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Crimean Tatar Leader Arrested on Bogus Criminal Charges

In today’s Crimea, to be a member of the Crimean Tatar community is to be a target for the authorities. In the early hours of September 4, Russia’s security services raided the house of Nariman Dzhelyal, a deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatar…
Nariman Dzhelyal in Crimea in 2019. 
News

Authorities Restrict Traffic to Twitter for Refusal to Censor Content Online

Today, Russian authorities claimed they slowed down access to Twitter in Russia in response to the social media site’s failure to take down allegedly illegal content. Russian authorities have listed Twitter as a “threat” and have said they might…
A mobile phone user turns on Twitter application on his smartphone in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 10, 2021.
News

Detention of Editor-in-Chief Highlights the Attacks on Journalism

Today, a court in Moscow sentenced Sergei Smirnov, editor-in-chief of the independent “Mediazona” news outlet, to 25 days in detention for “repeated violation” of the public assemblies’ rules. His offense? Retweeting a humorous tweet about Smirnov’…
The Editor-in-Chief of Mediazona, Sergey Smirnov, in front of Pskov Regional Court, after the trial of Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva, Pskov, Russia, July 6 2020.
News

Authorities Use Politically Motivated Criminal Prosecutions to Silence Opponents

January 23 marks two years of house arrest for Russian activist Anastasiya Shevchenko. Police raided her apartment in Rostov-on-Don on January 21, 2019, before a court placed her under house arrest two days later. Shevchenko’s daughter has become her…
Anastasiya Shevchenko. 
News

Azat Miftakhov Sentenced to 6 Years on Controversial Hooliganism Charges

A court in Moscow has sentenced Azat Miftakhov, a postgraduate math student and political activist, to six years in prison on highly controversial hooliganism charges. His conviction follows investigation and a trial marred by allegations of torture,…
Mathematics and mechanics graduate student at Moscow State University Azat Miftakhov before the court session in Golovinsky district court. September 05, 2019. 
News

Parliament Should Reject Bill, Ensure Access to Information Online

On November 19, a draft law was submitted to Russia’s parliament that would give authorities power to block websites that have censored Russian state media content. The bill claims these websites violate Russians’ right of access to information.…
A man checks his smartphone while waiting to board a subway in Moscow, Russia, December 23, 2019. 
News

Irina Slavina’s Death Follows Police Raid on Her Apartment

Journalist and publisher Irina Slavina (Murakhtayeva) died after setting herself on fire on October 2, a day after a police raid on her apartment and following years of harassment by Russian authorities and others. Slavina ran Koza Press, an…
Irina Slavina poses in Nizhniy Novgorod, March 2019, in a photo posted to social media.
News

Court Upholds ‘Terrorism’ Convictions While Hundreds Remain in Prison

Last week, Russia’s Supreme Court upheld the terrorism-related convictions of 19 men who are all serving prison sentences ranging from 10 to 24 years because of their alleged affiliation with Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), an Islamic organization banned in…
Supreme court appeal hearing held via videoconference, September 2020.
News

Kremlin Critic is Fighting for His Life

Update (August 21, 2020): According to media reports, on the evening of August 21, Russian doctors in Omsk gave permission for Navalny to be medevaced to Germany for treatment. Consider this agonizing moment for Yulia Navalnaya. Her husband,…
Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny takes part in a march in memory of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in Moscow, Russia, February 29, 2020.
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Authorities Abuse Criminal Justice to Silence Independent Media

Today, a Russian court sentenced journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva to a fine of 500,000 rubles (approx. USD$ 7000) on bogus terrorism charges. The conviction of the journalist, who works for the Echo of Moscow and Radio Free Europe, is another…
Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva (left) attends the trial in the Second Western District Military Court.
News

Dennis Christensen Waits in Prison; Many Other Worshippers Await Prosecution

Everything seemed to be in place for Dennis Christensen to leave a Russian prison in early July. On June 23, a judge paroled him, after he served half of a 6-year sentence, while also ordering him to pay a 400,00 ruble (US$5,714) fine. Mr. Christensen…
Dennis Christensen (behind the windows) talks with his interpreter at the Zheleznodorzhy District Court in Oryol, January 28, 2019
News

Authorities Should End Sham Prosecutions and Allow Free Debate

Today, the trial against journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva is set to start in Pskov, Russia, on groundless charges of publicly supporting terrorism. Authorities have indicted her for “public incitement to terrorist activity, public justification or…
Светлана Прокопьева выступает на презентации книги в Москве.
News

Local Authorities’ Pattern of Abuse Suggests their Involvement

Last night, a group of thugs in Grozny attacked human rights lawyer Marina Dubrovina and investigative journalist Elena Milashina – the latest in a long history of attacks on rights defenders which bear the hallmarks of being endorsed…
Marina Dubrovina (L) in a police vehicle, and Elena Milashina following separate attacks in Chechnya.
News

Stand-up Comedian Flees after Authorities Open Investigation into Act

This week, a stand-up comedian fled Russia fearing prosecution over a recent set. Aleksandr Dolgopolov published, on January 21, a letter sent by police to a bar in Saint Petersburg where he performed last winter. In the…
Screenshot from the video Alexander Dolgopolov recorded to comment on police inquiry.
News

Government Engages in Lawfare against Civic Activism

A Russian feminist and LGBT activist is under house arrest for allegedly distributing pornography. It’s yet another example of Russia using unfounded accusations and vague laws to intimidate certain activists. Yulia Tsvetkova…
Yulia Tsvetkova, talking about her youth theater project “Pink and Blue”.
News

Court Case and Smear Campaign Won’t Defeat Defenders

Today, Russia’s Supreme Court granted the Justice Ministry’s demand to shut down one of the most prominent rights groups in the country – the Movement for Human Rights. The ruling, in keeping with government policy, delivers another…
Russian human rights activist Lev Ponomarev speaks to the media at the For Human Rights movement headquarters in Moscow, Russia
News

Camp Raid the Latest in Deepening Crackdown on Members

Last week, police near Norilsk, in northern Russia, raided a campsite where more than 50 Jehovah’s Witness followers had gathered to pray. It was the latest example of an escalating crackdown on Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are targeted…
A woman holds a bible during a service
News

Alyona Popova’s Case Should Start National Conversation

Russian women’s rights activist Alyona Popova has filed a lawsuit against the Moscow city government, claiming its use of video with facial recognition technology violates privacy rights. The lawsuit, filed in early…
In this image taken from video on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, Russian lawyer Alyona Popova speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Moscow, Russia
News

Deepening Repression in Occupied Crimea

A Russian military court today sentenced activist and blogger Nariman Memedeminov to two and a half years in prison for “making public calls for terrorism.” The prosecution was just the latest in the government’s relentless persecution…
Crimean blogger and activist Nariman Memedeminov at his court hearing, Rostov-on-Don, Russia
News

A Total of 70 Prisoners Included in the Swap

After several increasingly tense weeks amid swirling rumors, a much-anticipated large-scale prisoner swap has finally happened between Russia and Ukraine. Among those who arrived in Kyiv this Saturday afternoon, newly released from…
奥列格・森佐夫在乌克兰基辅鲍里斯波尔国际机场受到家属热情迎接,2019年9月7日。