Thursday, March 20, 2008

Update on Nizhny. The police harassing human rights activists.

Dear Readers

The following text is an update written by Oksana Chelysheva. Please also take a look at the previous post on IStori.

More about this in Russian on the Kasparov website,


This morning, on March 20, 2008, a new wave of searches were carried out by the police in Nizhny Novgorod city and Arzamas town located in the region.

The police raided the offices of the Nizhny Novgorod Foundation for the Promotion of Tolerance. Then they confiscated all the computers at the offices. Afterwards the office was closed and sealed.

The police have also confiscated a mobile phone of Stanislaw (Stas) Dmitrievsky, a member of the board of the Foundation and the chair of the Finland-registered Russian-Chechen Friendship Society.

Besides it, since early morning the investigatory committee has been conducting searches in the private flats of some other people associated with the Other Russia movement. Searches are being carried out in flats belonging to Ilya Shamazov, Yury Staroverov, Evgeniy Lygin, Elena Evdokimova, Ekaterina Bunicheva and Igor Voronin in Nizhny Novgorod, and Dmitri Iisusov and Maxim Baganov in Arzamas. These people have been active in the Other Russia movement, and in a most peaceful way. As far as I know, there has been no criminal elements whatsoever in their activities.

Shamazov, Evdokimova and Staroverov are staff members of the Foundation to Promote Tolerance. That is a Russian NGO, established to continue programs of the banned Russian-Chechen Friendship Society.

When the search in Baganov's flat was over, it became known that a criminal case has been opened under article 282.2 of the Criminal Code. Baganov has been summoned to the interrogation at 3.30 pm today. The police has confiscated his passport.

Stas Dmitrievskiy has gone to the Investigatory Committee to clarify the situation with mass searches. When I [Oksana Chelysheva, Istori reminding] managed to reach him after he returned from the regional prosecutor's office to the premises of the Nizhny Novgorod Committee against Torture, Dmitrievskiy gave the following explanation of his visit there.

According to Dmitrievsky, "the motion to search the office of the Foundation to Promote Tolerance was signed by Kozitsyn Vladimir Ivanovich, a chief investigator at the Regional Prosecutor's office. It has become known that an investigatory group has been established at the regional Prosecutor's office. All the confiscated stuff is being taken there. The staff of district prosecutors' offices is involved in these activities."

Stas Dmitrievsky discussed with Kozitsyn. In Stas's opinion, Kozitsyn was trying to pretend he didn't understand what Foundation Stas was speaking about. After long discussion with his chiefs, Kozitsyn agreed to talk to Stas. Stas feels that the prosecutor's office are aware of the likely international scandal.

The Foundation was developing the project initiated by the Russian-Chechen friendship society on application of the international law to the assessment of the war conflict in Chechnya. Kozitsyn has refused to summon Dmitrievskiy for the interrogation.

We have to remind that a number of people associated with the Other Russia in Nizhny Novgorod were interrogated as witnesses on another criminal case on alleged counterfeit software. The case was opened in October 2007 against the Foundation to Promote Tolerance, chaired by me, Oksana Chelysheva. The prosecutors also summoned former staff people who have earlier stopped working with the Foundation.

Oksana Chelysheva

And, she also added this: "we had been followed everywhere by plain-clothed policemen (up to six) for some three days. They were demonstrating their interest to our visits to banks as we had to withdraw money in cash. It is obvious that all the phones are being tapped."

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