Russian Authorities React to the Picket in Liski with Pressure, Threats and Arrests
Russian Authorities React to the Picket in Liski with Pressure, Threats and Arrests.
Activists demand international interference and criminal investigation.
Sent by Nicolas Alexeyev
Last Monday 8 December city authorities of Liski, 650 south of Moscow, in Voronezh region of Russia, put unprecedented pressure on the organizers of the picketing with condemnation of the breaches of constitutional and civil rights of various informal youth subcultures, including emu, punks, anarchists, rappers, bikers, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.
Notification to conduct public event on Constitution Day 12 December was given to the City Administration of Liski in full accordance with the current Russian legislation on Monday morning. In the afternoon the organizers of the picketing Alexei Davydov, Alexander Orazov and Sergei Zelenskiy were called for the talks to the Administration. During the talk with the participation of the deputy head of the city as well as representatives of security and other committees, organizers were offered in an ultimatum form not to organize their public event because “your rights in the city are not breached by anyone”. Representatives of the authorities tried to find out the addresses and phone numbers of the members of the Movement of informal youth which initiated the picketing.
On Monday afternoon representatives of City Administration called Sergei Zelenskiy as well as his parents to the interrogation in the cabinet of Liski Mayor Evgeniy Miturev. During the talk representatives of the authorities threatened the young guy that he will have problems during his studies in his college and that his parents will have serious problems at work. Mr. Miturev personally dictated to Sergei Zelenskiy the text of the letter in which he said that he denies to take part in the organization of the picketing on 12 December and participation in it. At the same time the head of the city said during the meeting that “we will in any case not allow this event to take place”.
At the same time on Monday representatives of criminal and local police unlawfully detained two other organizers of the picketing – Alexei Davydov and Alexander Orazov. They were taken to the local police station. For two hours they were pressured not to organize the picketing but they denied to obey.
Late in the evening on Monday activist of the Movement of informal youth of Voronezh region decided at their emergency meeting to make corrections in the notification for the public event. They decided to change the name of the organizer who was pressured by the authorities and also to apply with the new notification for the same picketing on 13 December. The documents will be given to Liski City Administration on Tuesday.
Organizer of Moscow Gay Pride and head of Russian LGBT Project GayRussia.Ru Nikolai Alekseev said on Tuesday: “We are deeply outraged by the actions of Liski authorities and we intend to do everything possible to prosecute those responsible. In the coming hours we will send a letter about what happened to the Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev as well as to the head of the Council of Europe Terry Davis and Commissioner for human rights of the Council of Europe Thomas Hammarberg”.
Nikolai Alekseev said that “the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression is guaranteed by Article 31 of the Russian Constitution and Article 11 of the European Convention. No official has the right to pressure the organizers of public events and create obstacles for the realization of their constitutional rights”.
Nikolai Alekseev suggested that “we will also ask for criminal investigation against the head of Liski City Administration on the basis of Article 149 of Russian Criminal Code – which forbids any interference into the right to freedom of assembly”. He added that “official bans of the picketing will be appealed in Russian courts and up to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg”.
Moscow Pride organizer stressed that “in the current situation we are planning to ask the European Court to for the consideration of our complaints against Russia on the bans of Moscow Pride events in a speedy procedure. The bans of gay events in Russia are not anymore of individual nature but are systematic violations of the right to freedom of assembly for homosexual people”