Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Archive for December, 2010

Belarus Orders International Watchdog – OSCE -To Close Its Minsk Office

Posted by Info on 31/12/2010

The world’s largest regional security organization, the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) must close its doors in Minsk, after the Belarusian government refused to extend its mandate. The OSCE had criticized the election of President Alexander Lukashenko.

The OSCE issued a report critical of the December election, in which incumbent President Alexander Lukaschenko won around 80 percent of votes.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh said that an evaluation of the OSCE’s activities in Minsk showed that the mission, which was set up in 2003, had fulfilled its mandate. The government has the right to revoke the mission’s permit or refuse to renew it.

Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1992, has been accused by Western leaders in the past of dictatorial rule and suppressing independent media.
Minsk is still holding hundreds of demonstrators who were arrested during protests following the December 19 election.
Five opposition candidates and 22 activists have been charged with organizing mass disorder, which could carry a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

Belarus is part of the 56-member OSCE, which was set up during the Cold War as a forum for dialogue between communist states and the West.

Posted in Belarus, EU | Leave a Comment »

Putin Calls for Fewer Jury Trials As Not Effective As Often Acquit Suspects

Posted by Info on 31/12/2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for further restrictions on the use of jury trials in Russia, saying that only federal courts should consider them.

“Jury trials are not effective,”
Putin said, adding that in certain regions juries base their decisions on ethnic or clannish motives rather than the gravity of the crime. He appeared to be referring to the Northern Caucasus republics, where juries often acquit suspects, mainly in terrorism cases, who complain of being tortured for confessions by local law enforcers.

According to Supreme Court statistics, the acquittal rate in 791,802 cases considered by Russian courts in the first nine months of 2010 was 0.7 percent. Juries considered only 465 cases during the period, finding 847 defendants guilty and 169 people — or about 16 percent of defendants — not guilty.

In the past few years there were several jury acquittals that were highly embarrassing for the authorities. Last month, a jury cleared a group of former Yevroset managers accused of abducting a fellow employee. The case was widely seen as a retaliation by corrupt law enforcers against ex-CEO and owner, Yevgeny Chichvarkin, who is fighting related extradition charges in London.

Putin unexpectedly moved on to the jury trial issue after lamenting over a native of the Northern Caucasus who killed an ethnic-Russian football fan in a street brawl in Moscow in early December. The killing sparked nationalist riots in Moscow and other Russian cities.

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Uzbeks Convicted Of Extremism+ Steps To Combat Extremism In Kazakhstan

Posted by Info on 31/12/2010

An Uzbek court has sentenced a number of people to prison terms of three to 13 years for extremism.

The convicted Dzhikhadisty members had returned from Russia. The court convicted them of circulating extremist literature in Russia and Uzbekistan. One of their leaders, Shakhobiddin Shomirzayev of Bekabad, received a 13 year sentence.

In Kazakhstan the local officials and analysts are worried that extremist elements might attempt to infiltrate Kazakhstan from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
While law enforcement is building up security along the border and maintaining law and order in the cities and villages, the akimat( the regional government) is financing anti-terrorist propaganda and other related projects as high-school lectures and discussions of the “evil nature of religious extremism”, with relevant articles published in the local media and with educational literature issued for schoolteachers. As there are minors who had problems with the law and therefor were sent to a summer camp for the holidays, to keep them from falling into the hands of extremists.

Another regional-financed project was the opening of a hotline for victims of “pseudo”-religions. Over the four months of the line’s operation, it has fielded 47 calls: 15 requests for information, 29 complaints, and 3 protests from women unwilling to wear the hijab. Hotlines for victims of extremism are relatively new for Kazakhstan.
“Most often we have calls from victims’ parents and other close relatives saying that the “victims” are their children and teenagers who have been persuaded – in a mosque or on the street – to join religious extremists.

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Azerbaijan: Supreme Court Rejects Imprisoned Journalist’s Appeal + Refuse To Comply With ECHR

Posted by Info on 31/12/2010

On 28 December the supreme court rejected imprisoned newspaper editor Eynulla Fatullayev’s appeal against a 30-month jail sentence on a clearly trumped-up charge of illegal possession of heroin while in prison. Imposed on 6 July, the sentence was confirmed by a Baku appeal court on 5 November.

