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Human rights defender Anar Mammadli was detained, and Oleg Orlov was transferred to Syzran: international news digest

2024 2024-05-15T12:24:04+0300 2024-05-15T12:24:04+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Viasna has prepared another digest on the persecution of human rights defenders in the post-Soviet space and the most significant human rights violations.

A court in Baku has left a well-known human rights activist Anar Mammadli in custody

On May 6, the Baku Court of Appeal left the head of the Center for Election Monitoring and Democracy Education, Anar Mammadli in custody, ignoring the arguments of the defense about the arrest being unjustified and the violations committed, the Caucasian Knot reports.

"The court refused to satisfy the complaint against the arrest of Anar Mammadli," Elmar Suleymanov, the lawyer of the arrested man, commented on the decision. "When choosing a preventive measure in the form of arrest, a number of violations of the law were committed against Anar Mammadli, which are usually not committed by the courts." 

On April 29, the head of the Center for Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies (EMDS) and a member of Human Rights House, Anar Mammadli, was detained in Baku. It was reported that he was forcibly pushed into a car, detained, and now accused of "smuggling by a group of people." Recall that it was on the same charge that four Viasna human rights defenders were convicted: Ales Bialiatski, Valiantsin Stefanovich, Uladzimir Labkovich, and Zmitser Salauyou.

It is reported that Anar's detention followed a targeted smear campaign by state media against him and is retaliation for his independent and crucial election observation activities.

On March 2, 2023, Mammadli recorded a statement on the eve of the verdict in the Viasna case: he called for the release of all Belarusian political prisoners, including Viasna human rights defenders.

Amnesty International condemns the brutal attacks by unknown persons on critics of the government in Georgia

Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, responding to the brutal attacks by unknown persons on critics of the government who joined the protests in Tbilisi, said:

"The repression in Georgia against those who oppose the “foreign influence” bill has now become shockingly violent. At first, the authorities sent police to forcefully disperse protests against the repressive bill. Now, plainclothes bandits brutally attack protesters before and after street actions, even near their homes. There is also intimidation of government opponents and their families, including threatening phone calls and posters containing slander and insults. We are concerned about allegations that government officials may be behind these actions, which appear to be part of a well-organized campaign of intimidation against critics of the government."

On the evening of May 8, three separate violent attacks were reported in Tbilisi against Dmitri Chikovani, a member of parliament from an oppositional UNM party, Lasha Ghvinianidze, an organizer of oppositional biker marches, and Gia Japaridze, a former diplomat and university professor.

"The Georgian authorities must take immediate steps to stop these violent attacks. Those responsible for human rights violations, including those who may have ordered the police to use illegal force, must be brought to justice in a fair trial," Amnesty International says.

Memorial human rights defender Oleg Orlov was transferred to a Syzran pre-trial detention center

Oleg Orlov, a former member of the board of the Memorial human rights center, who was sentenced to 2.5 years for "re-discrediting the army," sent a letter from a Syzran pre-trial detention center. He speaks about the large number of prisoners in Moscow prisons and how difficult the transfers to the courts and back are for prisoners, Novaya Gazeta writes.

The human rights defender was transferred on the night of April 11–12. Moreover, neither the lawyers nor Orlov's wife knew about the transfer to another region. The human rights defender himself reported that he was not informed about the end point of the route:

"I was already cut off from a significant part of the news, and since April 12 I have been completely cut off. I am currently in pre-trial detention center-2 in the Samara region. It's in Syzran."

More than 400 thousand signatures on a petition demanding to drop charges against a Kyrgyz human rights activist 

Activists and supporters of Amnesty International have collected 405,204 signatures in support of Rita Karasartova, a human rights activist from Kyrgyzstan, who faces far-fetched charges of attempting to "violently overthrow the government." She can be sentenced to up to 15 years of imprisonment.

Rita Karasartova is a human rights defender and an expert in the field of civil administration from Kyrgyzstan, head of the non-governmental Institute for Public Analysis and a member of the United Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan.

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On October 23, 2022, she was arrested along with other activists and politicians for demanding transparency in the process of a new border demarcation agreement with Uzbekistan.

"The number of signatures collected in support of Rita is evidence of global support and solidarity with Rita and other activists, journalists, and human rights defenders affected by political repression in Kyrgyzstan," said Maisy Weicherding, Amnesty International's Central Asia researcher.

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