Posted 2012/11/29

Russian Federation: Human rights defender Mr Stanislav Dmitrievsky summoned to court hearing for documenting human rights abuses in Chechnya

On 28 November 2012, human rights defender Mr Stanislav Dmitrievsky was told to come to the local police department in Nizhny Novgorod where he received a summons to present himself at a court hearing in Dzerzhinsk city court scheduled for 6 December 2012.

The hearing concerns an administrative lawsuit lodged by the Prosecutor of Dzerzhinsk requesting that the monograph 'International Tribunal for Chechnya' be recognised as an extremist publication. Stanislav co-authored and edited the document along with Oksana Chelysheva and Bogdan Gaureli. It consists of two volumes, comprising a total of 1200 pages, and attempts to consolidate all available information about human rights violations committed in Chechnya.

The defender also learnt that the preliminary court hearing has already been held in his absence, which is a breach of the Russian law as he had not been notified. Stanislav Dmitrievsky is the head of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, a human rights organisation registered in Finland.

On 27 April 2011, Stanislav Dmitrievsky was already questioned in a 'pre-investigation verification' regarding the monograph, conducted by the Investigative Department of Khamovniki district in Moscow, part of the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation. This was because 'an expert' had declared that the monograph contained extremist statements.

Stanislav Dmitrievsky was found guilty of 'actions aimed at inciting hatred or hostility' on 3 February 2006 when a newspaper published an interview he conducted with the head of the Chechen rebels, containing a call for an end to the war. The Russian-Chechen Friendship Society was subsequently closed down, before being registered in Finland.

Front Line Defenders believes that the monograph published under the direction of Stanislav Dmitrievsky constitutes an important step towards the acknowledgement of human rights violations committed in Chechnya and towards combating the impunity of the perpetrators. Front Line Defenders fears that if the court deems it to be 'extremist', this may lead to the opening of a criminal investigation against Stanislav Dmitrievsky and the other authors. Front Line Defenders has issued a number of urgent appeals on his behalf, including on 1 November 2012 and 29 April 2011.

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