The journalist’s lawyer, Elchin Sadigov, described yesterday’s ruling as political. He had requested Fatullayev’s immediate release, a retrial, and compliance with a European Court of Human Rights ruling requiring payment of compensation to Fatullayev for detaining him illegally since 2007.

The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers had also urged the Azerbaijani authorities to comply with the European Court’s ruling and free Fatullayev.
Yesterday’s decision constitutes a flagrant violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, which Azerbaijan signed. The government is yet again flouting its international legal obligations.

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Uzbekistan: 39 Prisoners, Convicted Of Religious Charges, Died Of Torture

Posted by Info on 31/12/2010

In 2010 39 prisoners, convicted of religious charges, died of torture in the jails and colonies of Uzbekistan. The relatives were secretly given their bodies and prohibited to report the incidents to journalists and rights defenders, says the report of Independent Human Rights Defenders Group.

The human rights situation has deteriorated in comparison to 2009
. The number of people, suffering from socio-economic problems, is increasing. In the regions – oblasts, districts and villages – the local administration, police and security officers, attorney and judges abuse power.

In 2010 484 citizens of Uzbekistan as well as 14 foreign citizens complained on violation of human rights. Most frequently by citizens whose relatives were illegally detained by police and security officers. They were convicted and jailed on trumped-up religious charges. As a rule, the defendants had been routinely tortured before they faced closed trials.

IHRDG ran 17 cases judicial monitoring of people, convicted of political and religious charges. The group identified that criminal cases against photographer and film maker Umida Akhmedova, deputy chief editor of Champion newspaper Khairullo Khamidov, part-time Voice of America correspondent Abdumalik Boboev and Russian journalist and correspondent of Parlamentskaya gazeta Vladimir Berezovskiy have been trumped-up while the results of judicial processes were ordered in advance. The same scenario was observed in the cases of Gaibullo Zhalilov, Ganikhon Mamatkhanov and some other.

Within a year over 370 believers were detained, arrested and convicted in the secret trials of the membership in the prohibited religious groups such as Nursi, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Wahabbism and Zhikhochilar.

The number of cases of corruption, bribery, blackmail is growing in the republic
; as a result, dozens of judges, police and security officers, the number of khokims (heads of local authorities) in the oblasts and districts were fired and brought to trial.

The child labor is continued to be used in cotton fields.
During cotton-picking season the children were forced to work 12 hours per day. The laws on prohibiting the child labor do not work.

Posted in Uzbekistan | 1 Comment »

German Inquiry Into ‘Poisoning’ Of Russian “‘Dissidents” In Berlin

Posted by Info on 31/12/2010

German prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into whether two Russian dissidents living in Berlin were poisoned by agents of the Kremlin.

Viktor Kalashnikov, 58, a former colonel in the Soviet KGB, and his historian wife Marina Kalashnikov, were found by doctors to have dangerously high levels of mercury. Both have suffered health problems with Mr Kalashnikov losing considerable weight and his wife losing half of her hair. Medical experts recommended they undergo further tests and be watched closely.

The couple arrived in Berlin in September having previously stayed in Ukraine, Poland and Estonia. According to Focus, doctors at Berlin’s Charite hospital found 53.7 microgrammes of mercury per litre in Mr Kalashnikov’s blood and 56 microgrammes in his wife’s.

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В 2010 Году В Тюрьмах Узбекистана Погибли 39 Осужденных

Posted by Info on 31/12/2010

В 2010 году в узбекских тюрьмах и колониях в результате применения жестоких пыток скончались 39 заключенных по религиозным мотивам, родственникам их тела выдавали тайно, запрещая сообщать о случившемся журналистам и правозащитникам.

Cитуация с соблюдением прав человека в стране ухудшилась
по сравнению с 2009 годом. Увеличилось количество граждан, пострадавших в социальном, экономическом и бытовом планах. В регионах – областях, районах и кишлаках, – местная администрация, сотрудники милиции и СНБ, прокуроры и судьи бесчинствуют и злоупотребляют служебным положением.

В 2010 году в ИГНПУ с заявлениями и жалобами на нарушение прав обратились 484 жителей Узбекистана, а также 14 иностранных граждан.

