воскресенье, 9 февраля 2014 г.

Igor Kharchenko freed

Updated from: Arrest and detention of Igor Kharchenko 4.02.2014

Igor Kharchenko
Igor Kharchenko, who was serving out his administrative sentence for supposed police insubordination from February 4th, the day the Olympic torch relay passed through Krasnodar, was released on February 9th.

According to Igor, the detention center staff treated him fairly respectfully, however, legitimate requests for daily walks were refused. Kharchenko continued his hunger strike to protest against the unlawful detention until his release.

суббота, 8 февраля 2014 г.

New information about the arrest of the picket organizers in Petrozavodsk

Update from: The picket organizers detained by police in Petrozavodsk (http://sochi2014watch-en.blogspot.ru/2014/02/petrozavodsk-picket-organizers-detained.html)

On February 7th, around 5pm, police officers took picket organizers Pavel and Sergei from their homes in Petrozavodsk to the police station. According to the activists, during their questioning, the police threatened them with violence and drug planting. The activists were held around an hour and a half before being released.

On February 8th, at about 9am police came to the home of Anatoly Avdeev, while Pavel was also there. The activists told the police that they had already spoken with law enforcement the day before. The police said, "This is another police." These officers identified themselves as working for the narcotics control but carried no identification. These men explained that neighbors had been complaining about the smell of paint. The activists were detained and taken away from the home and under various pretexts were kept in police custody until the start of the rally.

Pavel also explained that on the morning of the 8th, several men in civilian clothes entered the shop where materials for the picket were kept, and posing as friends of Paul took away all the materials.

The picket organizers detained by police in Petrozavodsk

Region: Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk 
Threat type: detention

On February 8th, 2014 in Petrozavodsk civic activists and anarcho-environmentalists held a picket against the Olympic Games in Sochi for its human rights violations, environmental damage, etc. The organizers provided advance notice to the city administration for the event; the officials in turn, responded that a picket of up to 150 people did not require approval.

On the 7th, three organizers of the picket were detained by police, but were released without warning or charges. On the morning of the 8th one of the organizers Anatoly Avdeev was detained by police, and released without charge, causing the start of the picket to be delayed by an hour.

After the picket, Avdeev was detained again, and his whereabouts are unknown. Other activists and friends are trying to find him.

Figurants: Anatoly Avdeev, 
anarchist, social activist 

Links: http://gubdaily.ru/blog/news/organizatorov-antiolimpijskogo-piketa-zaderzhala-policiya-foto/

пятница, 7 февраля 2014 г.

Investigator insists that Igor Kharchenko’s parents withdraw complaint

Update from: Arrest and detention of Igor Kharchenko 4.02.2014

On February 7, Olga Soldatova said on social media that investigators "strongly suggested" Kharchenko’s parents withdraw their complaint about the smashing of his car. Soldatova explained that his parents were forced to withdraw it.

On February 4, the windows to his car were smashed and his tires slashed by a group of unidentified people. Kharchenko’s stepfather is the owner of the car, and as such he is the only one who can submit a complaint.

Links: Olga Soldatova’s Twitter

четверг, 6 февраля 2014 г.

Igor Harchenko Announces Hunger Strike and Makes Complaint About Detention Conditions

Updated from: Arrest and detention of Igor Kharchenko 4.02.2014

The poster says: Free Greenpeace activists
Igor Harchenko

On 6 February, Igor Harchenko’s lawyer Irina Dubrovina visited him at the detention centre where he is currently serving out his sentence.

Igor said from the moment of his detention on 4 February to the morning of the 5th, that he was held in an almost unheated facility at Krasnodar’s western district police station. Police officers did not provide him with hot food or drinking water. The activist announced a hunger strike on 5 February.

Harchenko’s friends were able to pass on warm clothing and books to him.

среда, 5 февраля 2014 г.

Igor Harchenko Given 5 Days Jail Time

Updated from: Arrest and detention of Igor Kharchenko 4.02.2014

On 5 February in Krasnodar, Igor Harchenko’s case was considered in a Krasnodar court by Judge Stanislav Burenko. Harchenko, a council member of the Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus, was accused of police insubordination.

Igor Harchenko in the courthouse

According to the on duty officer of the Ministry of the Interior, Harchenko’s hearing was set for 2pm. Harchenko however was taken to the court building around 11am, after which the hearing began almost immediately.

Igor Harchenko was taken into the courtroom together with seven others who were also being tried for administrative violations. Harchenko’s friends and relatives, as well as independent observers attempted to enter the courtroom, but the court officers did not permit them. After this, the court secretary exited the courtroom, and asked the people gathered who had been planning to be present at the hearing, and how they are related to Harchenko. After some time, she said that the judge had decided without reason that the hearing would be close, which is why even the independent observers were not let in.

