Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Archive for December 29th, 2010

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.

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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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