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Russia
10.02.21
Urgent Interventions

Russia: Arbitrary detention of seven members of the NGO Committee Against Torture (CAT)

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

RUS 001 / 0221 / OBS 017
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Russian Federation
February 10, 2021

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

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed about the administrative detention and judicial harassment of Konstantin Gusev and Magomed Alamov in Pyatigorsk, as well as of the arbitrary detention and subsequent release of Evgeniy Chilikov, Sergey Shunin, Ekaterina Vanslova and Igor Kalyapin in Nijni Novogorod and Timur Rakhmatulin in Orenburg. The seven human rights defenders are members of the NGO Committee Against Torture, a member of the OMCT SOS-Torture Network.

On January 23, 2021, Evgeniy Chilikov was arbitrarily detained on charges of “violation by a participant of a public event of the established procedure for holding a meeting, rally, demonstration, march or picket” (Part 5 of Article 20.2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation) while monitoring the protests in support of Alexei Navalny in Nijni Novogorod. He was released from the local police station two hours after his arrest under the obligation to report to the police upon request.

On January 31, 2021, Konstantin Gusev, Magomed Alamov, Ekaterina Vanslova, Sergey Shunin, Igor Kalyapin and Timur Rakhmatulin were arbitrarily arrested while monitoring the protest in support of Alexei Navalny in Pyatigorsk, Nijni Novogorod and Orenburg.

Sergey Shunin was arbitrarily arrested as a suspect of “participating in an unauthorised meeting, rally, demonstration, procession or picket that caused interference with the functioning of life support facilities, transport or social infrastructure” (Part 6.1 of Article 20.2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation). He was subsequently released on the evening of January 31, 2021, pending trial. On the same day, Igor Kalyapin was arbitrarily arrested and subsequently released without charges.

On February 1, 2021, the Court of First Instance of Nijni Novgorod charged Ms. Vanslova with “violation by a participant of a public event of the established procedure for holding a meeting, rally, demonstration, march or picket” (Part 5 of Article 20.2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation). Ms. Vanslova was imposed a fine of 10,000 rubles (approximately 100 euro) and was subsequently released.

Konstantin Gusev and Magomed Alamov spent a day in the preliminary detention facility at the Department of Internal Affairs in Pyatigorsk and on February 1, 2021, the Court of First Instance of Pyatigorsk city charged both human rights defenders with “organising of mass events that cause violation of public order” (Part 1 of Art. 20.2 of the Administrative Code) and ordered 10 days of administrative detention for each at the Department of Internal Affairs in Pyatigorsk. At the time of publication of this urgent appeal, the actions for which they have been charged remain unknown.

Timur Rakhmatulin was arbitrarily detained for two days on charges of “disobedience to police officers” and “participation in an unauthorised meeting”. On February 2, 2021, the charges were dropped and he was subsequently released.

The Observatory condemns the arbitrary arrests and judicial harassment of Evgeniy Chilikov, Sergey Shunin, Igor Kalyapin, Timur Rakhmatulin and Ekaterina Vanslova as well as the administrative detention and judicial harassment of Konstantin Gusev, Magomed Alamov, which seem to be only aimed at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory urges the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Konstantin Gusev and Magomed Alanov, to drop all charges against them and Ekaterina Vanslova.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Russian Federation to urge them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Ms. Ekaterina Vanslova and Messrs. Konstantin Gusev, Magomed Alamov, Sergey Shunin, Timur Rakhmatulin, Evgeniy Chilikov and Igor Kalyapin as well as all human rights defenders in Russia;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Messrs. Konstantin Gusev and Magomed Alamov as their detention is arbitrary and seems to be merely aimed at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Ms. Ekaterina Vanslova and Messrs. Konstantin Gusev, Magomed Alamov, Sergey Shunin, Timur Rakhmatulin, Evgeniy Chilikov and Igor Kalyapin and all other human rights defenders in Russia, as well as all organisations engaged in legitimate human rights activities in the country and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals.

Addresses:

· Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Twitter: @KremlinRussia_E

· Mr. Mikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Twitter: @GovernmentRF

· Mr. Sergueï Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, E-mail: ministry@mid.ru

· Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, E-mail: mission.russian@vtxnet.ch

· Embassy of the Russian Federation in Brussels, Belgium, E-mail: mission.russian@vtxnet.ch

· Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe, France, Email: russia.coe@orange.fr

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of the Russian Federation in your respective countries.

***

Geneva-Paris, February 10, 2021

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

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

● E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

● Tel OMCT: +41 (0) 22 809 49 39

● Tel FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18

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