Amnesty Report: Russia’s atmosphere of repression has turned human rights work into a minefield

Since the return of Vladimir Putin to the presidency in 2012, a series of oppressive laws and policies, as well as retaliatory actions against human rights defenders and activists, have created a crippling effect that has severely hampered the country’s vital human rights work. This is what Amnesty International states in the new report “Unfair game: the persecution of human rights defenders in Russia is increasing”, which was allowed to be published tonight (Tuesday).

“Working on human rights in modern-day Russia is like navigating a minefield,” said Natalia Prilotskaya, a researcher at Amnesty International Russia. She added that “every passing day leads to a new threat to another human rights defender: whether it is assault and beatings by ‘unknown’ assailants who have never been found, criminal prosecutions and imprisonment for crimes that have never been committed, economic suffocation by freezing bank accounts or extortionate fines , Or an invasive intervention by the state media that marks relatives of the activists as targets. “

The report reveals the wide range of tools used by Russia’s authorities over the past seven years to restrict, disrupt or freeze human rights work in the country.

The report highlights the deliberate violation of those who worked for human rights in Chechnya and the activists and activists in the LGBT community in Russia, who were marked as more prominent targets than others, and suffered countless brutal attacks. One of the examples in the report is that of Igor Kochektov from St. Petersburg, whose organization – the Russian LGBT network, exposed the crimes that terrified the world towards gays in Chechnya. Kochakov received a threat to his life in January 2019 in a video that went viral on social media in Russia. To date there is no indication that the police have investigated the case effectively.

Another example is the case of Oyub Titiev, head of the Chechen Center for Human Rights, who was arrested and imprisoned for drug possession on political charges, and work on human rights in Chechnya has become almost impossible. Many activists and activists have stopped operating in Chechnya and the few who try to operate do so from very remote places. These restrictions on human rights work have a very severe impact on the rest of the North Caucasus region.

“We call on the Russian authorities to stop retaliation and defamation campaigns that have become their accepted course of action, and to investigate effectively and independently all crimes committed against human rights defenders and activists and activists,” Prilotskaya said, adding: “And to comply with Russia’s international commitments to human rights, to protect them and to those who work to protect the rights of others.”