During the hearing, Harchenko was not allowed to speak, and was thus not able to file a motion to have his own defence, or to include video recordings of the activist’s detention in the evidence, or to delay the hearing until 6 February. The hearing took around 5 minutes, during which the judge sentenced not only Harchenko, but the other detainees as well. According to the activist, the judge handed down the sentences without giving the defendants any time to speak, and refused to accept any of their motions. The judge found Harchenko guilty of article 19.3 of the Russian Federation’s Code of Administrative Violations and sentenced him to 5 days in jail. A copy of the decision was not given to the defendant.

Harchenko intends to appeal the decision.

Links: http://www.ewnc.org/node/13530, https://twitter.com/OgonWatch

FrontLine: Arrests and detention of environmental human rights defenders in Sochi region

On 3 February 2014, environmental human rights defender Mr Evgeny Vitishko was convicted of 'hooliganism' and sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention. On the same date, six other members of Environmental Watch on North Caucasus (EWNC), Mss Anna Mikhaylova, Tatiana Borisova, Olga Soldatova and Messrs Denis Pestretsov, Andrey Mandrigelia and Igor Kharchenko were detained by police but later released.

EWNC is a Russian-based non-profit organisation that has worked to protect the environment of the Caucasus region since 1997. It has been actively involved in monitoring the environmental impact of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games preparations.

Evgeny Vitishko and his colleague, Mr Suren Gazaryan, received suspended sentences of three years in prison with two years' probation on 20 June 2012 after being found guilty of “causing significant damage to private property” under section 2 of Article 167 of the Criminal Code. On 20 December 2013, the Tuapse City Court converted Evgeny Vitishko's three-year suspended sentence to a jail term to be served in a settlement colony. On 3 February 2014, the trial date of Evgeny Vitishko's appeal against the conversion of this sentence was moved from 22 February to 12 February 2014, meaning that he will now stand trial at the Krasnodar Court while in detention. He will be expected to attend via video-conference. If the conversion of the suspended sentence stands, it would mean that Evgeny Vitishko would be sent to a settlement colony directly from the detention centre for serving three years in prison, and would be silenced for the duration of the Olympics.

On the morning of 3 February 2014, Evgeny Vitishko went to the Penitentiary Inspection Office, where he has to report regularly according to the terms of his initial suspended sentence. As he was leaving the building, several police officers who were waiting outside proceeded to arrest him on grounds of suspicion of theft. The human rights defender was taken for questioning to the local police station in Tuapse city and two hours later, police stated that he would be detained on charges of petty hooliganism, for “swearing” at a public bus stop on the morning of the same day. When they were asked by Evgeny Vitishko's lawyer, Mr Alexandr Popkov, whether the decision is based on a formal complaint, police officers replied they had not received any such complaint yet but that they expected to receive it soon. At 5pm, a hearing was heard at the Tuapse City Court under Article 20.1 of the Administrative Code (hooliganism). Evgeny Vitishko submitted a petition asking the Court to notify his lawyer of the hearing, but the Court declined this request and appointed a public defender, whose services the human rights defender declined. The Court also refused to call in the two prosecution witnesses who were supposedly present during the incident at the bus stop. At 6pm, Evgeny Vitishko was sentenced to 15 days and transferred directly to Tuapse detention centre.

Also on 3 February 2014, Anna Mikhaylova, Denis Pestretsov, Andrey Mandrigelia and Tatiana Borisova were detained by police at check point no.5 and then brought to Kalinino police station because they allegedly resembled a group of suspects. During his detention, Andrey Mandrigelia was questioned about whether EWNC planned to hold a demonstration on 4 February 2014 during the arrival of the Olympic torch in Krasnodar. On the same date Igor Kharchenko and Olga Soldatova were arrested and detained in Dinsky district police station. The six human rights defenders were released the same day. No reason has been established for their detention, in clear violation of normal legal procedure.

Front Line Defenders is concerned that these arrests were linked to the arrival of the winter Olympic torch to the Krasnodar region on 4 February 2014, and to the opening of Sochi Winter Olympic Games on 7 February 2014. Front Line Defenders is further concerned that the detention of Evgeny Vitishko is an attempt to silence critical voices as international attention is focused on Sochi during these events.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in the Russian Federation to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against Evgeny Vitishko, and release him without delay, as they are solely motivated by his peaceful and legitimate work in defence of environmental human rights;
  2. Ensure that the members of Environmental Watch on North Caucasus (EWNC) are not targeted for their work to protect the environment of the Caucasus region and for monitoring the environmental impact of the 2014 Winter Olympics;
  3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in the Russian Federation are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.