Russia
18.04.12
Urgent Interventions

Attack against Mr. Alexey Dmitriev

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

RUS 005 / 0412 / OBS 036

Assault

Russian Federation

April 18, 2012

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the Russian Federation.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the attack against Mr. Alexey Dmitriev, a lawyer by education and a supporter of the Campaign for the Defence of the Khimki Forestin the Moscow region, in the framework of plans to build a highway connecting Moscow to Saint Petersburg that would go through the forest.

According to the information received, on April 16, 2012, at around 8.30 am, Mr. Alexey Dmitriev was attacked by unknown attackers as he was standing at the lift outside his flat to go to work in the morning, and was subjected to brutal beating. Mr. Dmitriev lost conscience almost immediately and neighbours called an ambulance for him and helped him to get into his flat. Mr. Dmitriev's mobile phone and camera, which contained a lot of pictures he had taken at sites of felling, were stolen. When taken to the hospital, Mr. Dmitriev was diagnosed with head concussion, lacerated wounds on the head and broken nose. The police, who were called simultaneously with the ambulance, arrived on the spot about two hours after the beating took place.

A week before the attack, Mr. Dmitriev had led a public environmental inspection to the site of the destruction of the Klyaz’ma river for the Moscow - Saint Petersburg toll motorway. Subsequently, he published a report denouncing the destruction of the forest by the French company Vinci and its Russian partners[1]. Moreover, he was to due participate this week in two trials to consider suits he has initiated against one developing company and the Khimki town municipality, which permitted the construction of a parking lot in the middle of the park. The last post in his LiveJournal blog was on the flooding in Druzhba street in Khimki town, caused by numerous infringements of the construction regulations while building a multi-storied apartment building.

On April 17, 2012, Mr. Alexey Dmitriev lodged a complaint and a criminal case was opened. Yet, the police almost immediately started to claim that the attack was a mere robbery without any political motivations. As of issuing this Urgent Appeal, Mr. Dmitriev remains in the surgical department of the Khimki hospital.

The Observatory strongly condemns this assault, and fears that it aims at sanctioning Mr. Alexey Dmitriev's human rights activities, and more particularly his involvement in the ecological movement defending the Khimki forest. In particular,

the Observatory recalls that other environmental activists were arbitrarily detained or harassed over the past for struggling in favour of the preservation of the Khimki forest[2]. On April 16, 2012, Ms. Evgenia Chirikova, Coordinator of the Campaign for the Defence of the Khimki Forest, was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize 2012 for the protection of the Khimki forest.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of the Russian Federation, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Alexey Dmitriev as well as of all human rights defenders in the Russian Federation;

ii. Carry out a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the above mentioned facts in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the sanctions provided by the law;

iii. Put an end to any act of harassment against Mr. Alexey Dmitriev as well as against all human rights defenders in the Russian Federation, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

iv. Comply with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, especially:

- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,

- and Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v. Comply with the provisions of the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the protection of human rights defenders and the promotion of their activities, and in particular with Article 2.i), in which the Committee calls on member States to “create an environment conducive to the work of human rights defenders, enabling individuals, groups and associations to freely carry out activities, on a legal basis, consistent with international standards, to promote and strive for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms without any restrictions other than those authorised by the European Convention on Human Rights;

vi. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by the Russian Federation.

Addresses:

· Mr. Dmitri Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, Ilinka Str, 23, Moscow, 103132, Moscow, Russian Federation, Faxes:+ 7 495 606 5173 / 630 2408

· Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr. Rashid Nurgaliev, ul. Zhitnaya, 16, 117049 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Rossiia, 117049, Moskva, Fax: + 7 495 637 49 25

· Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Smolenskaya-Sennaya pl, 32/34, 121200 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Fax:+ 7 495 644 2203

· Mr. Alexander Ivanovich Bastrykin, Chairman of the Investigations Committee of the Russian Federation, Building 28, house 15, Naberezhnaya Akademika Tupoleva, Moscow, 105005, Russia, Tel: + 7 495 640 10 48

· H.E. Mr. Alexey Borodavkin, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva, Avenue de la Paix 15, CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland, Fax: +4122 734 40 44, E-mail : mission.russian@vtxnet.ch

· Ambassador Mr. Alexandra Romanov, Embassy of the Russian Federation in Brussels, 66, avenue de Fre, Brussels, 1180 Brussels, Belgium. Fax: +32 2 374 26 13. E-mail: amrusbel@skynet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of the Russian Federation in your respective country.

***

Geneva-Paris, April 18, 2012

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

  • E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
  • Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
  • Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

[1] See http://a-zatvornik.livejournal.com/35114.html and http://a-zatvornik.livejournal.com/35728.html.

[2] See Urgent Appeal RUS 003 / 0511 / OBS 079.1, issued on September 1, 2011.

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