Eurasia

Stop the Ongoing Harassment of Activists’ Family in Azerbaijan

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Civil Rights Defenders is concerned by the persistent harassment of the family of Azerbaijani human rights defender Bashir Suleymanli, Director of the Institute for Citizen Rights and Co-Founder of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Center. We call upon the Government of Azerbaijan to immediately cease this intimidation, respect its citizenry’s rights to freedom of speech and assembly, and combat the growing impunity of local security services outside of the country’s capital Baku.

Russian Special Forces Found Guilty of Kidnapping and Beating Chairman of Memorial Human Rights Center

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Civil Rights Defenders welcomes the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) which ruled that Russian special forces were directly involved in the kidnapping of Oleg Orlov, the then-head of Memorial Human Rights Center, and the assault and kidnapping of three journalists from Ren TV channel back in 2007 in the Republic of Ingushetia located in the Russian North Caucasus.

Journalist Mehman Huseynov Sentenced to Two Years on Fabricated Charges

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Civil Rights Defenders calls upon the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately release Mehman Huseynov, a prominent blogger and Chairperson of the press freedom organization, the Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety, who was sentenced to two years imprisonment on spurious charges of defamation. The lawsuit was brought by the chief of police in Baku’s Nasimi District after Huseynov publicly spoke out about his torture by district officers in January 2017. Huseynov was immediately taken into custody directly from the courtroom.

No Progress on Key Reforms: Transparency Group Should Suspend Azerbaijan’s Membership

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Civil Rights Defenders and a coalition of 20 leading civil society organisations calls on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a prominent international coalition, to suspend Azerbaijan’s membership for failing to carry out key reforms. The EITI Board meeting is due to take place in Bogota on the 08 and 09 of March in order to review the country’s efforts to reduce oppression against civil society groups.

Dictatorship No More? EU Sanctions Lifted at the Expense of Civil and Political Rights in Belarus

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One year ago, the EU lifted sanctions against Belarus. The sanctions were imposed in response to human rights violations perpetrated by the Belarusian regime, but were lifted without any improvements to the human rights situation. On the one year anniversary of EU’s, Civil Rights Defenders releases a report entitled: Dictatorship No More? EU Sanctions Lifted at the Expense of Civil and Political Rights in Belarus.

Stop the Harassment of Human Rights Lawyers in Crimea

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Civil Rights Defenders is concerned by the recent actions of Russian security services to harass, detain, and charge innocent human rights lawyers in the annexed territory of Crimea. The government of the Russian Federation and the de facto local authorities of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea must stop the persecution of independent human rights lawyers Emil Kurbendinov and Nikolay Polozov, and foreign governments and international actors must hold Russia to account.

Reflecting on Queerfest 2016 – A Change for the Better in St. Petersburg

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In its eight year history as one of Russia’s largest LGBTI festivals, QueerFest has been marred by violence, hate speech, harassment of participants and forced venue cancellations by the authorities. Through dogged perseverance from the organisers and their supporters QueerFest has managed not only to survive but also thrive. In 2016 all the hard work seemed to pay off with not a single violent incident reported.

Video: Ten Years After Anna Politkovskaya’s Murder – The Mastermind Still Walks Free

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Anna Politkovskaya worked as a journalist at the investigative paper Novaya Gazeta and was internationally famous for her reports about human rights abuses in warn-torn Chechnya. On 7 October 2006 she was gunned down in the elevator of her house in central Moscow. While the assassins have been sentenced, the investigation however, has never established who ordered this brazen murder.

St. Petersburg: “QueerFest 2016” Gets Off to an Unprecedented Start

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Civil Rights Defenders is delighted to support the 8th International Queer Festival – “QueerFest 2016” —which began yesterday in St. Petersburg and will run until September 25. The Festival aims to promote acceptance in Russian society, and to empower and provide support to the LGBT communities (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people), while contributing to a more pluralistic society. Yesterday’s opening got off to a great start with no trouble reported and in a relaxed environment for the first time in 8 years.

Human Rights Defender Brutalised and Sentenced on Fabricated Charges

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Civil Rights Defenders condemns the conviction of Zhalaudi Geriev, a reporter with the Russian news site Caucasian Knot, to three years imprisonment for possession of narcotics. According to his lawyers Geriev’s conviction was based on a forced confession, fabricated evidence, and numerous violations of legal procedures and basic human rights. Geriev, who is 23, was targeted because of his journalistic activities. Along with his colleagues at Caucasian Knot, which has no central office and whose journalists often publish anonymously for both themselves and their families’ safety, Geriev wrote regularly about human rights violations in the Russian republic of Chechnya.