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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.
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When Pricila, a 32-year-old trans woman, fled El Salvador in February 2019, she had good reason to fear for her life. Police had beaten and sexually assaulted her, telling her they would make her a man. Gang members attempted to forcibly recruit her.…
A group of men and women march walk while holding rainbow pride flags
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US Barriers to Asylum Block Path to Safety

(Washington, DC) – The governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have failed to effectively address violence and entrenched discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, leading many to seek asylum in the…
A group of men and women march walk while holding rainbow pride flags
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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.
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The Trump administration has proposed a new federal regulation that would create insurmountable barriers to the vast majority of asylum claims, including by gutting the definition of refugee to the point where lesbian, gay, bisexual and…
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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.
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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

Drop Charges; Free Detainees

Update: On May 29, police in Moscow arbitrarily detained 30 more people, including journalists, district council representatives and activists who were conducting single person pickets in protest of the arrest of Ilya Azar and the detention of his…
Echo of Moscow journalist, Tatiana Feleghengauer, detained by police on May 28, 2020.
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Racial Profiling, Beatings in Detention

(Berlin) – Russian police rounded up and arbitrarily detained scores of Central Asian migrant workers, beating many of them, in a series of raids in mid-December 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. The raids, which were…
Shadows of people detained by Russian police, suspected of violating immigration rules during an action seen on containers at a street market in Moscow, Russia, August 7, 2013. © AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
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Amendment Would Extend Restrictions to Individuals, Including Bloggers

Update: On December 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law, which expands the status of “foreign agents” to private persons. Update: On November 25, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament endorsed the law, which…
An interior view of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, in Moscow, Russia, January 20, 2017.
News

Proposed Secure and Protect Act Attempts to Block Asylum Claims

If you follow the twisted logic of Senator Lindsey Graham’s Secure and Protect Act to its ultimate conclusion, the US would all but shut its doors to Central American refugees – full stop. A vote on the bill in the US Senate Committee…
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(Berlin, July 12, 2019) – Russian authorities have brought unfounded terrorism charges against 24 Crimean Tatars, 20 of whom were arrested during heavily armed raids on their homes in the spring of this year, Human Rights Watch said today. Security…
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Russia Needs More, not Less, Independent Reporting

This week brought the bombshell announcement that Ivan Safronov and Maxim Ivanov, two veteran reporters for Kommersant, were pressured into resigning, spurring the paper’s entire politics desk to quit in protest. The business newspaper…
A general view shows the Spasskaya Tower and the Kremlin wall in central Moscow, Russia, May 5, 2016.
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Misuse of Counter-Terrorism Laws Against Media

Update: Due to Covid-19 pandemic, a court has suspended Prokopyeva’s trial for undetermined period of time. Update: The hearing in Svetlana Prokopyeva’s case is scheduled for April 20. The casefile contains 12 volumes and the…
Svetlana Prokopyeva, Pskov.
News

The New Times at Risk of Closing

(Moscow) – A Russian court has issued a stifling fine to The New Times, an independent Russian magazine, for supposed failure to report foreign funding, putting it at risk of closure, Human Rights Watch said today. The New Times is known…
Evgeniya Albats, editor-in-chief of The New Times, profile picture.
News

Dire Conditions for Thousands Fleeing Fighting

(Beirut) – Jordanian and Israeli authorities should allow Syrians fleeing fighting in Daraa governorate to claim asylum and protect them, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 16, 2018, the Syrian-Russian military alliance opened an…
An Internally displaced girl from Daraa province carries a stuffed toy and holds the hand of child near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in Quneitra, Syria June 29, 2018. © 2018 Reuters/Alaa Al-Faqir
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Gangs Threaten Children, Parents

Maria* and Carlos* never wanted to leave Honduras with their three children, they told me. But then gangs began threatening Carlos and their 13-year-old son Eddy*. The family moved houses, but one evening masked men came to their little…
A Honduran mother and her 3-year-old daughter wait with fellow asylum seekers on the Mexican side of the Brownsville-Matamoros International Bridge after being denied entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers near Brownsville, Texas, U.S., June
News

Authorities Say Posting is ‘Incitement to Terrorism’

In the early hours of May 18, a team of police and security officials raided the apartment of Viktor Korb, a journalist from Omsk. One of the agents shoved a search warrant in Korb’s face and the team conducted a 10-hour search, turning…
Russian journalist Viktor Korb.
News

Chancellor Visiting Amid New Levels of Repression

(Berlin) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 18, 2018 in Sochi is a crucial opportunity to press for the release of a wrongfully detained Russian human rights defender and to raise other key…
German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017