Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Archive for May 19th, 2010

Moscow Journalists Under Attack – Impunity in Russia / VIDEO

Posted by Info on 19/05/2010

Mikhail Beketov had been warned, but would not stop writing. About dubious land deals. Crooked loans. Under-the-table hush money. All evidence, he argued in his newspaper, of rampant corruption in this Moscow suburb. “Last spring, I called for the resignation of the city’s leadership,” Mr. Beketov said in one of his final editorials. “A few days later, my automobile was blown up.”

Not long after, he was savagely beaten outside his home and left to bleed in the snow. His fingers were bashed, and three later had to be amputated, as if his assailants had sought to make sure that he would never write another word. He lost a leg. Now 52, he is in a wheelchair, his brain so damaged that he cannot utter a simple sentence.

The violence was beginning a wave of unsolved attacks and official harassment against journalists, human rights activists and opposition politicians around the region, which includes the Moscow suburbs, but not the city itself. Rarely, if ever, is anyone held responsible.

VIDEO: Another journalist was pummeled by plainclothes police officers after a demonstration. The police released a statement saying that he had hurt himself..

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Mass Searches By Policemen And KGB In Oppositionists’ Flats All Over Belarus

Posted by Info on 19/05/2010

Mass searches have been held by policemen and KGB men in Minsk, Hrodna, Brest, Homen and Mahilyou at the places where democratic activists live. The searches were held in the framework of the defamation criminal case opened under Article 250 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (dissemination of false information about goods and services).

The first search was held on May 18
in Minsk in the headquarters of “Say the Truth!” civil campaign…Riot policemen hindered journalists to make pictures and video the events. After the search the headquarters of the campaign in Masherau Street was sealed.

11 activists of the campaign were detained and taken to the police department of Leninski district. About 20 persons in all detained during searches in different parts of the capital were taken to the police department.

They were interrogated about the activities of “Say the Truth!” campaign: where their leaflets are printed, what events are planned…

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Russia’s Khodorkovsky Ends Hunger Strike -To Support Medvedev’s Law

Posted by Info on 19/05/2010

Mikhail Khodorkovsky ended a two-day hunger strike on Wednesday after the Kremlin confirmed complaints about his detention had been passed on to President Dmitry Medvedev.
Khodorkovsky said a decision last week to extend his stay at a pre-trial detention facility in Moscow during his second trial violated a law signed by Medvedev earlier this year and demanded the president be informed.

Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, was arrested in 2003 after falling foul of then-president Vladimir Putin and is serving an eight-year sentence for tax evasion after a trial his supporters dismissed as a farce.

Khodorkovsky was moved last year from his Siberian prison colony to the detention facility in Moscow to attend a second trial on charges of theft and money laundering, which could add 22 years to his sentence.

Last week the judge approved an extension of his detention at the Moscow facility for three months,
a move Khodorkovsky says directly contradicts a law passed by Medvedev barring the pre-trial jailing of suspects in economic crimes.

But Khodorkovsky said he started the hunger strike to prevent his case becoming a precedent that would weaken Medvedev’s law. His aim was to”reduce opportunities for arbitrariness and corruption”..

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Locals Organized Their Own Neighborhood Forces To Defend Themselves

Posted by Info on 19/05/2010

Kyrgyzstan: Patriot = a civilian patrol group that guards government buildings, businesses, and residential neighborhoods to ensure security amid the chaos that has reigned in Kyrgyzstan since early April.

Disappointed by police’s inability to protect citizens during the upheaval, leaving some 85 people dead, locals organized their own neighborhood forces to defend themselves and their property. But now, their goals have expanded considerably. There are thousands of civilian patrol members all over the country that have taken charge of security in their neighborhoods, working alongside police.

“Initially, our goal was to protect our own houses. Now we are patrolling the area around the parliament and central government buildings; the Bishkek mayor’s office; several banks and shopping centers; all major bazaars; and the main bus stations, among other places.”

“We work alongside Interior Ministry forces — we help them,” Patriot Terbeshaliev says. “In fact, the civilian patrol is a helper of the police. We have men, women, youngsters, and elderly among us — people who call themselves patriots. They come and join us. They take part in safeguarding security and stability.”

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Guantanamo Prisoner’s Mother Says Son Fears Returning To Russia

Posted by Info on 19/05/2010

Zuhra Waliullina, the mother of Ravil Mingazov, the last Russian citizen being held at Guantanamo Bay to return to Tatarstan because he feard being “tortured” as another Guantanamo detainee who returned to Russia after his release from the U.S. detention center in Cuba alleged.

A U.S. federal court in Washington ruled last week that Mingazov, who has been imprisoned at Guantanamo since 2002, must be released by June 15 as the government has no reason to detain him.

Mingazov, 42, is the last of eight Russian citizens who were held prisoner at Guantanamo. The other seven were transferred to Russia in 2004.
Two cities in Massachusetts, have passed resolutions offering Mingazov and one other detainee residence in their communities if the U.S. government were to allow it.

Mingazov, who fled Russia after converting to Islam, was captured in Pakistan in 2002. The U.S. military claimed he was staying at a safe house belonging to suspected terrorist Abu Zubaydah at the time of his capture and had undergone training to become a terrorist. Mingazov claims he was captured in a guest house for refugees and denies having known Zubaydah or even having seen Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Mingazov was a ballet and folk dancer in a Russian Army ensemble in the early 2000s. He said he left Russia for religious reasons.

Rasul Kudayev, one of the seven other detainees who returned to Russia, was arrested after a militant attack in Nalchik in October 2005. Kudayev, his mother, and his lawyer said after his arrest that he had been beaten and tortured in jail. Security officials denied the charges.

Ruslan Odizhev, another Guantanamo detainee who returned to Russia in 2004, joined a North Caucasus insurgent group and was killed in 2007.

And ex-Guantanamo detainees Timur Ishmuradov and Ravil Gumarov, both Tatars, were convicted and sentenced in May 2006 to 11-15 years in prison for taking part in a January 2005 attack on an oil pipeline.

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