Чаще всего в ИГНПУ обращались граждане, чьи близкие и родственники были незаконно задержаны сотрудниками милиции и СНБ и были обвинены в преступлениях по религиозным мотивам, как правило, следствие велось по сфабрикованному сценарию, суды проходили в закрытом режиме и тайно, заключенные подвергались жестоким пыткам.

ИГНПУ провела 17 судебных мониторингов подсудимых по политическим и религиозным мотивам. Группа установила, что уголовные дела в отношении фотохудожника и кинодокументалиста Умиды Ахмедовой, Хайрулло Хамидова, Абдумалика Бобоева и Владимира Березовского были сфабрикованы, суды над ними являлись заказными и велись с обвинительным уклоном. По такому же принципу на разные сроки заключения были осуждены правозащитники Гайбулло Жалилов, Ганихон Маматханов и некоторые другие.

За год более 370 верующих были задержаны, арестованы и осуждены по обвинению в членстве в запрещенных религиозных организациях и течениях «Нурси», «Хизб ут-Тахрир», «Вахаббизм» и «Жиходчилар». Суды над ними проводились тайно в Ташкенте, Карши, Фергане, Коканде, Самарканде и других регионах Узбекистана.

B республике растет число случаев коррупции, взяточничества, вымогательств, по обвинению в которых были уволены и привлечены к ответственности десятки судей, работников МВД, СНБ, прокуратуры, освобождены от занимаемых должностей и привлечены к уголовной ответственности ряд хокимов..

В стране продолжают использовать на хлопковых плантациях труд несовершеннолетних детей — в основном, учеников школ, лицеев и колледжей. Во время хлопкоуборочной страды детей заставляли собирать хлопок ежедневно по 12 часов. Принятые законы по запрещению использования детского труда не работают.

Posted in Узбекистан | Leave a Comment »

Khodorkovsky, Lebedev Sentenced To 6 More Years In Prison

Posted by Info on 30/12/2010

Russian Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev will serve another six years in jail after being sentenced to 14 years detention at the culmination of their trial.

The two men spent seven years in jail for fraud and tax evasion from their 2005 trial, now face up to six more years in prison after the court found them guilty of embezzling 218 million tons of oil from Khodorkovsky’s former oil firm Yukos and laundering over 3 billion rubles ($97.5 million) in revenues.

Khodorkovsky’s press service said the two men could be released in 2017. Judge Danilkin finished reading the full 250-page verdict.

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7 Belarus Ex-candidates For Presidency Charged Over Riots

Posted by Info on 30/12/2010

Seven former presidential candidates in Belarus have been charged with organizing mass riots. The seven are Vladimir Neklyayev, Nikolai Statkevich, Vitaly Rymashevsky, Andrei Sannikov, Alexei Mikhalevich, Grigory Kostusev and Dmitry Uss.

Neklyayev, Statkevich, Rymashevsky, Sannikov and Mikhalevich are in custody in Minsk, and Kostusev and Uss were released under a pledge not to leave the city.

On December 19, after polls closed in the presidential election, the opposition staged an unsanctioned rally in central Minsk to protest the victory of the incumbent head of state Alexander LUKASHENKO and attempted to storm the government residence.
Police dispersed the protesters. More than 600 people were detained.

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Law In Russia, Advocate Is Killed, and Accuser Tried – Estemirova – Orlov

Posted by Info on 29/12/2010

In a small courtroom in Moscow, friends of Natalya K. Estemirova crowded onto wooden benches after 16 months of the murder of Ms. Estemirova, a renowned human rights advocate in the tumultuous region of Chechnya. Now the legal system was taking action. A defendant was on trial, and his interrogators were demanding answers about special operations and assassination plots.

Who is defendant?
Het was not Ms. Estemirova’s suspected killer. It was her colleague Oleg P. Orlov, chairman of Memorial, one of Russia’s foremost human rights organizations.

The authorities had charged Mr. Orlov with defamation because he had publicly pointed the finger at the man he believed was responsible for the murder: the Kremlin-installed leader of Chechnya. If convicted, Mr. Orlov could face as many as three years in prison.

The shooting of Ms. Estemirova, 51, in July 2009 has so far produced only an incomplete investigation, and no charges have been filed against anyone involved. Her case has instead turned into an example of what often happens in Russia when high-ranking officials fall under scrutiny. Retaliation follows, and the accuser becomes the accused.

