Peaceful demonstrators arrested in Nizhny Novgorod

On Sunday, July 31, sixteen peaceful protesters were arrested at a rally for freedom of assembly in Nizhny Novgorod. The same day several dozen people were also arrested in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

On August 1, Ilya Shamazov, executive director of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society and one of the organizers of the rally, Anna Kuznetsova, human rights activist, and Yekaterina Zaitseva, activist with the Other Russia non-registered party, were found guilty of administrative violations in connection with the rally and were each sentenced to five days of administrative arrest.

Civil Rights Defenders calls for the immediate release of all peaceful protesters.

This is a clear violation of article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of assembly and for which case law only allows restrictions when the meeting ceases to be peaceful or when its organizers call for violence. This was not the case last Sunday and we therefore condemn the detention of these peaceful demonstrators and ask for their immediate release, says Ninke Liebert, Programme Officer at Civil Rights Defenders.

Since mid-2009, rallies are held on the last day of each month containing a 31th day, as a reference to Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which guarantees the right to peaceful assembly. City authorities in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and other Russian cities have without valid reasons systematically turned down applications from activists to hold rallies in support of freedom of assembly.

Already in March, Civil Rights Defenders expressed concern for Igor Kalyapin, head of our Russian partner organisation Committee Against Torture, who was arbitrarily arrested by police officials, along with nearly forty others, at a rally for freedom of assembly in Nizhny Novgorod on March 31, 2011.

Categories: News.
Tags: Committee Against Torture and Freedom of assembly.
Regions: Russia.