Head of Russian-Chechen Friendship Society threatened with prison
The Chairman of the Nizhny Novgorod-based human rights organisation, Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS), Stanislav Dmitrievsky, whose sentence on the charge of extremism due to articles in the newspaper “Pravo-Zaschita” (“Rights Defence”) led to the closing down of the RCFS, has received a “warning” that his suspended sentence may be changed into real jail time.
Dmitrievsky received the warning on his monthly appointment with his parole officer on 25 July 2007. The parole officer told Dmtrievsky that the warning was issued due to violations he commited when organising and taking part in opposition demonstrations (Dissenters’ Marches) in Nizhny Novgorod. The parole board refused, however, to issue the warning in writing so that Dmitrievsky could appeal the decision at court.
Moreover, a court hearing on the case against the newspaper, “Pravo-Zaschita”, was scheduled for 30 July 2007. The Nizhny Novgorod region’s office of the public prosecutor brought the case against the newspaper on 31 May 2007, even though the newspaper has not been published since the RCFS was closed down in Russia.
The acting public prosecutor of the Nizhny Novgorod region, Vitaly Tkachev, based the case against the newspaper on article 19 of the Russian constitution, which guarantees equal rights and freedoms of citizens and prohibits all restrictions on the rights of citizens on the basis of social, racial, ethnic, linguistic, and religious affiliation.
In Tkachev’s words, articles in “Pravo-Zaschita” posed a “real threat to the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens, public safety, society, and the state”. In his opinion, the threat was related to the “extremist” character of a number of articles in the newspaper, the editor-in-chief of which was Dmitrievsky. The prosecutor demands that the newspaper be closed down.
In addition, the deputy head of the RCFS, Oksana Chelysheva, received an official notification from the office of the public prosecutor of Nizhny Novgorod’s Kanavinsky district that a criminal investigation into the distribution of leaflets containing threats against her was suspended on 19 July 2007 due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. The leaflets were distributed in March 2005 in the district where Chelysheva lives.