations Secretary-General Mr António Guterres.
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Michelle Bachelet Jeria.
  • UN Human Rights Council President Ms Nazhat Shameem Khan.

We, independent municipal deputies, consider it necessary to apply international mechanisms for the Human Rights protection in Russia in connection with a new round of political repression.

The persecution of the opposition politician Alexei Navalny was perceived by Russian citizens as a new level of lawlessness and state terror. A.Navalny was unjustly detained at the Russian border, then the simulated trial was carried out and the unfair verdict was passed. All that caused massive outrage and protests across the country.

The exclusively peaceful nature of these actions should be emphasized. We are sure these rallies and processions are the correct form of exercising internationally recognized rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, guaranteed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

Russian society, our voters, are shocked by the brutal suppression of peaceful rallies and by the following campaign of repression and intimidation. We, independent deputies, were participants and observers during public civil actions and tried to provide legal assistance to the detainees.

We must emphasize the following that occurred:

  1. The authority used brute force against purely peaceful participants in assemblies that did not pose any public danger. Beatings with truncheons and stun guns, illegal searches, maltreatment of detainees before delivery to the police took place. Special police detachments actually attacked the participants standing or walking calmly.
  2. The random nature of the detentions, including the victims of ordinary passers-by.
  3. Total falsification of police reports to justify random detentions. In fact, the police used standard identical texts deliberately for people detained at different times in different places under different circumstances.
  4. Massive denial of access of lawyers and public defenders to the police stations where the detainees were held before the trial. Moral and physical pressure on detainees, intentional infliction of suffering for the purpose of self-incrimination and falsification of criminal cases. We have noted cases of torture, as well as illegal detention beyond the legal limit.
  5. Massive violation of the right to a fair trial guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as the practice of the ECHR – in fact, a high-speed imitation of trials with 100% convictions was used. Trials were held in the absence of defense lawyers extremely often.
  6. Ill-treatment of arrested persons. In fact, people spent part of the term in police buses without sleeping, without any food, water and access to toilet. The places of detention were overcrowded and were not ready to receive such a large number of people. The conditions of detention also did not meet the requirements of humane treatment and sanitary standards. In particular, the overcrowding without necessary hygiene measures is categorically unacceptable in a pandemic. People could not get water, food, medicine, or an appointment with a lawyer.
  7. The information insulation of the detainees, their relatives could not get any information about their location for days.
  8. In addition to street actions there were arrests of people accused of some critical posts on social networks or other opposition activity.
  9. Detentions, beatings, arrests of journalists who were in the place of demonstration with an editorial assignment, as well as persecution of opposition journalists.
  10. Detentions and persecution of opposition deputies. Initiation of fake criminal cases and fabrication of administrative cases based on publications in social networks.
  11. The legal assistance to detainees was outlawed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. There were some cases of detentions of lawyers who arrived to the clients, violence and pressure on lawyers also were noted.
  12. A pro-government campaign of slander and intimidation of citizens has been started, there were dismissals from work, expulsions of students from universities for participating in peaceful protests.

The number of victims of the repression is about 12,000 people, but this number is growing, due to new detentions and arrests, using of digital technologies that do not comply with the law.

We should notice the escalation is taking place at the time of adoption of new repressive laws that further restrict fundamental rights and freedoms: freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and association.

We ask you to respond as firmly and fundamentally as possible to the crisis situation in our country within the framework of your power.

The matter of political repression, the restriction of fundamental Human Rights, and the escalation of state violence should become the most important thing in assessing the situation in Russia and central one in the dialogue with the Russian authorities.

Thank you in anticipation of your kind cooperation.

Chairman of the Presidium of the AND
Elena Filina

Answer of OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Ms Ann Linde

letter-elena-filina

Response of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe

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