Grigory Pasko: List of Political Prisoners in Russia Growing

List of Political Prisoners in Russia is Growing Human Rights Congress in Moscow Adopts Resolution Grigory Pasko, journalist The human rights congress that recently ended in Moscow adopted a resolution on political prisoners in Russia. Among other things, it says: “In recent years in Russia, as in the USSR in its time, criminal cases are being fabricated, initiated by the special services on the orders of the political power of the country, spy-mania is being intensified. Officially recognised political prisoners have appeared … in a country that considers itself to be democratic.” Let me remind you that the following have been recognized as political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Russia in recent times: – victims of spy-mania – the scientists Igor Sutyagin and Valentin Danilov; – victims of the “YUKOS affair” – the businessmen Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, the lawyers Svetlana Bakhmina and Vasily Alexanian, Alexey Pichugin and others arrested in this case; – lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin – victim of persecution for having exposed unseemly acts of the authorities, including during the time of terrorist acts (the bombings of houses in 1999 in Moscow, the terrorist act on Dubrovka (“Nord-Ost”); – Zara Murtazaliyeva (a Chechen co-ed who became a victim of a provocation of the special services); – activists of the “National-bolshevik party”, who are currently in investigative isolators and correctional institutions of the RF – for participation in peaceful protest campaigns; – victims of the trials of “revolutionary organisations” – Nadezhda Rake, Olga Nevskaya, and Vladimir Belashov; – Muslim activists not associated with an ideology of hate, violence, and calls thereto, accused of “Wahhabism” and “Hizbut-Tahirism” (investigators’ term). danilov.jpg Danilov was imprisoned on specious charges of espionage The resolution likewise give examples of persecution of people without actually imprisoning them, but for political motives: thus were convicted the scientists Anatoly Babkin, Oskar Kaibyshev, and Vladimir Shchurov, as well as human rights advocates Yuri Samodurov and Stanislav Dmitrievsky. It is likewise pointed out that the creation of an Anti-Terrorist Committee headed by the FSB has led to the appearance of a structure endowed with extraordinary powers, standing above the official government of the country. Edict No. 90 of the President of the RF of February 11, 2006 has introduced a regime of global secrecy in the country. By this Edict, the methods for conducting an investigation with respect to persons charged with crimes “against the foundations of the constitutional order, the security of the state, the peace or the security of humanity…” are recognised as being secret. The requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the RF relative to methods for conducting an investigation have been rendered null and void. In recent years, we have seen the murders of Galina Starovoitova, Sergey Yushenkov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, Aslan Maskhadov, Alexander Litvinenko, and a large number of businessmen and middle-tier government officials. 800 murders for hire have been recorded in the first 11 months of 2006 in the capital and other large cities of the Russian Federation. In the time that Putin has been in power, over 100 journalists have been killed in the country. Scientists, environmentalists, and representatives of the native nationalities of the Caucasus and the republics of Central Asia are being subjected to groundless persecutions today. Beatings and torture are becoming the norm. ernst.jpg Human rights activist Ernst Cherny In the opinion of one of the authors of the resolution, the human rights advocate Ernst Cherny, the employees of the special services who are engaged in the fabrication of spy cases are receiving awards and being promoted in rank and position. The institution of “curators” has been resurrected, and snitching is encouraged among government workers. The special services, which managed to avoid fundamental reforms, are capable of any kind of lawlessness and are prepared to repeat the past. The resolution advances demands to the authorities: to bring the persons involved in the fabrication of criminal cases to justice and immediately dismiss them from their posts; to release citizens convicted on political motives and restore justice with respect to them; to stop politically motivated trials and liquidate political prosecution in the country.