Mr. Orlov, who first raised his voice against official wrongdoing as an anti-Soviet pamphleteer in the 1980s, has found himself under an unrelenting legal siege from the Chechen leader, Ramzan A. Kadyrov.

“Of course, I don’t want to go to prison and lose my freedom. But those words that I said were only a minimal debt owed to the murdered Natasha Estemirova,” Orlov said. “This was the least that I could do for the memory of my deceased comrade and friend. I had to do it. I told the truth.”

Natalya Estemirova was a former history teacher, as a senior researcher for Memorial in Chechnya, she had repeatedly documented atrocities committed by the security forces. Her findings had led to successful rulings against the government at the European Court of Human Rights. She did not support Islamic extremists in Chechnya, and did not shy from detailing their misdeeds. But she wanted the authorities to suppress the insurgency lawfully.

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Dans Les Prisons Russes Avec Wikileaks

Posted by Info on 29/12/2010

«Corrompu», «cruel», «prisons des Tsars»… En 2008, l’ambassadeur américain dressait un constat du système pénitentiaire russe précis et désabusé, dans un câble diplomatique révélé par WikiLeaks.
«le système pénitentiaire russe regroupe toutes les caractéristiques emblématiques du pays – de vastes distances, un climat difficile et une bureaucratie insensible – et est un instrument massif de punition».

Il note ainsi que, «après les Etats-Unis», la «proportion d’hommes en prison rapportée à la population est la plus élevée du monde». En juillet 2008, il y avait ainsi approximativement 889.600 personnes incarcérées, dont 63.000 femmes et 12.100 mineures. Cette moyenne de 630 prisonniers pour 100.000 habitants est la plus élevée du monde, derrière les Etats-Unis (702 pour 100.000).

Le ministère de la Justice russe doit en théorie gérer plus de 700 prisons, ce qui ne prend pas en compte les prisons militaires. Mais, à l’intérieur des centres de détention, l’ambassadeur explique que les gardes protègent surtout le périmètre et les accès, et la sécurité globale en général. Ensuite, certains prisonniers sont poussés, voire forcés, à surveiller les autres, à devenir des kapos en quelque sorte.

Le câble estime que «la faible paie et le prestige limité des fonctionnaires et des gardiens de prison, combiné avec un manque de supervision et de responsabilisation, ont créé un système basé sur la cruauté et la corruption».

Les conditions de détentions dans les SIZOS, les centres de détentions provisoires, sont pires que dans les prisons elles-mêmes: «souvent, il n’y a pas de toilettes et les détenus doivent utiliser des sceaux». Les risque d’infections et de maladies augmentent évidemment dans ces lieux, ils seraient 41 500 détenus à être séropositifs, ce qui représente environ 10% des cas du pays…«littéralement en ruine, c’est dangereux de marcher dans les couloirs, et les cellules, dans lesquelles ils manquent toutes les commodités, sont plongées dans le noir». Cela rappelle certaines des pires descriptions de l’Archipel du Goulag ou d’Une journée d’Ivan Denissovitch, d’Alexandre Soljenytsine.

Posted in Россия, others, Russia | Leave a Comment »

Andrei Sakharov Was Dissident, But What About Oligarch Khodorkovsky?

Posted by Info on 29/12/2010

Foreign Policy magazine in its article ’Khodorkovsky – the Billionaire Dissident’ showes an admirable level of nuance achieved by Susan Glasser and Peter Baker, who write:
The idea of a dissident with overseas bank accounts and an army of lawyers and publicists writing blogs and Twitter feeds on his behalf from safe quarters in London and Washington seems paradoxical.

As a neo-perestroika liberal whose respect for Sakharov has been matched by a disdain for Khodorkovsky. Vadim Nikitin admits to being very uncomfortable with such a comparison. One man was a feted scientist who threw away his status and comfort to fight for justice, while the other was a billionaire who made his money in shady ways and then fought for his own political power.

Glasser and Baker acknowledge: ” Khodorkovsky was no Solzhenitsyn. He may have been headstrong, but what he cared about most was acquiring money and power…”
By age 30, he was buying state assets through manipulated auctions. He acquired control of Yukos, then the country’s second-largest oil producer, for a paltry $309 million in a 1995 auction run, conveniently enough, by his own Menatep bank.

