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Russian Federation: Raid on the office of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society and smear campaign against its chairman Stanislav Dmitrievsky
In the early morning of 1 November 2012, the office of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS) , a human rights organisation based in Nizhny Novgorod, was raided. Four men wearing masks broke the windows with a sledgehammer and spilled orange paint over the walls.
The same day, leaflets with Mr Stanislav Dmitrievsky, chairman of RCFS, represented in a photomontage with naked opposition activists, were pasted in Nizhny Novgorod. Stanislav Dmitrievsky is providing legal assistance to individuals who have participated in protests in Nizhny Novgorod.
The CCTV cameras installed in RCFS' office showed four men wearing masks and hoods breaking the windows of the office at approximately 4.30 am on 1 November 2012. The masked men subsequently threw orange paint all over the inner walls of the office.
The same day, leaflets appeared in the streets of Nizhny Novgorod showing a photo montage where Stanislav Dmitrievsky was represented in the middle of opposition activists, who are portrayed naked. The leaflets contain homophobic insults. The opposition activists included in the leaflet are depicted as gay men calling for their supporters to gather. They are amongst the organisers of an opposition protest, called the March of the Regions, scheduled for 4 November 2012.
Upon discovering the damage to the office, Stanislav Dmitrievsky called the police and lodged a complaint. However, it is reported that the police have failed to effectively investigate previous attacks on RCFS' office.
RCFS' office has been attacked a number of times, this latest instance being the third such raid in 2012 alone. On 24 March 2012, unidentified individuals broke the windows of the office and left two Molotov cocktails on the ground outside. On 2 March 2012, the glass of the entrance door of the office was smashed and orange paint was thrown all over the doors. (for more information please see Front Line Defenders appeal from 27 March 2012).
Front Line Defenders considers the recent raid on the offices of RCFS as part of a campaign of intimidation and harassment against the organisation and its staff, aimed to stop the legitimate and peaceful human rights work of the Russian Chechen Friendship Society in Nizhny Novgorod.