Indeed, if for Sakharov, imprisonment was the punishment for his ideals
….for Khodorkovsky? In his first 40 years, Khodorkovsky had been many things — a hustler and a banker, an oilman and a philanthropist — but never a political thinker or writer. Putin has turned Khodorkovsky into both while his imprisonment.

….denouncing the liberals who had run Russia in the 1990s — and whom he had supported with millions of dollars. They were “dishonest or inconsistent,” “effete bohemians” who “cheated 90 percent of the population” and “turned a blind eye” to the corruption of privatization. They should feel “a sense of shame.” As for himself and his fellow oligarchs, “We were accomplices in their misdeeds and lies.”

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Kazakhstan Moves To Extend President’s Rule

Posted by Info on 28/12/2010

Kazakhstan moved to extend the reign of President Nursultan Nazarbayev for another ten years without re-election.

The country’s election body backed a self-styled citizens’ forum which last week called for a referendum to extend Mr Nazarbayev’s rule to 2020, when he will be 80 years old. The backing means that the collection of the required 200,000 signatures can begin and the president will decide at the end of the process whether to hold a referendum.

Mr Nazarbayev, whose advisers recently said he would stand for re-election in 2012, has ruled the Central Asian country since the dying days of the Soviet Union. Last year a “Leader of the Nation” law was passed which grants Mr Nazarbayev’s family lifetime immunity from prosecution, and threatens prison to anyone “violating the honour and dignity of the First President”.

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Доклад КЗЖ: Нет Сведения О Гибели Трех Российских Репортеров

Posted by Info on 28/12/2010

Комитет по защите журналистов (Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ) опубликовал 15 декабря в Нью-Йорке спецдоклад, посвященный убийствам журналистов в 2010 году. Cамой опасной для прессы страной в этом году стал Пакистан, где в 2010 году значительно активизировались террористы-смертники.

Эксперты CPJ сообщают, что как минимум восемь журналистов погибли в Пакистане в связи с профессиональной деятельностью. По данным CPJ, всего в 2010 году погибло не менее 42 журналистов. Большая часть смертей журналистов за год приходится на атаки террористов-смертников и вооруженные уличные столкновения. Среди убитых возрастает доля представителей интернет-журналистики.

Oколо 90 процентов убийств журналистов остаются нераскрытыми. В документе подчеркивается, что “Комитет по защите журналистов проводит Всемирную кампанию по борьбе с безнаказанностью, уделяя особое внимание Филиппинам и России, двум странам с большим числом нераскрытых убийств журналистов”.
“Как показывает практика, практически все журналисты, которые подверглись нападениям, знали заранее, что с ними может что-то произойти. Большинство из них получали угрозы. Поэтому мы решили внести новый раздел в базу данных по российским журналистам. Это предаст подобные случаи огласке, и, возможно, как-то поможет самим журналистам, в отношении которых были угрозы”, – рассказал Джон Кроуфут.

Posted in Россия | Leave a Comment »

Uzbekistan + Russia Among Most Undemocratic Countries In EIU Index

Posted by Info on 27/12/2010

The Economist Intelligence Unit has presented its “The Democracy Index 2010: Democracy in Retreat” report, in which Uzbekistan occupied 164th place among the world’s most authoritarian regimes.

The EIU said that the world became less democratic in the review period. “The economic and financial crisis boosted some authoritarian regimes and accentuated existing negative political trends, most notably in Europe, both east and west.”

The report analysed the state of democracy in 167 countries on five key indicators: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation and political culture.

Norway was named the most democratic country, followed by Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Switzerland, Canada and The Netherlands. The USA and Britain came 17th and 19th respectively.

Russia came 107th behind Kyrgyzstan in 106th place in the group of hybrid regimes. Moldova (64th) and Ukraine (67th)
were listed in the group of flawed democracies, while Georgia (103rd) and Armenia (109th) were listed in the group of hybrid regimes.

All other CIS countries were listed in the group of authoritarian regimes: Belarus (130th), Kazakhstan (132nd), Azerbaijan (135th), Tajikistan (149th), Uzbekistan (164th) and Turkmenistan (165th).

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »